WOULDA, COULDA, SHOULDA: My Obituary for Paul Walker
December 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
When a celebrity dies, the whole world mourns, to some extent. Sure, there are plenty of people who hear “Holy shit, Paul Walker died!” and go “Who’s that? A Facebook friend?” but most of us know exactly who I am talking about. A moral, ethical human being, a loving father, a good friend, a philanthropist, a science enthusiast and an actor who was fun as hell to watch on the screen, big or small. My favorite Paul Walker movie is “Running Scared”, because his Joey Gazelle was a family man first, whose concern for the children was what ultimately fueled him throughout the film. There were controversial elements to the story and it floundered at the box office. But for those who bothered to watch, it was a brilliantly subtle and inventive modern parable on the Grimm fairy tales. Paul was in a position at that time to pick any script he wanted. He chose ‘Running Scared’. It was as avant garde an action movie as they come. He was anything by cardboard or bland or pretty in this movie. So when people look back and just see an action star, as far as his on screen persona was concerned, I challenge them to see out the lesser known films in this man’s tragically short filmography to see that he was every bit the versatile chameleon of an actor as anybody could be. He took a back seat to Vin Diesel and The Rock in the latter “Fast and Furious” films, but word was that his character’s prominence was being resurrected in the latest installment. It’s a shame we won’t see this version, but no doubt to one where they have to cut to someone getting a phone call about his off-screen death, which will be handled as delicately as possible. We will see real tears shed on the screen. Ominous, since the seventh Fast and Furious film focuses on the fictional cinematic death of Sung Kang’s character at the hands of Jason Statham’s villain. This was supposed to be an expansion and celebration of the unlikeliest success story in film franchise history. Instead, this will likely represent a very bitter and unexpected conclusion. I’m not mourning the loss of a frivolous action movie franchise. I am going to mourn the loss of life in such a public manner that his friends must grieve in concert with people like myself, who only knew Paul Walker as he was on the screen, after the make up, the special effects, the editing and the promotion. He was and is a very real person and I feel his loss as a human being first, a movie fan second.
Rest In Peace, Paul.