A ‘Fu­ri­ous 7’ fan frenzy

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - — Saba Hamedy

Thou­sands of fans turned up at Hol­ly­wood’s TCL Chi­nese Theatre to see Vin Diesel, Michelle Ro­driguez, Lu­dacris and other fa­vorite stars at the Wed­nes­day pre­miere of “Fu­ri­ous 7.” Fan loy­alty and cast bonds deep­ened when Paul Walker was killed in a car ac­ci­dent in late 2013, mid­way through pro­duc­tion on “Fu­ri­ous 7.” Some of Walker’s scenes were com­pleted with the aid of spe­cial ef­fects. His broth­ers Cody and Caleb also acted as stand-ins. Diesel ap­proached fans across the street to sign some au­to­graphs and take self­ies as screams from the crowd echoed across the street. In­stead of a red car­pet, celebri­ties walked down a black car­pet re­sem­bling a race path.

In­side the theater, pro­ducer Neal Moritz, who has stayed with the fran­chise since the be­gin­ning, took the op­por­tu­nity to re­mem­ber and honor Walker’s mem­ory and thank ev­ery­one in­volved with the fran­chise. “We know Paul is smil­ing down on all of us right now,” Moritz said. “We love you dearly, Paul. And you will al­ways be part of all of us.” Af­ter a brief pause and a sigh, Diesel said to the au­di­ence, “This movie is more than a movie. You’ll feel it when you see it.”

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