Why the Astronomical Success of Furious 7 Should be the Blueprint for Hollywood
Universal Studios asked Paul Walker what he wanted to do next after he proved his worth by eclipsing the star power of designated ingenue, Joshua Jackson in The Skulls. It was obvious that Walker, who by then had paid his dues as a child actor, was a million dollar baby, and the studio honchos were desperate to propel their latest discovery.
Who could blame them? Tall, blond, and handsome with a heart of gold, the California-bred surfer was too good to be true but it became quickly apparent that he was in fact willingly to play the game – with one major requirement. He had to remain in the driver’s seat.
Yep! Paul Walker was offered a million dollars to play Superman but turned it down because he was suffocating under the latex and knew he couldn’t live up to the mandated expectations. He wasn’t Superman. He was Brian O’Conner, a role that he dreamed up when Universal approached him with the hopes that they could keep him on their roster. Their wish came true.
Walker had always been obsessed with cars and racing, thank to his paternal grandfather, who he always dutifully hailed as his inspiration. Paul Walker II was not only a renowned boxer, but he also had a deep affinity for speed and he ended up test-driving cars for Ford back in the 60’s. He broke records during his run, and even though his son Paul Walker III didn’t gain that momentum, his grandson, Paul William Walker IV more than made up for it.
So, basically, Fast and Furious came to be because Walker wanted to play a badass cop who is assigned to infiltrate a community of illegal racecar drivers in Los Angeles.
His idea was justified by a newspaper clipping that proved that his perceptions, and a couple of years later, The Fast and Furious made its debut. Its reception back in 2001 was impressive enough but nobody could have fathomed that 14 years later, we would be celebrating the franchise’s billion-dollar initiation.
But then again, nobody imagined that Walker would perish in a car crash at the age of 40 while filming the seventh installment. It was a tragic and unexpected blow that should have stripped the dynasty of all its jewels, but remarkably the opposite occurred,
The stage was set back in 2011, when Fast Five made landfall. We got a first-class education in what it entails to be part of Dom Torreto’s elite posse. The gang came together and turned Rio de Janeiro inside out. That was the moment The Fast franchise truly resurrected and we all pledged our allegiance.
When you have that much invested, you can’t walk away when shit hits the fan. That sums up why Furious 7 is the global phenomenon it has become. Paul Walker’s passing certainly boosted the appeal but more than anything, fans around the world felt emotionally obligated to pay homage to a fallen star who was an integral part of a family whose branches spans beyond reason.
A year ago, most would have balked at the idea that the Fast and Furious franchise would bring the box office to it’s knees, especially given the fact that none of the cast members are necessarily revered for their acting prowess. But now, we are forced to accept the reality of things.
You need a winning formula to win over the world. Shakespearean and methodical extracts will not garner you the recognition that every performer craves. You can be a surfer dude with geek-like tendencies, and streaked-out blonde hair, and be obsessed with the ocean and earth science, while commanding global attention.
Okay, Paul Walker was no ordinary guy. He was more beautiful than Adonis, and that undoubtedly helped heighten his star power, but what ultimately won us over was the fact that he was actually more gorgeous on the inside. This is a guy who could have easily slept with multiple starlets and lazily regulated his existence to afternoons at the Chateau Marmont while boringly holding court with industry executives. But he was the exact opposite. He was doing undercover work in the non-profit sector while also lending his time to saving ocean life. Too good to be true? Pretty much.
An idea based on an ingrown passion and newspaper clipping was nurtured and enhanced and now the rewards are beyond reason. Yes, we went to see how director James Wan purified the shredded remnants to create a gem. It took a village to bring Paul Walker to life, and the results are staggering and historical. Never again, will we relish this level of response when a revered idol violently leaves us.
Hollywood, break out your note pads. Diversity matters, so does loyalty and faith.
The Fast franchise never took its fans for granted and that consistency has paid off.
We love to mock the films that don’t showcase heavy matter, but sometimes, the best stories are simply rendered. Hats off to the film of my generation for celebrating the human spirit and redefining the rebel without a cause.
And props to Paul Walker for innocently conceiving an idea that will forever remain cemented in cinematic history.
Like they say, it’s the little things…