Bring out a box of tissues because this will make you cry.
In his latest interview with Variety magazine, Furious 7 star Vin Diesel remembers shooting a climatic scene with his co-star, the late Paul Walker, and how they parted ways for the last time. Recalling the night of the filming, which involved a “semi-kamikaze” stunt from his own onscreen character, Diesel says his final conversation with his friend for over a decade revolved around the subject of death.
“These action films can be very dangerous, no matter what anyone tells you,” the actor, who recently named his newborn daughter after Walker, tells the magazine. “I started to think, ‘What would happen to Paul Walker if I died?'”
The 47-year-old says he then went over to Walker’s trailer after the sequence had wrapped, sharing a heart-to-heart moment before saying goodbye.
“If I do die, let them know what kind of brother I’ve been to you,” he recalls telling Walker, who passed away days later from a single-car accident. “I’ve played that over in my head countless of times. That’s the last time I ever saw him.”
Walker was one of the two victims who perished in a high-speed collision in Santa Clarita, Calif on Nov. 30, 2013. At the time, he was riding along in the passenger seat of a Porsche Carrera GT driven by his friend Roger Rodas. The two men had just left a charity event when the sports car skidded of the road and crashed into concrete lamppost and two trees. Walker’s cause of death was determined to be combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.
According to Diesel, he had his doubts about returning to set. Production for the action film halted for four months as writers scrambled to come up with a new ending. Eventually, Walker’s own brothers — Caleb and Cody — as well as actor John Brotherton agreed to stand-in for Walker’s remaining scenes.
“There was fear. Could I finish playing Dom with such a broken heart?” Diesel remembers. “I thought what Paul would really want me to do was finish it. So that’s what I did.”
He continues about the first day back on set after Walker’s death, “I went through three boxes of tissues, and I felt so bad. I felt so embarrassed. I was just failing so hard. My nose was running and my eyes were tearing. I had to walk off set and try to get all the fluids out.”
“It was endearing that his brothers were there to assist with his legacy,” Diesel adds of Walker’s siblings pitching in, though noting that the help was also bittersweet. “No one in the world could teach you how to act across from someone your heart is mourning for. That’s like asking someone who has lost a parent to replay it again and again, and pretend there’s not a void there.”