With the untimely death of actor Paul Walker on November 30th, the tragedy has sent Universal Pictures scrambling to salvage footage shot from the production of Walker’s last film “Fast & Furious 7.” In any case, experts are predicting the insurance claim will be the largest in Tinsel town history.Writer Chris Morgan has been hired to revise the script in hopes that Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, can be respectfully retired from the series while salvaging scenes that are in the can. If everything breaks to Universal’s advantage, production could have the cast back in front of the cameras by the end of January.
With the popular franchise, about fast cars, still nowhere close to wrapping, a source close to the production had this to say.
“Almost exactly half of his (Walker) role was done.”
Another source commented that Walker was scheduled for a considerable amount of work on the week following the accident.
In an unprecedented and classy move, Universal’s marketing co-president Michael Moses quickly altered the ad campaign for the “Fast & Furious 6” DVD release, which hit retail and online outlets on Tuesday, December 10th. Commercials were changed to reflect the studio’s plan to donate some proceeds to Walker’s nonprofit charity Reach Out World Wide, while including more iconic images from the “Fast & Furious” franchise.
A Universal source says based on fan reaction, there is support for completing the version of the movie that was underway, even though it is said to contain several car crashes.
“What will drive everything is, is there an honorable and sensible way to do this?” says the source, but “there’s not really a road map” for the situation.
With January as the target for restarting production, sources say the intended July 11th release has been canceled. Insiders believe the studio will eventually release a seventh and possibly an eighth “Fast & Furious.” A rival studio executive stated:
“I actually believe [the tragedy] will add to returns.”
A Universal insider concurred by saying:
“Sadly, it will probably make people more interested.”
If Universal decides the picture must be scrapped and restarted, the insurance firm, Fireman’s Fund, might try to prove otherwise or pay up to the tune of $150 million. The insurance company and Universal declined to comment on the matter.