By Daniel Shane
Abu Dhabi-backed Hollywood blockbuster in limbo after death of actor Paul Walker
Production of Fast & Furious 7, the US blockbuster backed by Abu Dhabi, is likely to be delayed after leading man Paul Walker was killed in a car crash on Saturday.
The latest instalment in the franchise, which has so far amassed Universal Studios $2.3bn in box office receipts, had been scheduled for release on July 11 next year.
Forty-year old Walker died after the driver of the Porsche he was travelling back from a charity event in lost control and hit a lamppost.
Filming had been taking place in Los Angeles and Atlanta, while shooting had been expected to move to the UAE capital early next year, as part of a rebate scheme which offers to reimburse 30 percent of costs for films shot there.
Universal has not released an official statement on whether the project will be postponed, but producer Neal Moritz told US celebrity news website TMZ that the movie was currently on hold.
In a statement, Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of Abu Dhabi-based production hub Twofour54, where Fast & Furious 7 was due to be shot, expressed remorse over Walker’s death. “We are very sad to learn that actor Paul Walker has died tragically after an accident while attending a charity event for his organisation Reach Out Worldwide,” she said.
“Paul Walker was well-known for his role in the famous The Fast and the Furious franchise and we had been looking forward to welcoming him to Abu Dhabi next month for filming of The Fast and the Furious 7. Our thoughts are with Paul Walker’s family and with The Fast and The Furious cast and crew at this difficult time.”