7th UPDATE, 10:03 AM: Fast & Furious star Paul Walker died of trauma and burn injuries, the LA County Coroner’s office said today. The autopsy was completed last night, sources say. Walker was killed Saturday after he and friend Roger Rodas crashed in a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT while driving it in Santa Clarita, CA. Rodas was driving the luxury car with Walker in the passenger seat. Rodas died from “multiple traumatic injuries” said the Coroner’s report, with Walker’s death resulting from the “combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.” Both deaths have been ruled to be the result of an accident. On a Thanksgiving break from filming Fast & Furious 7, the 40-year-old actor had been at a nearby charity event just beforehand. A LAPD investigation of the incident is ongoing, as is the Coroner’s toxicology examination. The latter is expected to take 6-8 more weeks.
6th UPDATE, Dec 2 PM: Paul Walker‘s friend and frequent Fast & Furious co-star Vin Diesel paid tribute to the late actor tonight. Diesel wrote on his Facebook page, which has more than 52M likes: “‘To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.’ — Thomas Campbell. Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now… and the profound impact, your full life has had on it, on Us… on me… I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were… on and off screen.”
5th UPDATE, 4:25 PM: We just received the following statement from UTA on donation information following the tragic death of Paul Walker. “Paul Walker’s family appreciates the outpouring of love and goodwill from his many fans and friends. They have asked, in lieu of flowers or other gifts, that donations please be made to Paul’s charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). Donations can easily be made through their website at http://www.ROWW.org/.”
Related: PHOTOS: Paul Walker, 1973-2013
“It’s comforting for them to know that the son, brother, and father they love so much is equally adored, respected, and appreciated by so many. Paul founded the organization with the genuine desire to help others, and it’s important to his family to keep his memory alive through ROWW,” UTA said.
4th UPDATE, 12:30 PM: EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert and CMO Fabrice Denizot have shared their thoughts on the passing of Paul Walker. EuropaCorp co-financed and is domestic distributor for Brick Mansions, the American-ized remake of the Paris-set Banlieue 13, which starred Walker.
“All of us at EuropaCorp are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden loss of Paul Walker”, they wrote. We recently completed the filming of Brick Mansions with him and today, those who were lucky enough to work with him are heartbroken. He was a fantastic actor on this project as well as a wonderful team member. We send our deepest and most sincere thoughts to Paul’s family and friends.”
3RD UPDATE, 8:40 AM: The tributes to late actor Paul Walker continue to roll in, and we are not surprised it is taking some of his colleagues time for them to find the words in an unimaginable horror. Here is a lengthy remembrance by Wayne Kramer, who grew close to Walker when they made the 2006 thriller Running Scared and Pawn Shop Chronicles:
“It’s truly been a devastating day for Paul Walker’s family, his friends and his fans all over the world,” Kramer writes. “I still haven’t begun to process it. It doesn’t seem real. I had the great privilege to work with Paul twice, most recently last year on a little seen film called Pawn Shop Chronicles (which came and went this year) and in 2004 on a film I hold closest to my heart, Running Scared (released in 2006). A filmmaker could not ask for a better or more supportive collaborator than Paul. So many people who knew him will talk about what a great human being he was – and they would be right; everybody who met him instantly loved him – but I want to talk about what a great actor he was. Both times I directed him, he brought an absolute commitment to his craft and would be very hard on himself if he didn’t think he was getting there. He was a natural athlete and could deliver a precision action performance take after take, hitting very difficult camera marks in sync with extremely complicated camera moves. During Running Scared, he spent seven days shooting a grueling action scene on a real ice rink and, at least, five of those days he had his face pushed down into the ice, to the point that his flesh was literally stuck to the surface of the ice — and he never ever complained about it. It was an absolute joy to work with him every single day on that film. Like a little kid, he was excited to conspire with me on those very scenes that we knew would get a strong reaction from the audience.
Judging from what I experienced and from what others have told me, Paul was always the great unifier on set. He went out of his way to accommodate both actors and crew members. I’ve also never seen him refuse an autograph to anyone. We shot one of the final scenes in Running Scared in a working class neighborhood in New Jersey and by the time production wrapped, there must have been a few hundred kids mobbing him for his autograph. He stayed and signed for everyone of them. We attended a neighborhood Italian restaurant one night during shooting, and I swear about five grandmothers came over to our table to marry their daughters off to Paul. He barely got a morsel of food in his mouth that night because he was too busy auditioning future wives and ‘grand’ in-laws (if there is such a word). He always had time for his fans and had he lived long enough to no longer be the cool movie star, I can guarantee you he would have rather gone hungry than sell his autograph to fans.
It always pained me when critics and internet talkbackers slammed him as an actor because I knew the truth about the guy: he was fucking awesome in every way. And he was just coming into his own as a strong leading man. I always told Paul that his most exciting years were going to be his 40s and 50s, and even beyond, as a masculine American tough guy in the vein of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. We talked about how Paul was going to be my Lee Marvin and we were hungry to make those kind of films that could show Paul in that light. In some alternate reality somewhere, he’s still on that career trajectory and I’d love to be there to see the work because it would be something to experience indeed. For every anonymous internet hater who bagged on him, there were great actors and directors who made a point of letting him know how amazing he was. Kevin Costner was a fan and wanted to do a western with Paul. Vincent D’Onofrio (whom I recently worked with) made a point of telling me how much he dug Paul as an actor. Quentin Tarantino called Paul after seeing Running Scared to tell him how much he loved Paul’s performance. Sylvester Stallone was a fan of Paul in Running Scared. Walter Hill and Brian De Palma offered him projects a few years back. Paul was very discriminating with the films he picked. He chose to make them for personal reasons, regardless of the quality of the finished film or the reputation of the director. And once he signed on, he was there one thousand percent for his directors. We shared the same taste in material. Usually dark and extreme, but with a lot of soul. Closer to the films of the 70s and 80s that they no longer make anymore.
