Now that the Justin Bieber rumor has been put to rest, at least temporarily, the new hype is that Cody Walker, the brother of the late Paul Walker will change from stuntman to actor in Fast & Furious 7. The initial news that 19 year-old Bieber was seriously being considered as a replacement for Walker as Brian O’Conner caused not a little outrage and consternation from fans of Paul and the franchise.
The day after Paul Walker’s remains were interred at the Hollywood Forest Lawn Memorial Park, the internet was flooded with the news that the Walker clan had been approached by the producers of Fast & Furious 7. Cody Walker, the 25 year-old younger brother of Paul was reportedly asked to join the cast of the film. It is a little murky as to just what Cody would be doing in the latest installment of the popular film series.
Looking at photographs, Cody uncannily resembles his late older brother. He is, obviously, 15 years Paul’s junior and his hair is more blond. The smiles are almost identical though. There has been no real explanation of whether Cody would be used for “long shots” as a sort of “double” for scenes that need to be finished that Paul partially finished before the Thanksgiving break from filming or something else.
Rumors state that Universal are seriously considering working Walker’s death into the verse of Fast & Furious. The script is being rewritten in order to resume production on the film in order to meet the July 2014 premiere deadline. Part of the reason that the Justin Bieber rumor got so much serious consideration from fans was the news that the Canadian pop star would play either a younger version of Brian O’Conner or a younger relative.
It has been said that since Cody Walker resembles his brother Paul so much in body shape and size that they could use the stuntman turned to actor in Fast & Furious 7 in scenes that did not require long shots to hide the fact that Brian O’Conner was not being played by Paul. Using CG they could alter Cody’s face to make him look even more like Paul, thereby being able to finish the film without too many changes.
That theory doesn’t really make much sense. There are surely other actors who have a similar shape and size to the late Paul Walker and the same CG could be used without the added pressure on Cody who just lost his brother in real life. If the studios have decided to work Walker’s real life demise into the film, then it would explain the furious rewriting of the original script. If they were planning on using Cody to “pad out” Paul’s existing scenes the script would not need so much altering.
A simple switch of characters in scenes that had featured Brian O’Conner would suffice. For example, a scene that revolved around Brian could be rewritten to focus on another of the “family” in the verse. A minimum of changing could make the present script usable.
It seems more likely that Cody Walker will be used as Brian O’Conner’s brother. If Brian dies in the film, it would make sense in the setting of Fast & Furious 7 for him to arrive wanting answers or to pick up his brother’s body. The film’s producers could even make use of Cody’s profession of stuntman as part of his screen character’s biography. The switch to actor from stuntman is not unusual in Hollywood, the late Richard Farnsworth started as a stuntman as did others. It will be interesting to see just how Cody will be used in the film and no one will really know until July 2014.
By Michael Smith