“Furious 7” will likely get a major boost in ticket sales next month as fans flock to the theater to send off one of the franchise’s most beloved characters, Brian O'Conner, played by the late Paul Walker. Following the death of the film star during the movie's production in 2013, it was soon after announced that the filmmakers would continue with the project – what no one knew though, was how.
It was revealed months ago that, in a shocking display of family values, Walker’s real-life brothers would join his on-screen family to act as body doubles to finish the movie. Paul Walker was involved in a fatal car accident in the middle of filming the upcoming action flick and, thus, director James Wan needed to use Caleb and Cody Walker and a mish-mash of existing footage from the previous movies to finish “Furious 7.”
A new article from The Hollywood Reporter tried to get more details on the camera and editing tricks used to recreate O’Connor being that his actor couldn’t physically be on set. Unfortunately, Universal declined to share the specific details of the movie magic used to keep Walker’s character going long enough to write him out of the series.
Despite the studio remaining tight-lipped, sources told the outlet that Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital effects company, which is responsible for Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, was brought in to use its cutting-edge technology to make a digital version of O’Connor. Although the effects company also refused to comment, the odds are strong they were responsible for creating a CGI mask for Walker’s brothers.
Whatever tricks Universal used to keep O’Connor going, they apparently worked. The film recently had a surprise premiere at South by Southwest where director James Wan begged those in attendance not to spoil what happens to Walker’s character for those who can’t view the movie until it hits theaters nationwide on April 13. Co-star Vin Diesel echoed that sentiment at another premiere, according to People Magazine.
A Buzzfeed writer that was in the SXSW crowd noted that the special effects used on the late actor’s character are noticeable, but only if you’re really looking hard for them. Curious fans hoping to see if Paul Walker was given a respectful exit will have to buy a ticket for the film when it drops Friday, April 3.