Arts & Entertainment

Paul Walker confesses challenges on mafia film

Paul Walker, of the Fast and the Furious, has been regarded by some movie critics as a mediocre actor, but with looks that could kill. While girls swoon in his hunky presence, most men dismiss Walker as just another pretty boy trying to make it big in the acting world.All that may change with the… Read more »

Paul Walker, of the Fast and the Furious, has been regarded by some movie critics as a mediocre actor, but with looks that could kill. While girls swoon in his hunky presence, most men dismiss Walker as just another pretty boy trying to make it big in the acting world.All that may change with the release of his latest movie, Running Scared. In a recent interview with The Temple News, Paul Walker and director of Running Scared, Wayne Kramer, talked about the making of the movie and Walker’s evolving image.”Guys always called me a pretty boy,” Walker said. “I’m glad for it (good looks) because it got my foot in the door. But I always felt like I had something to prove.”Kramer agreed that this role could possibly be the turning point for Walker’s career.”There was another actor I was thinking about for the role,” Kramer said. “But I was always kind of intrigued with Paul Walker, thinking that he had more potential than what we’ve seen on the screen. So I met with him, and the first thing I noticed was the passion and intensity in his eyes. Paul is not just a relaxed surfer sort of guy. He is a [rebel]. So I thought that if I cut and darkened his hair and got him a New Jersey accent, he would be great for the part.”In the movie Walker plays Joey Gazelle, a low-level Italian mobster in New Jersey who unwittingly puts his family in immediate danger. After a drug deal goes horribly wrong and a few dirty cops wind up dead, Joey is entrusted to discard the gun used for killing the cops.Things take a dangerous and unexpected twist when the neighbor’s son, Oleg, uses the gun to shoot his abusive father and then takes off into the night with the weapon. After this event, Joey sets out for a non-stop adventure to find Oleg and the gun while trying to protect his family and keep his fellow mob members and the cops at bay.Fans familiar with Walker from his roles in the lighthearted, teeny-bopper flicks She’s All That, Varsity Blues and The Skulls will be shocked once they encounter him in this newly released mafia film. His character is not only a hardened Italian mobster, but also juggles the role of a devoted husband and loving father. Walker admits that Joey is quite different from the characters he’s played before, but he credits his family life with helping his transition into the role.”I have a seven year-old daughter,” Walker said. “And I have tons of nieces and nephews and there is an army of kids in my family. So it was not hard for me [to] play the role of the father-figure in this movie.”Like most mafia blockbusters, Running Scared is structured around the family and the dysfunction, love, unity and loyalty that serve as the foundation for such an institution.”I extremely enjoyed playing this character,” Walker said. “Joey has a lot of heart and soul. He’s old school and extremely protective of his family. I mean, he goes around killing and shooting a lot of people in the movie, but they’re slime balls anyway so it doesn’t make a difference. I loved it! You live out your true fantasy of shooting and killing all the bad guys without being worried about getting arrested or being hauled in prison. It was a dream come true!”Paul Walker had such a good time filming the movie that at the end of the day, he forgot how to switch from Joey to reality.”The real challenge for me while filming this movie was not being able to go home with it. I was always coming home as Joey Gazelle because when you’re so charged and wrapped up in your role, its hard leaving that persona at night on the set,” Walker said. “I was so pumped with adrenalin after shooting the movie, I would come home and I just couldn’t sleep at night. I would shake. That was the challenge for me.”Amna Rizvi can be reached at amnariz@temple.edu.

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