In a massively creepy move, Universal Pictures has announced that Paul Walker will star in the upcoming Fast & Furious 7, despite having died in a car crash last November. Walker had not completed shooting his scenes for the film when he died and now Universal has cleared up how they will work around his untimely death: CGI.
According to the New York Daily News, Universal has hired lookalike actors to serve as body doubles and will use CGI and voice effects for his face and voice. “They have hired four actors with bodies very similar to Paul’s physique and they will be used for movement and as a base,” the Daily News quotes a “source close to production” as saying. “Paul’s face and voice will be used on top using CGI.”
Following Walker’s death last year, shooting on Fast & Furious 7 was halted. In December it was announced that Walker would still star in the film and that it was being rewritten to include a farewell to Walker’s character Brian O’Conner, using footage Walker had already shot. It was generally assumed that Walker’s role in the seventh Fast & Furious, which has been delayed until April 2015, would be fairly small. But using body doubles and voice manipulation, Universal can do pretty much anything it likes with Walker (and O’Conner).
Hopefully the studio will respect Walker’s death and the tragic irony that he died in a car crash and not go overboard here. The Daily News‘ insider urges that the CGI option was the studio’s first choice and that it “feels confident fans of the franchise will feel satisfied with the result.” It would be a shame for the studio to use technology to fill in Walker’s original role, rather than something smaller and more sensitive to his memory, and to the family he left behind.