After a long hiatus following the tragic death of Paul Walker in November, production on Fast & Furious 7 resumed at the end of March. The Hollywood Reporter has new details on the shoot, including the techniques being used to replace Paul Walker, and how the budget has escalated to $250 million, from a projected $200 million.
The site reports that Universal Pictures and its insurance company, Fireman's Fund, have been at odds over what will be a record-breaking insurance claim that could exceed $50 million due to the lengthy production delay and the new 13-week shoot, which is expected to conclude in July, culminating with, "an enormous crowd scene" that will use over 600 extras in the the city of Rosamond, California.
An unidentified insider confirming a report from April that Paul Walker's brothers, Cody Walker and Caleb Walker, will be used as stand-ins, with the special effects team digitally adding Paul Walker's face in post-production. Here's what an unidentified insider had to say, revealing that there weren't too many changes made to the story.
"They are finishing the film more or less as scripted, replacing Paul with [computer-generated] face replacement. They have two of Paul's brothers as well as an actor to 'play' Paul when needed. There is a massive amount of gear. Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a clusterf--- of money being spent."
While a Fireman's Fund representative refused to comment, the company's underwriting director Wendy Diaz revealed in a 2012 discussion about the challenges of the movie insurance business, that delays could cost upwards of $250,000 per day, adding up to millions of dollars. The Fast & Furious 7 shoot was initially set to wrap in January, before Paul Walker's death, but now production will be complete in July, which required the production to pay cast members such as Vin Diesel more money to secure them for a longer shoot.
Fireman's Fund does not have to pay the entire cost of finishing the movie, since Universal is still required to pay what the movie would have initially cost, had Paul Walker's fatal car accident not occurred. However, there is a dispute between the insurance company, the studio and producer Neal H. Moritz about exactly what was left to be filmed after the actor's death, and how much of the ongoing work was necessitated by his passing. A Universal Pictures spokesperson denied any tension between the studio and insurance company, stating they have been, "nothing but supportive."
Fast & Furious 7 resumed production this April in Atlanta, with the shoot moving to Abu Dhabi for a week before shifting to Southern California, where they recently shot at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu.
The $50 million insurance settlement would shatter the previous record of a major franchise film, set by Iron Man 3, when production was delayed for three weeks in August 2012 after star Robert Downey Jr. broke his ankle. That settlement was between $10 and $15 million. A $20 million settlement was paid to Carloco for Wagons East, after John Candy passed away during the production in 1994.