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Paul Walker Talks About 'Fast and Furious'

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Paul Walker in Fast and Furious

Paul Walker in 'Fast and Furious.'

© Universal Pictures
Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster reunite for Fast and Furious, the fourth film of the high-octane franchise. The foursome first got together in the original 2001 The Fast and the Furious film, then Walker showed up for the first sequel, and Diesel did a cameo in the third movie of series. But it's not until this fourth Fast movie that the original stars are all back in place. Now almost a decade later (Walker says it's okay to round it up to a decade), we finally get to catch up on what's been keeping Brian (Walker), Dom (Diesel), Letty (Michelle) and Mia (Brewster) busy since The Fast and the Furious first sped into theaters.

At the LA press day for Universal Pictures' Fast and Furious, Walker joked about what took so long for the four original stars to return for another Fast movie. "Timing. Crucially, right? Writers’ strike…not a lot of work," said Walker, laughing. "Everyone was available to come back and make really the first true sequel. And, you know, there’s never a guarantee of what you’re about to go make, especially when you’re hoping to make a commercial movie. But there’s really an audience for it. Well, Universal does their marketing research and they know what they can sell, what there’s still an interest for, and what there isn’t. And they said, 'Hey, this is a go deal.' And why not? I’ll come back, hang out with some friends. What else am I doing right now? I’d taken some time away. And like I said, I want to get back and work, and just have fun again."

That didn't mean Walker wasn't initially leery of playing Brian once more. "My biggest question was, 'Do people still really want to see this?' That was the biggest one for me. It’s 10 years later - well, just about."

No doubt there's an audience for this type of film as proven by the fact all three Fast movies did well at the box office, yet Walker didn't jump in with both feet as soon as the idea of a fourth film reuniting the original stars was tossed out there. "There’s still a degree of reluctance – you know, hesitation," recalled Walker. "You know, been there, done that. A couple years ago I probably would have been like, 'Ah, I don’t know if I want to do it.' But I’m a little older [and] I like to think a little wiser. And I realized that everyone should be so lucky to have a franchise that spans eight years, you know? 'Hell with it. I’m gonna come back and make another one, and I’m gonna smile the whole time.'"

That said, Walker might consider coming back for one more movie if the script is good. He's not contracted to do another Fast film, but he knows that it's possible the studio will want a fifth film out of the action-heavy franchise. "It’s beyond rumors at this point. Like, I’ve spoken with executives at Universal and they’re like…they’re pretty serious about it. They’re developing it. They know where they want it to take place. They want to do it in Europe."

Asked point blank if he would want to do yet another sequel, Walker replied, "I don’t know. I’d really want everyone to put due diligence – really put time into it. I don’t think it’d be too hard to make the very best one yet. I don’t think 'the best one yet' has been made yet. If we were to go make a fifth one, that would be the best one - in my mind. Otherwise, let’s not do it."

As for what makes this one special and what should attract audiences, Walker believes Fast and Furious really harkens back to the tone of the original The Fast and the Furious. "I think the first one had the most heart, in the sense where, I don’t know, I just like what Dominic Toretto created, a family. They’re basically just a bunch of street kids that have this common interest, which is cars. It was either that or gangs, right? These guys would have probably ended up in a lot of trouble," said Walker. "They all found something they were passionate about, that they liked. And Brian, of course, comes along and screws it all up. But this is going back to that, you know? Family. I think that’s what the other ones are missing. The second one was a lot of fun, but I don’t know that the second one had the heart that the first one had. I think the first one had the most heart."

All three prior Fast films are loaded with action scenes and white-knuckle car chases, and the fourth film doesn't slack off in the action department. And while Walker's not ready to slow down as far as getting physical in films goes, he had to refrain from doing a lot of his own stunts in this film due to insurance issues – something which left him a little upset.

"I love doing action. I’m still just a big kid. My favorite days are the days I get to show up, when I’m making a movie like this, I want to run and jump, and blast dudes around. Hop over fences. That was the first week for me on this one," said Walker. "For the first week, I was the only returning actor that showed up every day. It was great. I got to come in, got to know Justin [Lin] real well. Got to get real friendly with the crew, get real comfortable, find my zone. Then Vin popped in, then Jordana popped in. I really liked the way this one started out. It was fun. But the action – you make Fast and the Furious to go run around and have a good time. The second they take that away from me, which they did a lot of in this one, I get real angry. All the driving stuff. Because the first one, the insurance policies weren’t too high. But nowadays, forget about it."

And speaking of Justin Lin, Walker had nothing but good things to say about the director of Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious. "He’s a really good guy," said Walker. "He’s just cool. I like him a lot, a really good person. To me, that guy is the American dream. His parents immigrated here. Worked really, really hard. His father has a fried chicken outfit. Never missed a single day at work in more than 35 years. Working with greasy chicken, every day. And Justin went through school, got good grades, made it into UCLA film school, rolled the dice on himself, maxed out his credit cards. Now he’s making big studio movies. And he’s got a great attitude."

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Fast and Furious hits theaters on April 3, 2009.

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