During most of the early 2000s, Paul Walker dominated the box office. He appeared to be on his way to superstardom early in his career with roles in The Young and the Restless and hits in late 1990s films such as Varsity Blues and She’s All That.
Soon after, as Brian O’Conner in 2001’s The Quick and the Furious, he became a household name. Walker was playing an undercover policeman, diving into the shadows of L.A. street racing scene to get next to racing icon Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel.
The film was an immediate sensation in pop culture and would spawn seven sequels and a spinoff, but Walker appeared to doubt his continued role in the series and frequently contemplated leaving the films until his untimely death in 2013.
Paul Walker was pleased to join the franchise.
The “MTV Cribs” episode by Paul Walker put his modesty in the spotlight.
On the set of The Fast and the Furious in 2000, Walker was hired to play Skull. Producer Neal Moritz wanted the talented star to continue working and asked him what he wanted to do next. He responded that he wanted to do something like a cross between Days of Thunder and Donnie Brasco, so Director Rob Cohen and Moritz came to him and made the suggestion with an article on street racing.
“I wanted to sign right away, and they flipped,” Walker told the LA Times in 2011. Today, if I had the same chance, I’d rethink and probably blow it.
I was younger and more impressionable, though, and I wanted to work.
The work seemed like an obvious move for Walker, with a new baby and a career that had yet to take off amid his growing resume.
While in an action film he was dubious about playing a lead role, the fact that Vin Diesel was co-starring put him at ease, and he jumped into the role enthusiastically.
He had no idea at the time what kind of legacy the film would create and how much his future would be influenced by it.
Contract conflicts stopped Diesel’s participation in 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second film in the franchise, after the first movie in the series. Walker was glad to be involved, but when a third film came out, neither Walker nor Diesel were asked to be part of it, The Quick and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, because the studio decided to go in a totally different direction.
Walker thought that his role was finished in the series and he decided to move on to other things such as his family and charity work, but when asked if he wanted to be in a fourth film in the series, he was shocked.
They were talking about my participation in the fourth film, he noted to the LA Times, and I was like, “Are you kidding me? Really?” Walker further recalled, “Obviously, we made the first film that was aimed at pop culture and a teen audience.”
But with that audience, trends shift overnight. Nine years later, I always wondered if there was an audience at all.
Moritz was unable to sell Walker on the role, but a call from his old friend Diesel convinced him that this would be the true sequel for both of their characters, and so Walker reluctantly agreed to the project.
An unforeseen inheritance
Of the many films in which Paul has been in, what is your favorite role for him? Valentina Ivezaj#FanArtFriday #TeamPW pic.twitter.com/LPiF7bsTsT- Paul Walker (@RealPaulWalker) December 18, 2020 Brian O’Connor will be played by Walker 6 times in total. He started to have reservations about returning to the role as he grew older, but finally did so for the show’s many fans.
The film series is famous for an entire generation who grew up with the characters, with a devoted audience of audiences and a non-threatening formula that fans always saw as a guarantee of excitement in the movies. In his personal life as well, Walker was still an automobile enthusiast, which would inevitably end his life in tragedy.
In 2013, while filming Furious 7, at the age of 40, he suffered a car accident in the passenger seat of a Porsche Carrera GT 5. In a 45 mph zone, while joyriding with his friend Robert Rodas, the car lost control at 90 mph.
The tires were old and had no tread, and the car skidded into a lamp post, burning Walker in the car beyond acknowledgement.
With stand-ins and lookalikes, Furious 7 was done, and the film was dedicated to Walker. A tribute to Walker, See You Again, was recorded by Wiz Khalifa for the film, which became a number one hit and was well received by friends and fans who mourned Walker’s loss.
While Paul Walker’s life was based on tragic stuff,