Tyrese Gibson – the Fast & Furious 7 costar of Paul Walker – recently broke his silence over his friend’s tragic demise. Gibson conducted his first interview since Walker’s death, appearing on The Arsenio Hall Show on Jan. 13.
Tyrese, aged 35, started out the interview on a much lighter note, discussing his visit to Dubai with I Am Legend actor Will Smith. The star claims he found his smile again in the city, describing the location – notorious for its looming skyscrapers and high-rise backdrop – as simply “amazing.” He also, enthusiastically, described Smith as his best friend and mentor.
Chat show host and comedian Arsenio Hall delved a little deeper to understand precisely how Dubai helped him through the emotional turmoil, experienced in the wake of Walker’s death. Providing the audience with some context of the incident, Tyrese said that he was with his friend just four days prior to the accident; at the time, they were both on-set shooting scenes for Fast & Furious 7. He went on to elaborate on how Paul’s unexpected death affected the star’s family and friends:
“It was a lot of shock and trauma for the family, and all of us involved, because he’s just such a nice guy… I’ve never been depressed in my life, but I was very, very sad and down, and it took me a minute to shake it…”
On the surface, Gibson appears to be trying to remain as positive as possible, despite recent events, and quickly moved on to talk about following a spiritual path. The Transformers actor indicated that he follows the guidance of God, in terms of “… where to go, or who to communicate or connect with.” Gibson claims that this was the motivating factor for his venture to Dubai – a decision that turned out to be “… the best thing that ever happened.”
Walker was the founder of a non-profit charity, called Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). Founded in 2009, ROWW dispatches first responders to coordinate humanitarian efforts in regions devastated by natural disasters; thus far, the foundation is known for contributing relief efforts in a number of countries, including Chile, Indonesia, the Philippines and regions throughout the United States. In fact, prior to Walker’s car collision, the star was attending one of ROWW’s charitable events.
Hall and Tyrese jointly explained that some of the proceeds from Fast & Furious 6 DVD sales would be donated to ROWW. This news was previously announced by the chairman of Universal Pictures, Donna Langley, who issued a statement praising Walker’s many selfless, charitable pursuits. Tyrese said that he wanted to make sure that Paul’s legacy, and what he stood for, would continue. He also took the opportunity to thank all of those who prayed and provided “energy,” as Walker’s family and friends worked through the pain and began the process of rebuilding.
Hall then enquired as to what the studio’s intentions were in handling Walker’s onscreen, Fast & Furious character, Brian O’Conner. Tyrese explained that the development team were still figuring out their next move. This echoes the words of writer Chris Morgan, who, during an interview with gaming website IGN, clarified the studio’s current position.
Morgan refuted a recent “retirement” rumor that stemmed from a source close to The Hollywood Reporter (THR). The source alleged that Brian O’Conner would not be die in a revised iteration of the plot, but would merely make an exit from the adrenaline-fuelled franchise. Making specific reference to the circulating rumor, the screenwriter – who has worked on 47 Ronin and a slew of previous Fast titles – indicated that the direction of the movies was still being considered:
“I saw that and I wasn’t quite sure where that was coming from… There’s nothing set in stone at all. Those are the conversations we’re just now having. Nothing’s decided. Everything is still open and on the table.”
Recently, the release date for Fast & Furious 7 was pushed back to April 10, 2015 – details of which were announced by Vin Diesel, and later corroborated by Universal Studios.
By James Fenner