By now most of us are aware that actor Paul Walker, best known for his role in the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, died tragically in a fiery car crash this week, but there are at least five more things as Paul Walker and his life are remembered that you probably didn’t know.
1. Paul Walker was passed over for the role of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars films. He auditioned for the role in the late 1990’s but was reportedly considered too old for the part by acclaimed director George Lucas. There may have been concern that the age difference between the characters of Anakin and Padme, played by Natalie Portman, would be problematic if he were cast in the role. When Paul Walker was asked about having been passed over for the part of Anakin he said “Aw yeah, I wish I was Anakin. C’mon man? Be a Jedi Knight?” He also said that he had been claiming for years that he would have a son and name him Luke Skywalker.
2. He was a model and a soap opera star in the 1990’s. Paul Walker appeared on The Young and the Restless back in 1992. He played the character Brandon Collins, a brief love interest of Victoria Newman, a long time character on the show then played by actress Heather Tom.
3. Paul Walker turned down the opportunity to play Superman in 2003. When speaking of letting the role pass he did so without regret expressing his sentiment that if he had played Superman it would have meant that he would “always be Superman” and may have made getting other roles more difficult. Regardless of whether that’s true, it certainly didn’t have a negative impact on his rise to stardom.
4. He was an enormous fan of the marine biologist, Jacques Cousteau. In fact, Paul Walker described Cousteau as an idol. He was passionate about the sea and, in fact, majored in marine biology in college, intending to make it his career before he landed a starring role in the movie Pleasantville opposite Reese Witherspoon. He said that even then he intended to just make the movie, use the money to pay off loans, and then return to school to pursue his marine biology career. Just as there are at least 5 things you probably didn’t know about Paul Walker, it seems there were at least 5 things Paul Walker didn’t see coming as a part of his career. Walker didn’t give up his passion for marine biology entirely, however. He explained that part of his motivation to participate in the film Into the Blue was that he would get to spend a lot of time in the water. He also went on to become active with charitable organizations dedicated to preserving marine life.
5. Paul Walker’s grandfather was a race car driver. Paul Walker was passionate about cars and racing and not just as a result of his fast-paced high-speed chases on-screen. In addition to being a professional boxer and a WWII veteran who served at Pearl Harbor, Paul Walker’s grandfather raced cars leaving Paul of the opinion that racing and cars weren’t just for fun but good business too. It would seem his grandfather’s legacy and knowledge served Paul well.
Paul Walker will be remembered as a great actor, a father, a friend and a humanitarian and just possibly for some of these 5 things that you may not have known about him until now.
By Michele Wessel