In this April 29, 2011 file photo, actor Paul Walker poses during the photo call of the movie "Fast and Furious 5," in Rome.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
LOS ANGELES — Universal Pictures has made it official: “Fast & Furious 7” is going on hiatus in the wake of the death of Paul Walker.
The studio released a statement Wednesday confirming that it won’t be resuming production on the movie’s Atlanta set for an undefined period.
“Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul’s immediate family and our extended ‘Fast & Furious’ family of cast, crew and filmmakers,” the studio said. “At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise.
It added, “We are committed to keeping ‘Fast & Furious’ fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker.”
James Wan’s automotive action film had been scheduled to resume shooting Monday with Walker after a holiday break, but the cameras had been dark since Walker’s death Saturday, as filmmakers tried to figure out their next steps.
Several options lie ahead for Universal, lead producer Neal Moritz and director James Wan, with questions they face including the extent to which the script should be reworked as well as the degree of Walker’s presence in the final film. The answers to those questions will determine the length of the delay, which in turn could affect when the film hits theaters.
A delay of a few weeks for smaller tweaks means the studio could conceivably still make its July 11 release date. But that date — a tight turnaround even without the tragedy — would be imperiled if the delay stretched longer than that. An extended hiatus could mean a push to the holidays or even 2015.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the coroner released a report on Walker’s death. According to the findings, Walker died both of injuries sustained during the crash of the Porsche he was traveling in as well as of injuries sustained during an ensuing fire. The report said he was dead within seconds of the car igniting.
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