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On the Set of 'Fast & Furious'

Interview with 'Fast & Furious' Star Paul Walker

By Fred Topel

On the Set of 'Fast & Furious'

Paul Walker in 'Fast and Furious.'

© Universal Pictures
In a clearing under the hills of Stevenson Ranch, the latest Fast & Furious cars emerge from a tunnel. The other end of the tunnel was Mexico, but here we are in California. Movie magic. Out step Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and a new crew of bad guys. We were just a little too far away to hear the dialogue, but it involved Diesel slow clapping the villains and tough talking them in a buildup to the film's climax. Diesel would work on the scene for the rest of the night, but in between setups, we spoke to Walker, director Justin Lin and costar Laz Alonso about the reunion of the original Fast & Furious team.

Interview with Paul Walker

Where is Brian at the beginning of this one? How much time has it been since we last caught up with him?

Paul Walker: "It's been real time, so [when did] we do that? It's four years or so? Yeah, and so as opposed to being a cop, he's now a fed. He's a federal agent and yeah, he's just doing what he knows best - just putting one foot in front of the other. He doesn't have any real direction. He just thinks he's good at being a cop, and I think he has that moral fiber or whatever. He really wants to bust bad guys, you know? It's just like that's what makes him feel good about himself. He doesn't really know. He's just kind of going in the direction that he's always been in."

How quickly did this project come together from when you were offered it to when you were shooting?

Paul Walker: "Well, this came during the strike really. Vin was going to do it. It was just going to be just the Dominic Toretto story, and then he wanted me to be in it as well and so they took what they had and I guess they re-wrote it. And it was the right timing, I guess, for the studio. They wanted to make it right now? Nothing else is really going on and writers are on strike. They already had the screenplay, so they made the adjustments they needed to and we just kind of rocked into it and we've been fixing it as we've been going."

What can audiences expect that'll be different from the first two films that you were in?

Paul Walker: "I just look at this one as it's really the first true sequel. Vin and I [are] in the first one and it's kind of like, 'Okay, they're back together again finally.' The fans that I run into on the street are like…for years it was like, 'Oh when are you going to make another Fast and the Furious?' And then it was, 'Why wasn't Vin in the second one?' And now I know it's going to be, 'Where's Tyrese? Why wasn't Tyrese in this one?' But when I tell them, 'Yeah, Vin and I are back and are making another one,' people are pretty excited about it - the ones that care anyway."

Do you have a lot of car people coming up to you all the time trying to show you their cars?

Paul Walker: "Yeah, all the time. Well, just because I'm a car freak, right? And I'm on the boards and everything. E-46 fanatics and you name it. I'm always checking stuff out and I have a tuning shop in Orange County, you know, Autobahn Exotics and we make exhaust systems and we're the only distributor for Nova Tech body kits, which is like the best Ferrari body kit. So guys that are really in the car world know that I'm into cars. They come by the shop and they see like my mini collection."

With how into cars you are, do you bring any of your expertise to the film in suggesting anything for the cars?

Paul Walker: "Yeah, I'm the headache. I think Dennis [McCarthy] likes it, you know the picture car coordinator. We get along pretty well. Justin calls me asking me on just about everything. I've got a couple of my cars in the movie and I called BS on a couple of things and made them change it on the fly, but just because that's the realm I'm in. I deal with it, things that aren't accurate. I've got guys going, 'That was so bad.' I mean, I've got more pressure now than before."

Does your interest in accuracy mean you're more into making the stunts and the action more realistic?

Paul Walker: "Yeah, as they referred to it in the ones prior, it's more like a hyper-real. We had a lot of that in the first and the second one. You know, the big jump across the bridge, the car going into the boat. And Justin is more into the realism than I think other people may have been. So it's still always a compromise, you know? The shortest distance between two points is a straight line and that's what I argue all the time because everyone's into this whole drifting thing. Well, you drift for show, you straight-line it for dough, right? You want to get to the finish line, you drive straight. So I've been arguing with Justin, I was like, 'Hey, have those guys drifting and all that. Let me just cut the inside line and wow, just be on track.' He's like, 'Well, that doesn't look very good.' I said, 'Well in the beginning of the race then have me drift with them and then cut it.'"

How does it feel to have the original team back?

Paul Walker: "It's good. It's fun. It's good seeing Jordana [Brewster] again. I liked working with her the first time. She's married now. It's crazy because we were all little kids. I don't even know how old she was then, yeah, she’s married. Vin's the same. I love Michelle [Rodriguez]. We always had fun together. Unfortunately I don't really do anything with her. I've seen her around like twice. But, yeah, she's fun. She's so unpredictable, that girl. You never know what the hell she's going to say. She's gotten into a bit of trouble. I think she's misunderstood. The girl's got the biggest heart, man. She's such a sweetheart. She puts on this front of being like this big tough girl, but she has to kind of cover up what she's got going. She's just a real sweet girl."

Interview with Director Justin Lin - Interview with Laz Alonso

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