ACTOR HAD SOUGHT ROLE IN 'BLACK DAHLIA', CALLED DE PALMA HIS FAVORITE
Paul Walker was one of two people killed Saturday in a single-vehicle crash in Santa Clarita, California, according to a CBS Los Angeles report. Walker was a passenger, and the driver is believed to have been Roger Rodas, a close friend and business partner of Walker's, according to other reports.
In 2004, after Mark Wahlberg had dropped out of the Lee Blanchard role in Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia, Walker expressed interest in replacing him (the role eventually went to Aaron Eckhart). "Brian De Palma’s got a movie he’s gonna do called The Black Dahlia," Walker told Cinema Confidential in 2004. "De Palma’s my favorite. And I heard that one of the cast members, someone that’s attached dropped out. I want to do that movie! De Palma’s the man." When asked if he had seen all of De Palma's films, Walker replied, "Every one. And Jeff Byrd is my agent at ICM. Jeff Byrd represents De Palma. So I’m like, 'yo, Byrd, make this happen.'"
Wayne Kramer, who directed Walker in the excellent Running Scared, as well as this year's Pawn Shop Chronicles, mentioned in a Facebook post Sunday that De Palma had offered Walker a film project some years ago. "It always pained me when critics and internet talkbackers slammed him as an actor," Kramer wrote, "because I knew the truth about the guy: he was fucking awesome in every way. And he was just coming into his own as a strong leading man. I always told Paul that his most exciting years were going to be his 40s and 50s, and even beyond, as a masculine American tough guy in the vein of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. We talked about how Paul was going to be my Lee Marvin and we were hungry to make those kind of films that could show Paul in that light. In some alternate reality somewhere, he’s still on that career trajectory and I’d love to be there to see the work because it would be something to experience indeed. For every anonymous internet hater who bagged on him, there were great actors and directors who made a point of letting him know how amazing he was. Kevin Costner was a fan and wanted to do a western with Paul. Vincent D’Onofrio (whom I recently worked with) made a point of telling me how much he dug Paul as an actor. Quentin Tarantino called Paul after seeing Running Scared to tell him how much he loved Paul’s performance. Sylvester Stallone was a fan of Paul in Running Scared. Walter Hill and Brian De Palma offered him projects a few years back. Paul was very discriminating with the films he picked. He chose to make them for personal reasons, regardless of the quality of the finished film or the reputation of the director. And once he signed on, he was there one thousand percent for his directors. We shared the same taste in material. Usually dark and extreme, but with a lot of soul. Closer to the films of the 70s and 80s that they no longer make anymore."