When actor Paul Walker was tragically killed back in November, he was well into filming Fast & Furious 7. In the wake of that unfortunate accident, it was immediately obvious that his death was going to trigger the biggest insurance claim in the history of Hollywood. Since there’s no way Tinseltown would put the kibosh on a project as high-profile as this one, the film is currently in the midst of a 13-week long shoot, filled with massive special effects in order to complete the project. Meanwhile, tensions are rising between Universal Pictures and Fireman’s Fund, their insurance company, over the unprecedented $50 million claim.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
The cost of finishing Fast & Furious 7, originally budgeted at $200 million, will be daunting, even though a person with ties to the project says the storyline has not changed drastically. “They are finishing the film more or less as scripted, replacing Paul with [computer-generated] face replacement,” says this person. “They have two of Paul’s brothers as well as an actor to ‘play’ Paul when needed.” (The Walker brothers, 25-year-old Cody and 36-year-old Caleb, both are helping fill in for their brother physically — Caleb primarily for body size and mannerisms and Cody for the eyes. But the filmmakers need to create a character that not only looks like Paul but also performs like him. That’s the actor’s job.) Peter Jackson‘s Weta is tackling the effects work using three cameras (in addition to the main-unit cameras) to capture Walker’s stand-ins for face replacement. “There is a massive amount of gear,” reports the source. “Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a clusterf— of money being spent.” Director James Wan also will come up with new scenes from unused footage Walker had shot for the previous two Fast & Furious films.
Check out some raw footage of Paul Walker’s brothers shooting some scenes for the film here:
Insurance for movies is a tricky business, and a lot of issues are at play in the massive claim amount. These include additional work and time needed for the writer to tweak the script, as well as increased pay for stars like Vin Diesel to remain on the shoot until July to wrap it. But because the specific “needs” in order to complete the project can be considered judgment calls, therein lies the reported tension. Still, it would have likely cost the insurance company much more money had Universal decided to scrap the previously filmed footage and start over from scratch without Walker, or to delete his scenes and replace them with another actor.
Meanwhile, expect an eighth installment in the franchise to follow #7…since that’s what Hollywood does best.
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