Appearances aren't everything.
While Vin Diesel was completely pumped up on the red carpet in front of the fans for the promotional tour of Fast & Furious 7 in Beijing last week, the US actor revealed that he is still coming to terms with the tragic death of co-star Paul Walker.
Walker, who portrayed beloved protagonist Brian O'Connor in five films since the original The Fast And The Furious in 2001, was killed in a car accident in November 2013 at the age of 40.
The US actor died halfway through filming Furious 7, so his brothers Caleb and Cody were drafted in to complete his remaining scenes.
Last month, Diesel, 47, named his newborn daughter Pauline in Walker's memory.
When asked by the media during a press round table at the Park Hyatt Beijing if he cried when he saw the ending of Furious 7 - which features a moving tribute to Walker - Diesel, who plays O'Connor's partner Dominic Toretto in the series, said: "If you want to know the truth, I've been crying for the last year and a half.
"And when I saw the movie, even though I'm a producer and started the franchise 15 years ago, I couldn't stop crying.
"The thing about the tears that come from Furious 7 is that you don't just cry in the theatre, wipe them up and leave. When you think about it later, you cry again."
Helmed by Malaysian-born Australian director James Wan and opening here tomorrow, the latest instalment pits Diesel and Walker against Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a disavowed black ops assassin out to avenge his brother Owen (Luke Evans) after the events of the last movie, Fast & Furious 6 in 2013.
BIGGER AND BETTER
The movie is not just a send-off for Walker. Diesel has touted Furious 7 as destined for big things and has even gone as far as to say that it should win the Oscar for best picture next year.
He said: "We were not only successful in one-upping the action, one-upping the spectacle and making it bigger, this movie is so much more emotionally powerful than anything the world would expect.
"It's the seventh chapter and it marks the end of an era, a 15-year run of what started as a Brian and Dom duo, so it's very special. We're very proud of it.
"There is a magic in making movies that have been severely overlooked as an art form... What Furious 7 does is that it makes you laugh, cry, gives a huge spectacle and, unique to the saga, it makes you cheer."
It is clear that, like their on-screen counterparts, Diesel and Walker shared a close bond in real life.
Sharing one of his most personal and final memories of Walker, Diesel recalled an incident that took place a month before the fatal accident.
Frustrated that his mother could not understand his problem about feeling financially exploited by his family members, Diesel asked Walker to speak to her when she visited the Furious 7 set.
"He was the only one in my universe who knew what it was like to go from no one to something, anonymity to icon," said the father of three.
"Money comes when you have success. And while everyone thinks money changes the person, what's less obvious is how it changes everyone around you.
"There was only one person I could call - the person that was dealing with it himself.
"Paul had a conversation with my mother in the only way that he could - and he made my mother understand how I felt."
Diesel concluded the press session, saying in a soulful voice: "I only have one Paul Walker, I only have one."
This article was first published on April 1, 2015.
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