Paul Walker's death: 'Fast & Furious 7' delayed, not canceled
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Paul Walker was on a Thanksgiving break from shooting "Fast & Furious 7" this past weekend when he was killed in a fiery car crash in Valencia. Universal Pictures is trying to decide what to do with the new film and its hit franchise.
Walker and his friend, Roger Rodas, died in a single-car crash near Rye Canyon Loop and Kelly Johnson Parkway on Saturday afternoon. Walker is believed to have been the passenger in the red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, which crashed into a tree and light pole and burst in flames.
Despite Walker's tragic passing, the seventh installment of the film franchise will continue shooting.
"Fast & Furious 7 was about halfway done, we're told," said Matthew Belloni, executive editor at The Hollywood Reporter. "Paul Walker had shot about the first half of the film in Atlanta and they were on break for the Thanksgiving holiday."
Belloni says the studio is still deciding how and when to resume production.
"They haven't decided exactly how the death will be addressed, if it will be on screen, if it won't, if they'll try to shoot around him for the remainder of the film," said Belloni.
Longtime public relations specialist Howard Bragman says this unfortunately isn't the first time a major star has died in the middle of a big-budget production.
"This is where Hollywood executives earn their money. This is the kind of situation that really keeps them up at night," said Bragman.
When Brandon Lee was accidentally shot and killed while shooting "The Crow," filming continued with a stunt double.
After Natalie Wood's death, "Brainstorm" was rewritten in order to complete production. Heath Ledger died while making "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." The plot was revised so other actors could take on parts of his character.
Now, Bragman says moving this beloved franchise forward without Walker will be a tough balancing act.
"On the one hand, you want to make sure you acknowledge and recognize him. On the other hand, you don't want to dwell on him and have that be the focus," said Bragman.
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