Paul Walker's Dark Side
Much has been said about Paul Walker, the undeniably handsome and likeable 40 year old actor who died in a horrific automobile accident on November 30th in Santa Clarita, California. Upon hearing the news of his death, fans of Walker, particularly moviegoers of the Fast and Furious series, were immediately thrust into a place of deep despair. It was an extremely gruesome and ironic end to one of Hollywood's most beautiful actors.
I loved Paul Walker and thought he was a top notch performer. His ability to play different roles ranging from a warm and loving father in the movie Hours to an undercover cop in Fast and Furious was impressive. The guy was amazing and was one of Hollywood's brightest stars. We have all likely heard of the public Paul Walker - a charming, blue eyed, well built, California surfer dude turned actor and philanthropist, who stumbled into Hollywood almost by accident. Who can forget Walker's warm personality in one of his first roles in the movie Pleasantville?
Was there a dark side to Paul Walker ... One that was there all along for us to see but obscured by his charm and good looks?
During the final year of his life, Walker gave an interview to Indiewire.com and shared something that in hindsight is both eerie and revealing, specifically stating that he felt life was too short and that he wanted his celebrity status "To all go away." (Indiewire, 2013)
This article will explore some interesting and unknown facts about Paul Walker and examine a bit of the actor's dark side.
Paul Walker Once Faced Felony Charges
Published news reports following Paul Walker's death have painted a picture of an individual who was authentic, all American, down to earth and genuine. Most people however do not know an interesting fact that was revealed by the star himself - Paul Walker once faced felony charges.
According to the Takers interview given on August 3rd, 2009 in response to a question about "the worst thing" he had ever done when asked by the interviewer, Mr. Walker revealed that when he was 18-years old, he faced felony charges for an undisclosed act. He also reveals that early in life, he learned to use his good looks and ability to charm people to get out of trouble regularly and was in fact, was an expert at doing so. His real life revelation is not that much different than some of the roles he played in the movies.
In fact, Walker shares that his personality is very close to the role he played in the movie, Running Scared.
Below is a great Paul Walker quote about his dark side:
"I was eighteen years old for two weeks and I was facing a felony. So I was pretty bad, but I didn't hurt anybody. I did some stupid things when I was younger, I think we all did. I was always the guy who would find a way around this, or I would find a way around that. And usually when I smiled or winked, I would get out of trouble which enabled too much. I was just that guy." Cinema.com, 2009
Fans of Walker are left wondering what were the felony charges he faced when he was 18 years old? And what do we make of his statement that he deftly knew how to "get out of trouble" by charming people with a wink and a smile - an ability that he admits enabled "far too much." We may never know but we have his movies and can imagine.
Paul Walker's Criminal Mind
Many fans of Paul Walker did not know that he gave an interview in promotion of the movie Takers where he shares that he has a bit of a criminal mind. This makes sense when you think about how great he was in his movies where he played the bad guy (but was often the good guy).
What follows is a verbatim response to very pointed questions about Walker's personality during the Taker's interview Cinema.com, 2009
Was it fun to be playing the bad guy?
"Yeah, because he's a good bad guy. The crew was kind of similar to what you have walking the line, likeable, but bad. Similar to what you saw in like, Oceans 11 or Point Break"
Would you describe yourself that way too?
"Yeah, I'm definitely criminally minded!"
So you are likable but bad?
"Well yeah, the bad is the criminal mind".
Here it appears that Paul Walker is directly speaking to his dark side. In so many of his movies, he played an excellent bad guy/good guy and usually had audiences wondering which side of the law he was on. That was Paul Walker's gift - his range of acting!
Almost died in 2008
Many fans did not know that Paul Walker almost died in 2008 as a result of a fairly serious motorcycle accident.
He was coming home from the gym and hit the car in front of him because the driver was talking on a cell phone and not paying attention.
"t was pretty bad, I ran into the back of a car about 50 miles an hour. It was on July 3rd; we had a cell phone law that went into effect on the first, no more driving around with cell phones." - Paul Walker 2008 Interview
What is revealing however is that several years later (2011), Walker himself is ticketed for driving while texting in Ventura County, California. Radaronline.com
Some fans have suggested that Walker must have had a death wish. It is strange that he nearly died in 2008 because someone was on a cell phone and then several years later, was ticketed for himself texting and driving.
