I found out yesterday that Paul Walker died in a horrific car crash.
I must admit, I was quite shocked when I heard the news. He played as Brian O'Conner, the ex-cop-turned-racer main character of almost all Fast Furious movies thus far (except Tokyo Drift). Walker's death currently puts production of Fast Furious 7 in jeopardy. (Though, I heard that production of Fast Furious 7 will still continue; they're just still trying to figure out how to deal with the half-completed movie without Walker's presence.)
That reminds me of other actors who also died when their characters are supposed to be still alive,
either during in-production of a movie, or as part of a long series of movies in which the character is not supposed to die yet, and how the producers tried to juggle the movie around to accommodate that.
For example, Bruce Lee. While he was working on his latest film, Game of Death, he received an offer by Warner Bros to be the star of a martial arts film, Enter the Dragon. So, he decided to put Game of Death on hold... However, as soon as Enter the Dragon was finished, he died. Dang. I've read about the postmortem production of Game of Death handled by other people, and it's utterly bizarre how these guys did to finish that movie based on the completed footage they have. One scene even included the actual dead body of Lee himself
, taken from footage of his funeral!
There's also that one infamous scene where a very obvious cardboard cutout of Lee's face was superimposed to a body double's head. The end result is a train-wreck mess of a movie where the only reason anyone would want to watch that movie is just for the Bruce Lee's fight scenes.
Natalie Wood. She had already largely acted in all of her major scenes in Douglas Trumbull's Brainstorm, also starring Christopher Walken as the leading role. When she died, MGM couldn't wait to shelve the almost-complete movie; the movie was saved from being shelved thanks to Lloyd's of London stepping in to provide money to Trumbull so he can finish that movie, using a body double for the few remaining scenes of Wood's character. Wood's death also ruined Trumbull's future career as a Hollywood director: after the arguments he had with MGM, he swore to never again work for Hollywood, having only directed two movies thus far.
Gloria Foster. She played as The Oracle in the first two Matrix films. However, she died before she could act in the third movie. This one is no-brainer: the producers simply hired Mary Alice to take over the role, and then incorporate The Oracle's changed appearance as part of the movie's plot. Problem solved!
Oliver Reed. Originally, Reed's character was supposed to survive throughout the entire Gladiator movie. Alas, a fatal heart attack changed that. How they were still able to finish that movie despite that actor's death is quite insane, to say the least. Reed was still able to act in a few more scenes, thanks to the magic of CGI. Just read the insane things the CGI team did to make it happen: www.thebigpicturedvd.net/bigre…
Heath Ledger. Production of The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus was still on the way when The Joker star died from drug overdose. So what did they do? The production team got creative; Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell all stepped in to provide as the character's changed appearances while in the Imaginarium. Surprisingly, it worked well for the magical theme of that movie, and it adds an extra layer to Ledger's character, who is supposed to be a manipulative bastard to begin with.
And now, our attention turned to Fast Furious 7. How will they try to finish that
movie now? Assuming that production of Fast Furious 7 is still on-going, I'm interested to see how the production team will be able to pull-off the massive feat of writing around Paul Walker's death, considering that it's a highly popular movie series and all, and because Fast Furious 6 ended with a sequel hook. As usual, rest in peace.
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