The budget for “Fast & Furious 7” is set to reach as high as $250 million, as the delayed production and special effects needed to accommodate the sudden death of series star Paul Walker last year have proven considerably costlier than filmmakers initially estimated.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that the “Fast 7” production could make the biggest insurance claim in film history — approximately $50 million — following Walker’s death last November. Already budgeted at around $200 million, the flick will easily surpass that amount, THR writes, and is expected to eventually cost in the $250 million range, thanks in part to the amount of special effects that are required to complete the scenes still earmarked for Walker.
“They are finishing the film more or less as scripted, replacing Paul with [computer-generated] face replacement,” a source told THR. “They have two of Paul’s brothers as well as an actor to ‘play’ Paul when needed.”
The trade added:
The Walker brothers, 25-year-old Cody and 36-year-old Caleb, both are helping fill in for their brother physically — Caleb primarily for body size and mannerisms and Cody for the eyes. But the filmmakers need to create a character that not only looks like Paul but also performs like him. That’s the actor’s job. Peter Jackson‘s Weta is tackling the effects work using three cameras (in addition to the main-unit cameras) to capture Walker’s stand-ins for face replacement. “There is a massive amount of gear,” reports the source. “Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a clusterf— of money being spent.” Director James Wan also will come up with new scenes from unused footage Walker had shot for the previous two Fast & Furious films.
That certainly seems like an ambitious — and expensive — undertaking, and THR reports that Universal’s insurer, Fireman’s Fund, isn’t exactly pleased with the production’s hefty insurance claim. Still, the studio is expecting a positive outcome from its claim, which includes costs associated with the production’s four-month delay following Walker’s death and the extra salary allotted to “Fast”‘s stars and staff to keep them on for a longer shoot.
For more on the pricey shoot — and some background on similar insurance claims following deaths during other film productions — check out the entire story over at THR.