I never met Paul Walker personally. As a fan of action movies, I came to know of his talent through his various films. He had a certain quality about his personality that always shown through on screen, whatever part he played. There was always a glimmer of the real Paul underneath the façade of the character. I’m sure the people closest to him would surely agree with that. No matter the character part, Paul was always in there. The man’s smile was infectious, and his charisma was nonchalant. Paul was the quintessential new millennium cool guy. The ladies loved his steely blue eyes, and the guys wanted to hang out with him.
Paul breathed a humanistic quality into the lungs of Brian O’Connor that could never be replaced by another actor. We’ve seen it happen before. An actor passes away and Hollywood quickly pours a new actor into the shoes of the existing character (see the Harry Potter movie series and the Matrix movie series for examples of this). It doesn’t always work out. If my very existence is an act, and my actor passes on, he could never be replaced. The very qualities that make me Ennis would pass with him, and could never be duplicated. This is the legacy that Paul left for Hollywood. You see, he was Brian O’Connor right up to the point of his passing. We can’t envision Brian disappearing for a few months, then reappearing in Costa Rica with a new tan, a slightly different physique and a new plastic surgery job. It just doesn’t work. Paul embodied Brian, and both will be missed. I do not know what Paul’s life was like outside of the big screen. As a fan of his work, I only saw glimpses of the man behind the character. From what I saw through the lenses of media, he lived out loud but had a big heart, like his character.
As a Christian man, I pray that, before their time came, Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were genuinely straight with the house of the Lord. Let us not forget how short and precious life really is. Today, social media reports circulate speculations that the Porsche driven by Roger was speeding in excess of 100mph at the time of impact. Roger also breathed his last breath in that horrific crash. Two lives were claimed in an instant; two souls have gone on to meet their maker. Two families are devastated by life imitating art. For one brief moment, the consequences of real life fast and furious activity are center stage for the world to consider. Isn’t life that way in general? We never know when our number will be called. We are never sure when our time is up. I can’t begin to imagine the realization of what might have been going through their minds a split second before eternity. I don’t want that on my conscience.
Paul, the actor, and Brian, the character, will be missed. He, or they, left not only a host of fans behind, but a family. In the wake of his passing, I’m personally left with a few lingering questions. I’m about to walk out my door to begin a new day. If today is my last day, have I lived out loud? Have I made an impact on lives? Am I really straight with God? I pray the answers are yes and amen.
Paul, thanks for the years of smiles. Thank you for your contributions to charities. Thank you for your quick wit and contagious smile. Thanks for the personality you brought to every character you played. Thanks for being you.