Tyrese Gibson is looking back on the filming of Furious 7 as "beautiful, inspirational and painful" as the Fast & Furious franchise prepares to release its ninth installment, coined F9, on June 25. In a new episode of EW'S BINGE: The Fast Saga, the actor who plays Roman Pearce recalled how difficult it was to film Furious 7 after the death of co-star Paul Walker in a car crash during a break from filming before the film's release in 2015.
"I have more bad memories than good, because all of the fun and all of the magic that we had going before Paul Walker's untimely death, the trauma of losing him superseded all of that," Gibson admitted of the movie. "Once Furious 7 came out, it was hard to watch. So I definitely don't have that one on repeat."
Walker's tragic death at just age 40 came when the car he was a passenger in crashed on the way back from a charity event. Production for Furious 7 was put on indefinite hold as the cast and crew mourned their friend and co-star while also figuring out if the movie should go forward with production at all. "The first thing all of us were struggling with was, 'What the hell are we doing here? What's Fast & Furious without Paul?'" recalled Gibson. "And are we going to come off as just a bunch of narcissists that's moving and proceeding and deciding what Paul meant to the franchise, and going to say, 'We're moving forward anyway.'"
The group had to "become each other's therapist," he explained, because grieving in such a public way brings out "everybody" as opposed to the "people that knew [Walker] the most." In the end, Furious 7 did move forward and ended up being completed with an emotional tribute to Walker and his character. Michelle Rodriguez previously told BINGE it was a "special" experience filming the seventh movie because the cast was "saying goodbye to somebody we love who was there from the jump."
"And if anybody can express the enthusiasm of what Fast & Furious means to the world, it was Paul. It was his homage, and I think that it was just a really, really beautiful film," she continued. "For me, it's special and it hits home just because of that. That supersedes anything about the movie itself, the action or the plot or any of that. None of that really matters - it's a goodbye to Paul. And I couldn't have imagined a better goodbye."