One unexpected story in the saga of the making of Universal's seventh "Fast and Furious" film was a report last week which suggested the film's star Vin Diesel had recently been acting out of character on set - voicing his unhappiness with the film's current state, and holing himself up for a day and a half in his trailer.
Universal quickly responded, saying: "This production is working through some challenges that are historically unprecedented. The crew and cast, led by Vin, have been nothing but terrific under these circumstances."
Diesel has now released a statement of sorts on his Facebook, along with another set photo of himself with the late Paul Walker. Whilst most of it talks about his love and respect for Walker, a part of it tries to explain the seeming friction on the set right now. Here's the posting:
"There wasn't a scene in the saga he didn't want to discuss, improve... even with just a changing of a line or adding a specific nuance to enrich a moment.
He did it with the pride of knowing, that over a decade of portraying Brian, through four directors, multiple writers and new producers he was able to maintain the inner core of the character he created. Those work ethics and drive to be both truthful, and in his own way, evolve the decade spanning character is what made his character as iconic as it has become.
He always knew I would fight for him… whether it was to protect his deal or to protect his integrity… and he knew that if it made for a better film, I was going to do whatever it took… it is why together, we won best duo... twice, 12 years apart.
With our new ambitious vfx team, the whole cast and crew has had to adjust to this awkward and uncomfortable process of pixels over people. Aside from the obvious strains it places on the director, the challenge is not to allow it to compromise what makes the character so special."
Complex visual effects work, like what is being done with Walker's character, always slows down production - especially in this case due to the already demanding nature of the film. Combine that with director James Wan's relative inexperience with effects on this sort of a scale, and an entire production team still getting over the loss of one of their own, it seems inevitable that tension boils over at times.