Vin Diesel has branded Fast & Furious 7 the "hardest film I've ever made" following the death of his longtime co-star Paul Walker last year (13). Production on the seventh installment of the blockbuster franchise was halted following the actor's death in a car crash November (13), and his brothers Caleb and Cody stepped in to shoot remaining scenes for their sibling.
Fast & Furious 7 recently wrapped filming, and Diesel tells Entertainment Tonight the latter part of production was the most difficult experience he has ever had on a movie set.
He says, "There's only one Paul Walker. When you've worked with someone for 15 years and you know each other's idiosyncrasies and you've created magic together for so long, it's a strange thing to mourn that person and simultaneously pretend that person is next to you.
"Fast 7 was the hardest movie I've ever had to make and in some ways the most important movie I've ever had to make."
However, Diesel praised the Walker brothers for lending a hand in the most unfortunate of circumstances, adding, "It was validating in a way that his family cared so much about the saga and the continuation and the completion of Paul's last work, but it didn't make the process any easier."
Fast & Furious 7 hits cinemas on 3 April (15).
Fast & Furious movie producers have Paul Walker's father to thank for convincing the tragic actor's brothers to stand in as the late star's stunt doubles to help them complete the seventh instalment of the film franchise. Paul Walker, Sr., 68, claims the Hollywood hunk's siblings Caleb and Cody were dubious about joining the cast of the upcoming Fast & Furious 7 and it was only after they consulted their dad that they agreed to take part.
The 68 year old tells the New York Daily News, "I had a hand in convincing Caleb and Cody. We had a pep talk because it was something they were obviously very skeptical of doing and I think it (the talk) helped."
Walker, Sr. admits the warm reception his other sons received from the actor's co-stars also played a big part in making Caleb and Cody feel comfortable with the project.
He adds, "They were obviously wary of filling Paul's shoes; it was an unenviable task and they didn't want to feel like they were intruding. But the incredible love they received from Tyrese (Gibson), Ludacris and Vin Diesel was an unbelievable help.
"Once they started working on the movie, it was about everybody pulling together to fill the void left behind by Paul...
"I'm very proud of both Caleb and Cody, and I'm sure this is something Paul would be proud of too."
Cody Walker, 25, has since landed a leading role in the next film in the street racing franchise, according to reports.
The actor died in a fiery car crash in November (13).
The younger brother of tragic actor Paul Walker has landed a leading role in the Fast & Furious film franchise after filling in for his late sibling on the set of the seventh movie.
Stuntman Cody Walker, 25, and his older brother Caleb were called on to play body doubles in Paul's unfinished scenes and now Cody is set to become a star in his own right.
Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner will be retired from the franchise after the seventh film, and Cody will join the cast as a new character, according to the Daily Mail. The actor died in a fiery car crash in November (13).
Paul Walker's younger brother Cody is still struggling to come to terms with the actor's tragic death, insisting his loss "doesn't feel real". The Fast & Furious star was killed in a fiery car accident in November (13), but Cody Walker reveals the news has yet to fully sink in, because he would often go months without seeing his sibling, as he worked on location.
Cody and his brother Caleb recently joined the cast of the Fast & Furious franchise as stand ins to help director James Wan complete filming Walker's unfinished scenes for the upcoming seventh installment of the movie, which the actor had been in the middle of shooting when he died suddenly.
The 25 year old has also been helping to promote Walker's disaster relief charity Reach Out WorldWide (ROWW) as the non-profit's new brand manager, and has been chatting to the media to mark the release of the star's last complete film, Brick Mansions.
But the emotional task proved to be a little too much for Cody on Thursday (24Apr14) as he broke down during a phone interview with a reporter from the Associated Press.
As his voice cracked, he said, "Right now, a whole lot of time has not gone by yet (since Paul's death). It still doesn't feel real, because sometimes, working in this industry, making films, he'd be away from his family three, four, six months at a time, you know? And my only interaction would be a phone call. So, I know it's going to take a while."
"After spending time with his biological brothers, I must say to the parents, you raised some great kids." Actor Vin Diesel is full of praise for Paul Walker's family after working with his siblings Caleb and Cody to help complete filming on the late actor's scenes in Fast & Furious 7.
Paul Walker's brothers are helping director James Wan complete filming on Fast & Furious 7 by serving as stand-ins for the late actor's unfinished scenes. Caleb and Cody Walker will be used during select scenes, while computer graphics will be utilised to "mask any discrepancies between their bodies and his," according to TheWrap.com.
However, they will not be replacing the franchise star in the film.
In a message on the movie's official Facebook.com page, producers write, "Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for Fast & Furious 7, and it's among the strongest work of his career.
"We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul's brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our Fast family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too..."
Production on the project was halted after the actor died in a fiery car crash in November (13), but filming resumed earlier this month (Apr14).
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Actor Paul Walker died from the "combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries". The Fast & Furious star was involved in a fiery car crash in Valencia, California last month (13), when the Porsche his business partner Roger Rodas was driving crashed into a tree and burst into flames.
Walker's death certificate has now been obtained by editors at TMZ.com, and it confirms he was not killed by the impact of the crash alone, but was burned to death once the car exploded.
The Los Angeles County Coroner reports that Rodas died from "multiple traumatic injuries", but unlike Walker, the fireball which engulfed the vehicle was not a factor in his death.
The certificates for both Walker and Rodas also reveal that their deaths were "rapid". An investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing.
Walker was laid to rest following a private funeral service at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills on Saturday (14Dec13).
Over 200 friends and family were in attendance, including his parents, Paul and Cheryl Walker, brothers Caleb Walker and Cody Walker, and Fast & Furious co-stars Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Michelle Rodriguez.
Actor Paul Walker has been laid to rest following a private funeral service in Los Angeles on Saturday (14Dec13). The Fast and Furious star, who passed away in a tragic car crash on 30 November (13), was cremated on Thursday (12Dec13) and his remains were interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.
The intimate service was attended by 200 members of his family and close friends, including his father Paul Walker Sr., mother Cheryl Walker and brothers Caleb Walker and Cody Walker, according to E! news.
The actor's movie co-stars, including Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Michelle Rodriguez, were also present to honour Walker's life, and following the service, Gibson took to Instagram.com to pay a touching tribute to his late pal.
He wrote, "Today In a room full of your loved ones I wish today was your wedding instead. God has a better plan even beyond ALL of our own understandings. For selfish reasons we all wanted you to stay, another laugh, another take, another talk, another moment. I guess you can't get all you ask for in life. But our hearts are FULL from all the moments we DID have, 13 years of laughter and grace, humility and love."
Rodriguez also took to Twitter.com to share her thoughts, writing, "I said goodbye to a great man today, a man I never got to show just how much I love his spirit and his golden heart, 'stay golden pony boy'... I hope you get my tweet in heaven, ps your (sic) right; 'stop talking just do it already' Love you Paul, your departure is fuel to my fire, well (sic) meet again, enjoy that light."
Autopsy results revealed the actor died as a result of traumatic and thermal injuries sustained when the Porsche his business partner Roger Rodas was driving crashed and burst into flames. Rodas also perished in the accident.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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