Paul Walker: The Death of Someone I Knew

Watching Paul Walker on the silver screen embedded a connection that was deeper than that of just a fan.

Watching Paul Walker on the silver screen embedded a connection that was deeper than that of just a fan.

My hand has been forced. I am here to sound off on the blatant disregard for human life and death that too many people have shown, and sadly will probably continue to. I’m talking in regards to the recent horrific passing of Hollywood actor, Paul Walker. I first read the news, like many, through social media. When the news sprouted up, it was because a friend had shared a link from TMZ. 

I was immediately caught off guard, so I hit the comments button below Mr. Walkers picture, which brought me to a slew of gossip. The second post from someone I am not acquainted with, stated that this was indeed a hoax, and that Paul Walker himself had confirmed he was not in a fiery crash as TMZ had first reported. I was immediately relieved, as I thought back to a few months ago when word of Adam Sandler dying in a skiing accident turned out to be a tasteless internet tale.

But with my curiosity still peaked, I continued to scroll through the news feed. One after another, friends were posting their condolences and RIP to Paul Walker. Say what you will about TMZ, but when it comes to breaking Tinseltown news, they are nine times out of ten spot on. Still scrolling, with that original knot in my stomach back in full force, I feared the worst.

It wasn’t until later that evening when I returned home and saw the tragic video footage on the local news of the red Porsche Carrera up in flames, that it truly hit me, I lost someone I knew. 

No I wasn’t acquainted with Paul Walker personally, or knew very much at all about his off-screen persona. But that doesn’t matter.

You see, maybe it’s the fact I understand the mind set that goes into portraying a character for film. Ask any actor, especially one who is a student of “The Method”, and they will tell you, even though you take on the persona, traits, strengths and weaknesses of someone with a different name, the individual giving the performance must manifest all they have created for this being, let it flow through his/her veins, and then make this character come to life.

In layman’s terms, the act you are watching, no matter how unique, amazing or dreadful, still at the core, is part of the actor’s soul. An actor must strip themselves of all emotions and allow the audience to see exactly what makes them tick. It’s a highly intimate, sometimes emotional wrecking experience that most people will never understand.

Acting is not simple. Words on a page are just that till someone with an ability for storytelling gives them life. And that’s why even a man who portrayed an FBI agent turned fugitive street racer turned international criminal six different times could appeal to the masses. Because his real world charm, good looks, and passion for creating a character we all would have loved to become for even a day, let us in on the world where Paul Walker was all of those things.

This brings me back to my original point. Hours after the confirmation of Walkers death, social media lit up like a Christmas tree yet again. But the posts I read this time were insensitive, cruel, and downright dumb. People spouted off nonsense like “an hour ago no one cared about Paul Walker, now it’s Walker-book.” Another consensus said something to the effect “RIP to the other man killed in the accident that no one cares about because he wasn’t famous.”

Comments so tasteless, this is the ugly side of social media. Two men died, and yes we knew one’s name more than the other. It does not mean his death is any greater, but what it did do was affect more people. So by littering the Internet with these pitiful posts, all it proves is that some individuals just don’t get it.

They don’t truly understand the repercussions of life and death, and how losing someone like a Paul Walker who did so much good through his charity for first responders (Reach Out WorldWide) will forever leave an impact on his family, friends, fans, and those whom benefit from ROHH.

I first met Paul Walker in 1998, in a film called “Pleasantville.” A year later we crossed paths in the coming of age tale “Varsity Blues” and again in 2000s “The Skulls.” Soon after Brian O’Connor was brought to life for not one or two movies, but six installments. Hell, I even met up with Paul in the movie “Timeline” (in was highly underrated in my opinion.)

Call me delusional, that’s what social media would lead you to believe, but through 42 acting credits, Paul Walker left behind a legacy. No, we never went to a bar and grabbed some cold ones. But almost once a year for the past 14 years or so, whenever I felt like seeing my old friend, I’d head to the theater to watch him work…and live.