What kills me about the way Paul died (and I know he wasn’t driving) is that Paul was an amazing driver. He was every bit as good, if not better, than the stunt drivers he worked with. I’ve been on the set where the stunt drivers couldn’t nail it and he had to do the stunt for them. Paul had a great stunt double on Running Scared, his good friend Oakley Lehman – only Paul did all of his own stunt work. I think Oakley did some second unit stand in shots and one real stunt where Paul gets slammed to the ice by one of the Russian hockey players. Nothing makes a director happier than to hear his star is having a great time on a film he’s directing – and I got to hear that every single day from Paul on Running Scared, Pawn Shop Chronicles was the same thing, but we had a much shorter schedule. I remember this crazy scene in Pawn Shop when Paul puts on this clown mask that he’s brought to a meth lab robbery and scares the shit out of his partner in crime played by Kevin Rankin. This came at the end of an eighteen hour day and nobody was in a particularly good mood, but the moment Paul started his clown mask schtick, the entire set was in hysterics. I looked over at Jimi Whitaker, my DP, who was operating the camera and he was almost convulsive, trying his hardest not to ruin the shot. Paul would do whatever it took to get you the moment you wanted. Still wearing that clown mask, he charged across the set of this meth lab, while Lukas Haas was blasting him with a shotgun (loaded with blanks) and threw himself into a tiny floor level kitchen cupboard – and to this day I don’t know how he managed to fit in there. It’s one thing to draw up crazy storyboards and action scenes, but you need a game actor like Paul Walker to bring it to life for you. And he always did. I have never been disappointed by Paul as a filmmaker.
Paul was an intensely private person and he didn’t interact that much with industry people when he was on breaks from making films. He was doing some of the most amazing shit in ‘real life’ and living his life to the fullest like no one else I know. The guy swam with sharks, hiked through jungles, visited some of the most extreme and exotic places on the planet; he flew to Haiti right after the earthquake, and gave back in so many ways that he never talked about. He was an iconoclast that the world didn’t really know outside of the Fast and Furious films. He may not have taken his career as seriously as he might have liked when he first started acting, but about ten years ago he started getting really focused about acting and looking for better opportunities. They didn’t always find him and I’m convinced we were robbed of some truly great performances. I feel like I’ve lost my true partner in crime and I only wish we had made more films together.”
2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY 6:40 PM: Actor and friend Scott Caan wrote in with his own remembrance of the late Paul Walker, with whom he co-starred in Varsity Blues and Into the Blue:
“Paul always made the people around him feel special. Friend meant brother to Paul. If you knew him for ten minutes or for twenty years you understood there was something unique about him. What ever specific special quality you picked up when sitting with him, whether it be his warmth, kindness, or his smile that made you feel like you were the only other human on the planet. Nothing will stand out more for the rest of my life than Paul’s honesty. No matter how successful Paul became, his dedication to being unchanged, and not to be pushed even slightly away from who he was and what he stood for never wavered. A friend, father, son, and brother that loved, smiled, and enjoyed his life. I loved this man with all my heart. I’m floored, I’m angry, and this is not fair; but he will be in my heart forever. All my love to the Walker family.”
UPDATE, SUNDAY, 1 PM: Saturday’s shocking death of actor Paul Walker came as the actor had been filming Fast & Furious 7. Following the tragic news, Walker’s Fast & Furious co-stars and directors James Wan and Justin Lin took to social media to share their grief.
“Paul was pure light. I cannot believe he is gone,” Tweeted onscreen Fast & Furious partner Jordana Brewster on Sunday.
Fast & Furious 3, 4, 5, & 6 director Justin Lin Tweeted, “In a business that barely requires it, @RealPaulWalker was relentlessly selfless, genuine & trying to be better every day. Love you brother.”
“Missing my brother…” Tweeted Sung Kang, who also posted condolences on Facebook.
PREVIOUS, SATURDAY PM: Fellow Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne Johnson wrote on Twitter, “All my strength, love & faith to the Walker family during this heartbreaking time. We find our strength… in his light. Love you brother.”
Said Ludacris on Instagram, “Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers & our birthdays are only 1 day apart, now You will forever hold a place in all of our hearts @paulwalker legacy will live on forever. R.I.P.”
Added Tyrese Gibson on Facebook, “My heart is hurting so bad no one can make me believe this is real. Father God I pray that you send clarity over this cause I just don’t understand. My heart hurts it’s broken no one can convince me that this is real… Prayer warriors please pray real hard for his only child, his daughter and family… #HeartOfAnAngel13YrsFamilyForever WeJustCelebreatedYour40thBirthday… My God… My God… I can’t believe I’m writing this.”
Gal Gadot Tweeted: “Lost a dear friend today. So sudden and tragic – @RealPaulWalker was a great man with a big heart and passion. RIP”.
“I am so beyond heartbroken right now,” Fast & The Furious 7 director Wan said on Twitter. “I can’t process anything.”
Just last weekend, Walker posted a photo from the set of the movie with co-stars Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel, Ludacris, and director Wan promoting the Reach Out Worldwide charity to raise money for typhoon victims in the Philippines, whose event Walker attended before Saturday’s fatal crash.
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