by Marc Burrage
On Sunday, I woke to the tragic news that Paul Walker had lost his life in a car accident, and for the first time in my life, I cried over the death of an actor. Not someone I knew personally, but someone that I had a great amount of respect for. I didn't realise just how much until the news of his passing, and I suspect many people have come to realise the same thing.
Back in 2001, when I was just 18, I took my first ever date to the cinema. Being just about as naive as you can get, for some inexplicable reason I took her to see "The Fast and the Furious" - the only defence I can muster to this day is our local cinema had 2 screens, so my choice was limited. Even so, it was a bizarre choice for a date who was clearly more at home with period dramas, but to her credit, she turned up and sat through the whole thing, due largely, I imagine, to the annoyingly pretty Paul Walker. These suspicions are based mainly on her first comment upon exiting the cinema - "Wow that guy was fit.". Not words a gangly, unconfident teenager wants to hear about someone other than themselves. But I couldn't argue - the guy was well put together. More than that, he seemed to be naturally confident without letting it even approach arrogance.
Over the course of the next 12 years, I eagerly awaited the next entries in the Fast & Furious franchise. I still argue that 2 Fast 2 Furious is the most underrated of the series, but will happily admit that Tokyo Drift was cinematic poo poo. And Fast Five is in my top 5 films of all time. ALL TIME. I'll understand if you never read one of my blogs again... At the heart of those opinions? Paul Walker. I was a late attendee of film appreciation, but my arrival coincides with Walker's - no other actor working today was so happy just being who he was. He didn't need to act in any of his films - he was Paul Walker with a different job and a different name. And that's no insult - the guy could act without trying because he didn't need to be anyone else. His natural persona was entertaining, something so rare in Hollywood it's easy to see why the outpouring of grief is without ridicule or snide comment.
Young actors today could learn so much from Paul Walker - be who you are, be proud of it, and stick to what you're good at. Paul took the phrase "typecast" and made it cool again. You don't need to have ticked every box - you need to have ticked one box so damn well that other people are scared to go near it. That's why it's such a damn shame that he was taken from us so early. RIP Paul Walker. You inspired more people than I think you realised.