Ride or die
The late Paul Walker has been gone for exactly two years now – can’t believe how fast time goes. Of course, many of the fans will always remember him as his most noticeable character – Brian O’Conner – of the Fast and Furious franchise. Ironically, ride or die always was and still is the motto of the team. By the way, this is actually the reason why I’m writing an article about an actor on my motoring blog. But back to the subject. I was just about 17 when The Fast and the Furious came to the big screens and started it all. I had seen Paul in previous movies, such as Varsity Blues and Pleasantville. However, The Fast and the Furious started was about cars, and I am a car guy. So was Paul, which made him connect even more with his character and his fans. A total of seven movies have come out by 2015 and Paul was in six of them. The Fast and Furious franchise practically rode with me for the last 15 years. Unsurpringly, it was pretty disturbing when I heard that he had gone.
Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough to take some time off this year to travel across the United States this summer. Upon my arrival in Los Angeles, I checked out the neighborhood of Echo Park, where the Dominic and Mia Toretto’s house is standing and the saga started. Yes, it is a real house, a real neighborhood. And the cool is that it’s just like in the movie; Toretto’s Market (Bob’s Market) is just down the street of the house – which in real life doesn’t sell Mia’s tuna sandwich, but groceries. 😉 Here’s a little montage of Echo Park edited with some of the movie scenes:
The Fast and the Furious filming locations:
Paul the marine biologist and human activist
According to Paul, acting was never his biggest passion. He started acting because his mom was in the showbusiness and he had the opportunity to act in order to pay for school and go back to marine biology. He got the opportunity to start in Pleasantville and what happened after that is a successfull acting career. Even though Paul was very busy shooting one movie after another, he still took time to start his own non-profit organization Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), which “is a network of committed professionals with first responder skill-set (including project management, logistics, heavy equipment operation, EMT, paramedic, firefighting, and healthcare, etc)”.
The irony of life
Isn’t it ironic how his life ended? He left in a car accident – in a Porsche, one of his favorite car brand. After all of those crashes he had gone through in the movies (and who knows if he every crashed a car in real life), he just had to die in a car crash. One can always say that he achieved quite a lot in his life and affected a lot of people. But still, it was very sad to see him go.
And yet, I still find it very ironic how everything came about. Paul allegedly had shot about 80% of his part of Fast and Furious 7 before he died. In the first half of the movie, there is one scene where he stays at a friend’s house in the Domincan Republic with Mia. He is in a room / garage, where you can clearly see a Porsche 356 Speedster. I assume that it was actually him playing this scene and not one of his brothers and some CGI. But how ironic is it to show him with that classic Porsche. Okay, it isn’t a 550 Spyder, the car in which James Dean had his fatal crash in 1955, but it’s from the same decade. Both were young, successful and had a passion for cars.
His own collection
Paul Walker and Roger Rodas, Paul’s friend drove the Porsche Carrera GT into their fatal accident, shared ownership of a tuning garage called “AE Performance” – AE meaning “Always Evolving”. Paul was even wearing AE t-shirts in the Fast and Furious movies, most notably in Fast 5. Paul and Roger shared a great collection of cars, most of them obviously being performance cars. The garage is shown on Matt Farrah‘s YouTube channel “The Smoking Tire” on a video he posted in 2012. Back then Paul and Roger asked not to tell who owned the cars, but after both passed Matt edited the description box and added the info. You can watch it hear:
Speaking of Paul’s collection, Matt Farah mentions the Nissan Skyline GTR R34 and the Toyota Supra A80, both of which he drove in the the Fast and Furious franchise. Not these exact cars, but the models. Actually, the white Toyota Supra can be seen in the ending scene of Fast and Furious Seven, when Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner meet for the last time at an intersection in their Dodge Charger and Toyota Supra – not to say goodbye, but see you again:
Here’s the actual music clip of Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth:
People come, people go – everyone has to leave this planet one day. Whether Paul Walker left at the height of his life is not up to me to judge, but he certainly left at the height of his fame and popularity. In addition to that, there was never any celebrity drama around him, he didn’t seem to care about the Hollywood glamor that much and by building his own non-profit organization ROWW he seemed to be a very down to earth, authentic person. This is way I think he will be missed by a large number of people for many years to come.