Replacing Paul Walker in scenes for “Fast & Furious 7” is taking three times as long as normal because of the laborious process that the directors have settled on.
They’re using Walker’s brothers Cody and Caleb to help fill in for Walker, who played the beloved Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious films. Caleb is being used primarily for body size and mannerisms while Cody is being used for the eyes.
But the filmmakers also needed to create a character that performs like Paul, not just looks like him, meaning they needed to bring in an actor.
A source told The Hollywood Reporter that Peter Jackson’s Weta set-up is tackling the effects work (there’s also computer-generated face replacement) using three cameras, in addition to the main-unit cameras.
“There is a massive amount of gear,” the source said. “Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a cluster[expletive] of money being spent.”
Director James Wan is also coming up with new scenes from unused footage Walker had shot for the last two Fast & Furious films.
The extensive camera work for the rest of O’Conner’s scenes has proven expensive, causing growing tension between Universal Pictures and its insurer Fireman’s Fund.
Insurance broker Brian Kingman estimates that the fund will have to pay more than $50 million on the film, which is now believed to have a final cost of $250 million or more.
“A spokesman for Fireman’s Fund declined comment, but in a 2012 discussion about the challenges of movie-business insurance, Fireman’s Fund entertainment underwriting director Wendy Diaz noted that delays alone can cost as much as $250,000 a day on a big- budget movie, adding up to ‘millions of dollars,'” reported THR.
There are questions over what percentage of the added costs must be paid by the insurer, which is being negotiated with the studio’s broker, Aon/Albert G. Ruben.
The film is due to hit theaters on April 10, 2015. Universal is believed to be planning for at least one more addition to the increasingly popular franchise after this film.