Fast and Furious 9 Vin Diesel: Paul Walker ‘was involved’ in hiring John Cena

Fast and Furious 9: John Cena stars in epic sequel

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Next month Dominic Toretto’s (Diesel) family is getting bigger with the arrival of Jakob Toretto (Cena). The two brothers have never been seen on screen together before and the upcoming Fast and Furious 9 – otherwise known as F9 – will explore their relationship. The character’s arrival is a huge part of the ongoing storyline and Diesel recently revealed he felt his late co-star Walker was the one who brought Cena to his attention.

Walker starred alongside Diesel in the first six Fast and Furious movies as Brian O’Conner.

However, during the filming of Furious 7 Walker was involved in a car crash in Santa Clarita, California.

On the afternoon of November 30, 2013, the car Walker was in hit a concrete lamp post, killing him and the driver of the vehicle, Roger Rodas.

Speaking in a press conference to promote the upcoming F9 movie, Diesel spoke about how his late friend helped him find Cena for the role: “I remember once we started getting closer to production, [director] Justin [Lin] and I would talk about how harrowing it would be to actually cast a new Toretto, the brother of Toretto.”

Diesel continued: “There’s so many different directions you could go. And I remember John Cena coming into this Dom Shrine that I had where I would kind of go to meditate and train and start getting into that Dom state of mind.

“And I remember John coming in and… call this crazy, but I remember feeling as though Pablo, Paul Walker, had sent him in.”

He added: “I remember talking to Justin that night and saying: ‘My gut and my heart feels like this was meant to be.’”

Diesel and Walker were extremely close off-screen as well as on-screen.

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Their friendship was obvious in various public outings and interviews promoting their flagship film franchise.

Shortly after Walker’s death, Diesel posted a photo of himself with his late friend alongside a quote from Scottish poet Thomas Campbell.

He wrote: “To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.”

The actor added: “Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now… and the profound impact your full life has had on it, on us… on me… I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were… on and off screen.”

Walker has not been forgotten, however. Director Lin recently spoke out about how Brian will be making a return to the franchise this year.

The actor died during the final filming stages of the Furious 7 movie, meaning his character Brian did not get a fitting send-off.

Instead, Brian simply removed himself from the criminal world, choosing to bring up his children instead.

Lin recently revealed: “The idea of Brian O’Connor still alive in this universe, it’s very impactful and it’s very important.”

Lin continued: “When we talk about Fast 9, this is the first time for me creatively approaching it not as just the one film.”

He added: “So in doing that I think there’s a lot of room to really place our characters, and Brian obviously is a big part of the universe still.

“I want to always be very respectful and how we present [Walker]. I think that [in] Nine, you will feel the presence of Brian, for sure.”

Fast 9 is due out in cinemas on May 19, 2021.


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