In many of his movies, such as Running Scared, we see Paul Walker in moments where we think we know the personality but later find out we were wrong!
What's Your Favorite Paul Walker Movie
What is your favorite Paul Walker Movie?See results without voting
Paul Walker talks about his contradictions
Many fans of Paul Walker did not know that he struggled a bit with trying to reconcile his behaviors. He was a champion of the environment, particularly marine life, and created awareness around many environmental issues. But Paul Walker also hunted at one time during his life, something that he admitted contradicted his love animals.
What did Paul Walker have to say about these contractions?
Here is a quote from an interview he gave for the movie Takers in which he offers the following:
"Yeah, but I'm passionate about animals and I hunt too. It's like I save and I kill. I'm a walking talking contradiction. I'm all about preserving the environment but I'm also racing cars on the weekend. I tell everyone I'm a gun loving hippy.". Cinema.com, 2009
In recent interviews before his death, Walker shared that he had given up hunting and had started getting into photography, particularly birding. He explained that he found it very enjoyable to take pictures of birds with a high speed camera as opposed to hunting.
In many of his roles as an actor, we would see Walker play a bad guy role and later find out he was the good guy all a long. He must have been in touch with some part of his dark side in order to make the characters he played so interesting.
"I definitely have a dark side"
Perhaps one of the things that made Paul Walker such a gifted actor was his ability to access the darker parts of his personality. In order for a truly good actor to make their character real, they must be able to step into parts of themselves that are often hidden.
Paul Walker spoke to his dark side in a 2006 interview about the movie, Running Scared, a flick that is widely considered to be one of his more violent roles.
He describes his own personality as compared to the character he is portrays in the movie, which happens to be a significant departure from the more friendlier, likable characters he has played in the past.
"I think on the outside what people see and what I present, especially when I'm doing press ... But what they've seen in movies, they've seen the friendly like nice guy, which I like to think that I am. But I definitely have a dark side. I think everybody does." About.com Hollywood Movies, 2006
Here we see Walker share that what we see in his movies and what we see when he gives press interviews are not necessarily who he is. In fact, he tells us that indeed, he knows something of his dark side.
Maybe this is why he was such a great actor - because he could access that part of himself?
Paul Walker Talks About his Dark Side
The Hidden Parts
Paul Walker Through a Johari's Window
There is no doubt that Paul Walker was a charitable, loving and giving person. There are far too many media reports that detail his good deeds and kind, gentle nature. By all accounts he was a very good father and a wonderful person to work with.
However, we need to view this man through a Johari's Window. There is the public self of Paul Walker and the private self, the hidden part and the blind part.
In 2003, Paul Walker gave an interview to a Chicago Newspaper in which he shares why he turned down the role of Superman. In the interview, he talks about how his personality was a closer fit to his character in Fast and Furious as opposed to Superman. In Fast and Furious, he was an undercover cop who had to make himself out to be a bad guy in order to make the busts. Not any actor can do this. One must be in touch with some part of their dark side in order to make the character believable.
More revealing in that same interview is his disclosure that he was at one time homeless and panhandled to survive:
I know I sound like a broken record, but 10 years ago I was living out of a garage and pan- handling, so just being a little comfortable is more than good for me. In fact, this is heaven. Chicago Sun Times
One assumes a person has to be bright and clever in order to make it on the streets. At the very least it can be said that Paul Walker was a survivor.
And a foretelling is a quote from the same interview:
"Oh, I used to be a lot wilder! I've had to curb my enthusiasm for speed since making these Fast and Furious movies. There%u2019s nothing cops would like better than to give me a speeding ticket!" Chicago Sun Times
There were parts of Paul Walker there for us to see all along, including his dark parts ...if we were listening closely.
Paul Walker will be missed by many, including me. I am likely one of his biggest fans. We still have his movies and the wonderful memories. Rest in Peace Paul.
© 2013 John Hollywood