LOS ANGELES — “Fast and Furious 7” on Monday began what could be an extended hiatus in the aftermath of the death of actor Paul Walker.
The Universal Pictures film was set to resume shooting in Atlanta after a holiday break — with Walker slated to appear in key scenes throughout the week — but the cameras stayed down. It is unknown when shooting will resume as filmmakers consider how to adjust the storyline.
Director James Wan, lead producer Neal Moritz and Universal executives have been convening to figure out how to recalibrate the movie without Walker, who shot only some of his scenes as ex-cop Brian O’Conner before he was killed in a car accident Saturday.
“Fast” veteran Chris Morgan wrote the script, which centers on rival racing crews; it is not yet clear whether he will be brought back to rework the movie’s plot. If it becomes protracted, the production delay could lead to a postponement of the film’s July 11 release date. The movie is an anchor of Universal’s summer schedule.
A Universal spokeswoman declined to comment on any delay or future plans.
Walker, who was 40 at the time of his death, had been a key part of the “Fast” franchise, starring in all but one of the global franchise’s series.
Meanwhile, the director of Walker’s previously shot “Hours” — the actor plays a man who must save his infant daughter during Hurricane Katrina — said he is pleased the film’s release schedule will move forward as planned on Dec. 13.
“Paul was so anxious to get the movie out into the world so that everyone could see what he’d done,” said Eric Heisserer, who also served as screenwriter on the $4-million production.
Heisserer, who spent the last month promoting the movie alongside Walker, told the Los Angeles Times that he has yet to discuss any shift in marketing plans with distributor Pantelion Films. But the filmmaker said that the tragedy has caused a change in mind set.
“I’m sure we’ll have to be very mindful — going over things four or five times making sure we are honoring him properly,” he said. “You don’t want to be insensitive.”