The Fast and the Furious is the most successful car-movie franchise of all time and is a cultural phenomenon among young enthusiasts. For star Paul Walker, it has brought fame and enough fortune to amass a serious car collection. We spoke with him ahead of the opening of the sixth installment, Fast & Furious 6.
Automobile Magazine: How did you get involved with The Fast and the Furious?
Paul Walker: I was working on a movie called The Skulls. The studio, producer, and director asked, “What do you want to do next?” I said, “I want to do a movie where I’m racing cars or I’m an undercover cop.” They combined the two and that’s how The Fast and the Furious came to be. It wasn’t that dynamic: racing in a straight line. We didn’t realize just how big it was. Now it’s not just a car movie. It’s a heist movie. It’s an action movie. I jokingly ask, “Where else is there to go?” Unless our cars start turning into robots…
AM: Are you happy with the way the series has evolved?
PW: It’s bittersweet for me. I don’t think we’d be where we are if it weren’t for minds like [director] Justin Lin and dedication from people like [co-star] Vin [Diesel]. But, being a car guy, I always want things to be more authentic. When it comes to the driving, at this point we stretch what’s plausible, and I struggle with it. I feel like we owe a lot to the guys that are really into street racing, and it’s important to me to maintain integrity and credibility. They’re the bullshit police.
AM: What in Fast & Furious 6 will keep them happy?
PW: We have vintage cars that, because we filmed in London, a lotof the world hasn’t seen. We have a Ford Cosworth Escort that I drive in the major action sequences. It’s a cool, quirky little car — Smurf blue, white racing stripes. I like the dynamic of heel/toe. To me, that’s a lost art. Driving that little Escort, I got to do it again. They don’t let me do the big jumps, but, man, I can put it through the gears and rev-match with the best of them.
AM: Would you really jump a car if you could?
PW: No nonsense and this isn’t me just blowing smoke — I want to jump the damn car.
AM: What’s in the Walker garage?
PW: A ’67 Nova that Year One built, a ’64 Impala, a ’64 Malibu, a ’64 Chevelle two-door wagon, a ’64 Nova wagon, a ’67 Nova wagon. I really want a double-nickel Chevy; that’s coming soon. I’ve also been collecting BMWs. Remember the lightweight E36 M3? BMW brought sixty of them to the States, and I have seven of them. I have a Porsche GT3 RS 3.8. I’m on my fourth or fifth R34 Nissan Skyline.
AM: What’s next for you?
PW: I feel like I’m at a crossroads. Things started taking off for me when I was pretty young, and I’m still trying to make sense of the whole thing. Now I’m at a place where the franchise wouldn’t let me go, and, you know, it’s fun to come back and just go play around and have fun and drive cars.
We fully expect to see Walker in Fast & Furious 7, 8, 9, and 10. (He wasn’t in Tokyo Drift.)