“I’ve always wanted to race cars, ever since I was a young boy, as I think a lot of guys have.” – Paul Walker
With deep sadness we came to know of the untimely demise of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker in a car accident. Returning from a charity event, Walker’s friend apparently lost control of the car, Porsche GT, which collided with a telegraph pole. Walker, who was in the passenger seat, was killed in this accident along with the driver. This incident occurred around 3.30 pm Pacific Standard Time on November 30, 2013. Saddening, a deeply saddening incident!
We would all know Paul Walker as the charismatic daring cop from Fast & Furious series, the one who has an incessant obsession about winning a race against Vin Diesel, the one who is a doting father and a loving husband, the one who is always there for his friends, no matter what. But the start of Walker’s career began years back. From his early teens, Paul Walker featured on TV shows and had his film debut early on in 1986, at the age of 12, in a teen slasher flick Monster in the Closet. But Walker’s first noticeable role came in 1998 in Disney’s Meet the Deedles. The movie was a failure, but Walker did not go unnoticed and this led to supporting roles in a number of movies such as Pleasantville, Varsity Blues and The Skulls.
Come 2001, and things changed altogether for Paul Walker, as they did for another Hollywood star, Vin Diesel. The movie franchise which is churning one hit after another in recent years, owes it all to the 2001 flick The Fast and the Furious and the amazing bromance between Walker and Diesel. This partnership has to go down as one of the best and the most successful one of the century so far, with enough moments of love and hate that are very much needed to cement a relationship firmly. Paul Walker played the role of the undercover cop Brian O’Conner who has to apprehend a crew of truck hijackers led by Diesel, while the future movies saw him become an integral member of the crew itself. Paul Walker is himself a car enthusiast and is said to have performed quite a few stunts for the movie. He has even competed in the Redline Time Attack racing series, which is a North American racing series. For such a guy, being part of the Fast & Franchise movie series would have been a treat. In fact, in Walker’s own words in an interview, the way the movie came out to be was that the makers of The Skulls asked “What do you want to do next?” And Walker replied, “I want to do a movie where I’m racing cars or I’m an undercover cop.” Guess what, they combined the two together and voila… The Fast & Furious was born.
When Vin Diesel did not return for the sequel, it was upto Paul Walker to carry the movie on his shoulders, and didn’t he do a good job of it! 2 Fast 2 Furious earned a bit more than the predecessor at the box-office and set the path for another instalment in the franchise. For this one, even Walker did not return. It was only when the old crew was brought back for the fourth film Fast & Furious in 2009, did we get to see the partnership between Walker and Diesel grow further, and then with the fifth in 2011 and the sixth in 2013, Paul Walker had definitely cemented his position in the franchise. Walker played the role to perfection, and while the racing scenes are the ones that carry much of the thrills, they are incomplete without the drivers. Seeing Walker behind the wheel brought a sense of calm to proceedings, as if this guy would take care of things. His sparkling smile, his intense eyes, would have won him quite a female fan following; but his enthusiasm for racing, and his vibrant personality won him a fair share of male fans too. He had quite a set of cars in his garage, and this is the collection he talked of in an interview as recent as June 2013.
A ’67 Nova that Year One built, a ’64 Impala, a ’64 Malibu, a ’64 Chevelle two-door wagon, a ’64 Nova wagon, a ’67 Nova wagon. I really want a double-nickel Chevy; that’s coming soon. I’ve also been collecting BMWs. Remember the lightweight E36 M3? BMW brought sixty of them to the States, and I have seven of them. I have a Porsche GT3 RS 3.8. I’m on my fourth or fifth R34 Nissan Skyline.
Apart from the Fast & Furious franchise, Paul Walker starred in different movies with varying success, the most notable being the critically acclaimed Eight Below and a supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers. Walker was involved in charity work to quite an extent, and had co-founded Reach Out WorldWide, which is a non-profit organisation that has helped in the relief efforts in areas hit by natural disasters such as at the time of the Chile earthquake and the Haiti earthquake. It was on his return from such a charity event surrounding the Typhoon Haiyan that Walker met with the fatal crash.
The age of 40 is too early a time to depart for your heavenly abode. It is an unfortunate and tragic incident, one which has already led to the flooding of condolences from fans and Hollywood co-stars. Vin Diesel has tweeted: “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.” A day like this also makes you wonder again about the fragility of life, the uncertainty about tomorrow that still persists despite the innumerable hours you may take to plan it out. Paul Walker lived a life where he worked hard to fulfil his dreams, where he did not let his passions subside, where he rode through the ups and downs with strength and grace. It is a lesson that most of us can learn from here. RIP, Paul Walker! We thank you for the joys you spread in our hearts through your work… You will be missed.
“You know, all that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae.” – Paul Walker