Paul Walker’s death on November 30 of last year not only saddened many many people, it caused the most freakish vacuum in a big-budget film franchise ever.
The vacuum was so big that they had to delay shooting to figure out how to fill it. And they were going to fill it. You can’t just walk away from a multi-billion dollar box office franchise juggernaut. You sit that ass down and figure that business out.
How’d they figure it out? They developed a simple plan for fulfilling Paul Walker’s scenes in ‘Fast And Furious 7’ using modern technology and simple manipulation. But like anything else, the devil is in the details.
Slight rewrites to the script
Despite the fact that Paul Walker’s character is pretty dang essential to the plot, his portion of the story only required a few simple rewrites. It helps that there are a bunch of other actors to absorb some of the heavy lifting though.
Previously unused ‘Fast And Furious’ footage
Each of these movies may be around two hours long, but they still have hours and hours of film that they shot and never put into the final products. A lot of that will be repurposed. But that won’t cover every scene they need.
Getting his brothers to sub in
In order to put someone closest to Paul Walker’s body type in the movie, the producers hired Paul Walker’s brothers Cody and Caleb to perform in some of the scenes Paul didn’t get to shoot. But since they don’t totally look like him, what about the face?
Computer graphics imaging techniques are more sophisticated than ever. Every summer the scenes get bigger and better as software gets more sophisticated and computers get more powerful. In scenes shot with the brothers, they will replace their faces with computer animated versions of Paul’s face. But that still leaves another problem…
Using an actor
Cody and Caleb may have the body shape, but they still need someone with sophisticated acting techniques to recite the lines using facial contortions that resemble Paul’s so it’s easier to lay Paul’s face into the scene. However, using these three techniques will result in massive additional costs added onto a movie that was already threatening to be one of the most expensive in history. Therefore…
Seeking $50 million insurance reimbursement
Film studios can’t make movies without taking insurance out on every single aspect of the film. Equipment, crew and especially the actors. Since Paul Walker’s death is so massively detrimental to the finishing of ‘Fast And Furious 7’ the film studio is making the most massive insurance claim in film history at around $50 million.
Will they get it? Their lawyers will figure it out. Either way the show must go on. And principal photography is already underway.