After the death Saturday of Paul Walker, one of the stars of the "Fast and the Furious" movies, in a single-car crash in Valencia, Calif., producers of the mega-franchise’s latest installment, "Fast & Furious 7," are considering scrapping the entire film and starting over, TheWrap.com reports.
An insider told the website that the cost of such a move is not critical to the decision, because the studio is insured for the loss.
"The nearly $200 million-budget production has been frozen in its tracks since the tragic death of Walker, one of the lead actors in the film, on Saturday. The production is more than halfway finished, but many of Walker’s key scenes remained to be shot," the story reports.
The piece, which cites two inside sources, adds: "Universal Pictures, the producers and director James Wan have been in constant consultation this week to decide on different options, according to an individual with knowledge of the conversations. Because the studio is insured for unexpected losses such as this one, the cost of scrapping the production is not a central factor. The studio would likely be made whole on that cost."
Starting over is reportedly one option that’s on the table, with a key question being whether Walker’s work would be included in a new version of the movie.
"One individual said they were considering making the movie without Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner. But another individual said that option was not under consideration," the article reports.
Along with Walker, recent installments in the franchise have starred Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.
"The studio and producers have not yet made the decision to start over, and a final verdict on the direction of the project is still days away, according to the insider," TheWrap reports. "Another insider said that a decision is more likely to take weeks. Both stressed that the studio, producers and directors wanted to get the movie right and not rush a decision."
“Fast & Furious 6,” released earlier this year, made about $800 million in worldwide box office.
"The main concern, the second insider said, is to preserve the integrity of the franchise, which drives hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the studio," the story reports. "Producers want to be careful not to force the movie to conform to the original cast just for the sake of preserving Walker’s scenes. Another insider said it would be hard to envision the film not including a storyline around Walker’s character, O’Conner."
The studio would not comment, the piece notes.