“Furious 7” is set to race to the box office and predicted to smoke the competition this weekend, and the stars of the action franchise revved their engines on Wednesday at the Los Angeles premiere.
The latest installment in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise took over Hollywood Blvd. as Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey appeared before a crowd of screaming fans.
However, it was an emotional night of both celebration and remembrance, as the cast and crew paid tribute to their fallen friend, Paul Walker, who died in a November 2013 crash in his Porsche Carrera GT.
“You know I am going to speak,” Diesel said as he took the microphone at the front of the theater, according to USAToday. “I’m going to tell you, last year it was really tough to come back to work.”
However, the film eventually came together under director James Wan and ultimately became a tribute to the continuing “legacy of Paul.”
Fighting back the tears, Diesel said he hoped people appreciated the others in their midst “because you just don’t know if it’s the last time you’re going to see them.”
“As you all know we lost someone very dear to us during the filming,” producer Neal Moritz said as he continued the tribute. “Paul was the most decent, thoughtful, caring human being I have ever met. Losing him was a blow to all of us.
“I know Paul is smiling down on us right now … We love you forever Paul. And you will always be a part of all of us.”
The star-filled premiere also included performances earlier in the afternoon by Tyga, Sevyn Streeter, Wiz Khalif and Ludacris, with even Diesel performing on stage during the outdoor show at Revolt Live Studios.
Later that night, many of the actors posed with the powerful cars that took the franchise to new death-defying heights.