This Is How They Made Those Paul Walker Scenes in Furious 7 After the Actor’s Death

The company’s visual effects supervisor Martin Hill said the bus scene was not the only one to challenge his team 1 photo
Photo: Edited by Autoevolution
It’s been more than just a joyride for the entire Fast and Furious crew ever since 2001, when producers decided to make a film inspired by the New York street clubs that race Japanese cars late at night. Unfortunately, the actor playing the undercover cop who’d chase Toretto’s crew passed away in a fiery accident before the last installment was ready. Furious 7, however, was not only finished but it also became the most successful amongst the entire franchise.
When Universal Pictures officially announced that the production crew - Vin Diesel included - decided to finish the film even though Paul Walker had passed away, fans worldwide wondered if it was the right decision. Some said they shouldn’t use the sad event to sell tickets in cinemas; others argued that the movie might as well be a tribute. We’re not here to discuss this factor, but we can tell you this much: the worldwide box office shows sales are getting close to the $2 billion mark.

Considering we’re quite sure you saw the movie, we figured you also wondered how they did it. According to an interview Variety did with Weta visual effects supervisor Martin Hill, re-creating some images of Paul Walker in the stunt sequences was not the most difficult task; the subtler close-ups of the late actor represented the biggest challenge.

350 shots of Paul Walker

Apparently, the Wellington, N.Z.-based Weta Digital had entered the picture because producer Neal Moritz and director James Wan wanted Furious 7 to remain faithful to the film they had started. Including as much of Walker as possible in the scenes was important. Hard work did pay off, as Weta ended up doing a whopping 350 shots, most of them involving the actor’s character.

It would seem the editing team went through old footage, building a reference library of Walker as Brian O’Conner by using outtakes from Furious 7 and previous films in the saga. According to the source, the Weta team “essentially had to relight his performance” digitally for each new scene.

The company’s visual effects supervisor Martin Hill said the bus scene was not the only one to challenge his team, as it “paled in comparison to scenes such as Paul sitting still, or delivering dialog in closeup, because you don’t have the action and the kinetic cutting to help distract from the effects.”
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