fast and furious 7 paul walker replaced

After much deliberation, the filmmakers of Fast & Furious 7 announced in January that they would deal with star Paul Walker‘s death by “retiring” his character Brian O’Conner. But that still left a lot of questions about how, exactly, they’d turn Walker’s half-completed performance into a full one. Now a new report offers the unsurprising answer: through the judicious use of CGI and body doubles. Get the details after the jump.

The New York Daily News got the scoop on Universal’s plans. “They have hired four actors with bodies very similar to Paul’s physique and they will be used for movement and as a base,” said a source. “Paul’s face and voice will be used on top using CGI.”

Production on the action sequel is set to resume next month, after going on hiatus following Walker’s death in a car accident on November 30. The timing of his death left filmmakers in an especially awkward spot as he had shot roughly half his scenes.

Speculation on how Universal would proceed abounded in the wake of his death. One early report indicated that the studio was thinking of scrapping the movie entirely and starting over. Another suggested that Walker’s younger brother Cody Walker could be used as a stand-in.

Ultimately, the filmmakers decided to retire, rather than kill off, Brian O’Conner. The script was revised so that previously shot footage could still be used, while new scenes would explain O’Conner’s new direction. But all the frantic rewriting and careful editing in the world can’t magically conjure up an actor who wasn’t there, so CGI and body doubles will be used to fill in some of the gaps.

How that approach will work in the film remains to be seen. Other movies have pulled it off successfully, but the task will be made extra tricky by the fact that Walker still had a lot of key scenes left to shoot. If director James Wan and his team are able to pull it off, though, we could be in for a lovely and appropriate send-off to a beloved actor.

Fast & Furious 7 opens April 10, 2015.

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