Paul Walker autopsy out as 'Fast and Furious 7' production shut down

In this film publicity still released by Universal Pictures, Paul Walker, as agent Brian O'Conner, leans against his Nissan Skyline GTR in a scene from ''Fast and Furious.'' ( (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood))
December 5, 2013 6:20:29 AM PST
Universal Pictures has shut down production on ''Fast &amp Furious 7'' indefinitely following the death of its star, Paul Walker.

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The studio announced Wednesday that the film will shut down "for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise."

The seventh installment of the street car racing series had begun shooting in September. While much of "Fast & Furious 7" has been filmed, it's far from complete.

When Walker died in a fiery car crash Saturday north of Los Angeles, the film was on break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Shooting had been planned to resume Monday in Atlanta, but production was put on hold following Walker's death.

Universal had been trying to fast-track "Fast & Furious 7" for a July 11 release, a date that's likely to be postponed. Universal hasn't yet announced any release date change.

"Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended 'Fast & Furious' family of cast, crew and filmmakers," the studio said in a statement.

Walker was killed by injuries from both the impact and subsequent fire when the high-powered Porsche driven by his friend crashed, according to autopsy results released Wednesday.

The actor died from the "combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries," according to the autopsy released by the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

At the wheel was Roger Rodas, Walker's friend, financial adviser and co-owner of a professional racing team. The two died when Rodas' 2005 Porsche Carrera GT smashed into a light pole and tree, then exploded in flames.

Sheriff's investigators were still trying to determine what caused Rodas to careen out of control. They have said speed was a factor in the one-car crash about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Rodas was killed by the impact alone, the doctor who performed the autopsy concluded. Results of toxicology testing for drugs or alcohol will take another six to eight weeks.

The limited-edition Porsche was previously owned by IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, who has said it was difficult to drive. It is not just fast - it can hit 100 mph in less than 7 seconds - but also unforgiving in its handling.

Walker starred in all but one installment of the "Fast & Furious" franchise, which has been particularly lucrative for Universal. "Fast & Furious 6," released in May, was the highest grossing film in the series, earning more than $788 million worldwide.

Universal announced Tuesday that it will donate a portion of the proceeds from the upcoming DVD, Blu-ray and digital release of "Fast & Furious 6" to Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide.

Walker, 40, founded Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to give first-response aid to victims of natural disasters. Walker was hosting a fundraiser for the nonprofit on Saturday afternoon before the crash.

Fatherhood inspired 1 of Paul Walker's final roles

Before his death, "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker was drawing parallels between his real-life role as dad to 15-year-old daughter Meadow Walker and his part as an unexpected father to a newborn baby in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama "Hours."

"I think it definitely helps to have a daughter, but I think if you're a human being and you have love in your heart, you're going to find connective fibers in this," Walker said in a Nov. 14 interview with The Associated Press to promote the film. "There's definitely a purity and a truth to it."

"Hours" stars Walker and Genesis Rodriguez as a couple who rush to a New Orleans hospital after Rodriguez's character goes into early labor. When the hurricane hits the city, Walker's character finds himself stranded in an evacuated hospital with his ailing newborn daughter.

"My baby wasn't planned," Walker said. "I wasn't married, out of wedlock, the whole bit. (I was) finding my step with it. I'm still finding my step. I think you always are. I'm five times the father that I was five years ago. Your head's more in it. Your heart's more in it. You can't force it. You want to be better at it, just something hasn't clicked yet."

Walker and his friend and fellow fast-car enthusiast Roger Rodas had taken what was expected to be a brief drive away from a charity fundraiser and toy drive at Rodas' custom car shop in the Southern California community of Valencia.

Lionsgate's Pantelion Films is set to release "Hours" on Dec. 13. Walker also stars in "Brick Mansions," a remake of the French action film "District B13" that Relativity plans to release next year.

"We're not always our best, but so long as it's two steps forward to every one step back, you keep going," Walker said about his character in "Hours."

"You're all right. Maybe it's two steps back every once in a while, but we get back up. It's that momentum. We try to sustain it, keep it rolling."

More on Paul Walker Autopsy

The Los Angeles County coroner's office released autopsy results on Wednesday detailing Paul Walker's cause of death.

According to the autopsy report, which was completed on Tuesday, Walker died from "combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries." The driver, Roger Rodas, died of "multiple traumatic injuries." Both deaths have been ruled by the coroner to be accidents.

Walker, 40, and his friend, Rodas, died in a fatal car crash on Nov. 30 near Rye Canyon Loop and Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia, north of Los Angeles. The crash took place around 3:30 p.m. and Walker had just attended a car and toy drive event in the area.

"It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide," read a statement on the actor's official Facebook page on Nov. 30. "He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news."

The actor's spokesperson had also confirmed the actor's death to OTRC.com. Rodas, Walker's friend and business partner, was later identified as the driver who was killed in the accident along with Walker.

Walker is survived by a 15-year-old daughter, Meadow Rain, who is from a past relationship.

Walker's longtime co-star and friend, Vin Diesel, (showed up at the late actor's crash site memorial on Monday, Dec. 2 to thanks fans for their support. "If my brother were here right now and he saw all the love that you were bringing here, if he could see for himself that all of you have showed up to show my brother love at this hard time and the family gets to see all of the love you have shown Paul, it's gonna stay with me forever," Diesel said.

On Dec. 1, just one day after Walker's accident, Walker's other former co-star, Tyrese, visited the crash site memorial, where he appeared visibly emotional as he mourned the loss of his friend (see video).

Paul Walker Sr., Walker's father, spoke to OTRC.com's parent company, KABC Televison, on Dec. 2, where he recalled many of his fondest memories of his late son.

"You lost a spirit," Paul's father said. "Maybe it's meant to be this way. I'm devastated and it comes in waves."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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