Paul Walker, star of The Fast and the Furious, died Saturday in a single car crash. The actor was 40. Walker and coworker Roger Rodas were killed when the car lost control and slammed into a lightpole in Valencia, California as the pair were leaving a Reach Out Worldwide (Walker’s charity) toy drive event. Others at the event heard the crash and rushed to the scene to extinguish the car fire, but were too late, as Walker and Rodas were trapped in the car.
Currently it is believed that Walker and Rodas were in the only car involved in the incident, and not street racing with a second vehicle as had been initially suggested. CNN reports that investigators have ruled out involvement of another party, and are now focusing on the speed of Walker and Rodas’s car at the time of the accident.
Walker and Rodas were driving a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, a high-powered sports car that is, by the testimony of professional drivers, quite difficult to drive effectively. Some witnesses at the toy drive say they heard two noises – one that may have been a tire popping, followed by the car’s impact – but at this time nothing has been confirmed.
Universal Studios, as expected, has halted production on Fast & Furious 7, which is in the midst of principal photography and was scheduled to shoot in Atlanta today. As of now, there is currently no plan for when the production might resume. Though certainly not the first concern at the moment, The Wrap reports that Universal has been in near constant contact with director James Wan and producer Neal Moritz regarding not only how best to pay their respects to Walker as they attempt to finish the film, but also what to do with the storyline now that they’re missing one of their main characters.
Meanwhile, the next film starring Walker, the Hurricane Katrina thriller Hours, is set to release a week from Friday. Peter Safran, a producer on the film, has gone on the record saying that the release date will hold firm. “Paul would have very much wanted us to move forward,” said Safran. “He was incredibly proud of this project. We did a press junket two weeks ago, and I remember sitting with him and how excited he was for people to see this movie.” Walker also completed work on another project prior to his death – an undercover cop actioneer entitled Brick Mansions. The project, which is being directed by Camille Delamarre, a longtime action film editor in her feature directorial debut, and written by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Family), is currently in post production.
Our thoughts and prayers go out on behalf of the families and friends of both Paul Walker and Roger Rodas.