Jonathan Melville: The show must go on without the star . .

Paul Walker. Pic: PA
Paul Walker. Pic: PA
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THE show must go on, as the old adage has it - something Hollywood is acutely aware of this week following the tragic death of Fast & Furious star, Paul Walker, in a car accident.

Walker played Brian O’Conner in the blockbuster franchise, a set of films which defined movie car chases for a generation of cinema-goers.

Fans of the franchise were eagerly awaiting the seventh instalment in 2014, a release date that will almost certainly be pushed back while rewrites and reshoots take place.

This isn’t the first time an actor’s death has demanded that changes be made to a film currently in production, the situation sometimes calling for innovative solutions.

Kung-Fu legend Bruce Lee was filming Game of Death in 1972 when he was given permission to make the classic Enter the Dragon, only to die suddenly soon after the latter was completed. This left Game of Death unfinished, though director Robert Clouse did controversially release the film using a Bruce Lee lookalike.

Lee’s son, Brandon, also met a tragic end while filming 1994’s The Crow, when a loaded gun was used on set during a scene. Lee’s performance was completed using digital effects.

It was back in 2008 that Australian actor, Heath Ledger, died due to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. He was in the midst of shooting Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time, necessitating the casting of Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to take his place in fantasy sequences.

It remains to be seen how the producers of Fast & Furious 7 will deal with real-life events, but the likelihood is that O’Conner will be given the fitting tribute his fans around the globe expect.

@jon_melville

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