Not every movie star can be Tom Cruise. And in movies as gigantic as the Fast and Furious franchise, some of the stunts are simply too over-cranked for A-listers to be able to do the action sequences themselves. That was certainly a source of frustration for the late Paul Walker.
From the earliest days of the Fast and Furious movies, Walker carved himself out as one of the most beloved members of the Fast and Furious cast. And according to Furious 7 stunt coordinator Joel Kramer in 2015, Walker was keen to do as many vehicular stunts as possible throughout the best movies in the series.
In fact, it was only pesky legal matters that stopped him from getting behind the wheel and leaping off tall things. Kramer told USA Today: “Paul can do most of these stunts, but we can’t let him for insurance reasons.”
Kramer added: “Paul, god rest his soul, was a great guy. And not just a great actor, but a great athlete. He had a natural ability to do all of these stunts. He and Vin both. These guys are phenomenal.”
Furious 7 proved to be Walker’s final movie as one of the best Fast and Furious characters, Brian O’Conner. It also gave us perhaps the most impressive stunt in the franchise: the jump between the Etihad Towers in Dubai.
To make that scene happen, the production team built 40-foot tall glass and steel structures on a sound stage, with a stunt driver subsequently zooming between them at high speed in a Lykan HyperSport – one of the coolest Fast and Furious cars to date.
Neither Walker nor Diesel was allowed to do this stunt themselves, though we’re sure both of them would have loved the chance to do so. That’s especially true as there were only seven HyperSports ever made and they cost more than $3m each. But worry not because the one destroyed on set was a specially-made model that was a lot less expensive, thankfully.
If you watch the Fast and Furious movies in order again, it’s the increasingly absurd stunts that stand out. Sadly, though, if it looks like Paul Walker is at the wheel during the most ludicrous moments, the lawyers probably told him to stand aside.
We loved the latest Fast adventure, as we explained in our Fast X review. With that in mind, we can’t wait for the new movies in this franchise, starting with the Fast and Furious 11 release date. Elsewhere, find out about the tiny detail John Cena had to hide to keep his Fast and Furious role secret.