The following is from the Toronto Sun,
"Fast & The Furious star Paul Walker has died in a car crash.
Walker was a passenger in a friend's Porsche when the unnamed driver lost control of the vehicle during a charity event in Santa Clarita, California. The sports car collided with a tree and burst into flames. Both the driver and Walker were killed.
A statement posted on the actor's official Facebook.com fan page reads: "It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives.
"We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time."
Walker's publicist Ame Van Iden has confirmed his death.
In one of his final interviews, Walker recently told WENN he was enjoying life as a dad to his teenage daughter Meadow after revealing she had moved in with him last year.
He said, "She started living with me last year just when I was leaving to go to work on Fast (& Furious 6). It's really kind of tearing on me trying to maintain the balance. She just turned 15 and it's a critical time. I'm big with analogies so I look at it like this big rocket ship and she's on this launching pad.
"I want to get the trajectory right. It's just me and my daughter and I'm gonna be her dad for the rest of our lives so I want it to be cool. I sure as hell don't want to be looking back and go, 'F***, what if, and I should've been home more'. She's super supportive and is like, 'No, go; this is what you do'. I'm like, 'We've got three years and you're gonna be out of the house. How much longer before you show up with Johnny?'
"We're really honest with each other which is cool. She tells me what her needs are and tries to be a little tougher than I want her to be sometimes. I want her to be more revealing like, 'You're not home enough...' I want her to say those things."
Just a two days before his death, Walker took to Twitter.com to share his Thanksgiving Day thoughts with fans.
He wrote, "Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating today! Try not to get too full from dinner, seconds, dessert, leftovers, that late night snack..."
He later added a now shocking apt tweet, writing, "When you #LiveFast, there's no definite set of rules."
And on Friday, he posted a photo from the set of the new Fast & Furious movie, featuring himself and co-star Vin Diesel, and added, "The boys are back. Will you be ready?" It turned out to be his last Twitter.com entry.
Among the celebrities who took to Twitter.com with fans to mourn Walker's passing were Russell Simmons, Lance Bass, rocker Chris Daughtry and fellow fast car buff Frankie Muniz, who wrote, "So sad to hear about Paul Walker. He was my hero when I was in my teens. Super nice guy... crazy."
Filmmaker Eli Roth also paid tribute to the actor, adding, "RIP Paul Walker. Never met him by my Hostel team had just made Running Scared and everyone loved him. Condolences to his family."
And actor pal Michael Ealy was also crushed by the news of Walker's the actor's death, adding, "My heart is crushed by the news that my friend Paul Walker passed away today. Prayers and light to his daughter and family right now."
Walker was born in Glendale, California in 1973 and started acting as a toddler when he appeared in a Pampers commercial. He enjoyed success as a TV child star throughout the 1980s landing roles in shows like Highway to Heaven and Who's the Boss?
His big break came in 1999's Varsity Blues and that led to his role in the Fast & the Furious film franchise - he has played Brian O'Conner in five of the six fast-paced action movies, and was filming Fast & Furious 7 at the time of his death.
Walker has also starred or appeared in hit movies Eight Below, Into the Blue, She's All That, Running Scared, Takers and Flags of Our Fathers.
An avid surfer, the actor was also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert and a huge shark fan.
He studied marine biology before his acting career took off and recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by starring in a National Geographic Channel series, titled Expedition Great White, during which he studied great white sharks off the coast of Mexico."
The one and only Jean-Claude Van Damme wrote this on his official Facebook page recently,
"I would definitely love to join The Terminator franchise with Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, if I am offered the role."
This week on Action Highlights the Expendables Premiere staff takes a look at the Brandon Lee and Dolph Lundgren flick, 'Showdown In Little Tokyo" check out the page here and enjoy.
Fan of the site Alberto Gonzalez wrote this incredible report on Sylvester Stallone and wanted us to share it with you all. It is extremely well written and very interesting so check it out below!
Stallone's first major film was already a work of true love. Rocky (John G. Avildsen, 1976), cinema's most famous boxer, was, and continues to be, the most personal creation of an extremely talented writer who poured all of his ambitions and passions into a character whose invention was custom-made to fit the personality of his author. Stallone not only wrote a character for himself; as a matter of fact, I would go as far as to say that he actually wrote himself, in the context and situation he wanted to see himself in. Stallone not only plays Rocky, Stallone is Rocky, their main differences being merely trivial. And since Rocky is a work of sheer passion, the epitome of Stallone's most longed-for desires, it is only fitting that Sly should experience his same life and go from being an unknown underdog who went around with a script below his shoulder asking for financing to whoever would listen, to becoming one the world's most famous, admired and bankable stars in the history of Hollywood cinema. In this process, he created another timeless character, John Rambo, whose main traits were already more than present in the aforementioned boxer, reinforcing the idea that Stallone choses all of his character with the utmost precision, since most of the times he is looking for the same set of characteristics in the performances he takes to the screen. Stallone doesn't leave anything to chance, he is a perfectionist, an enthusiast. He is determined to bring the best out of every single script he chooses to bring to life, which is why it is he who writes them for his films in the majority of the occasions, and, in the movies closest to his heart, even takes charge of the directorial duties. Stallone would come back to these characters in countless occasions, and, while some people might argue that the main reason behind this was purely financial, it is evident to whoever has seen all of these films that every one of them aspires to bring in even newer and better elements into the mix to develop the characters and situations in ways that had not been explored before. He thought he could improve each time, he could say more, so he went for it. The rising physicality of his opponents and therefore difficulty to beat them in each installment of the Rocky franchise is a perfect metaphor for his strive to outdo every previous film. And although some attempts are more successful than others, it is undeniable that Stallone put his heart and soul in every one of these movies, looking to empty that “basement” which Rocky talks about in his last film. Here, Stallone is once again letting his own thoughts be heard through the lips of his character; it is not Rocky who needs one further shot at the title, it's Stallone.
But Sly is not only the world's most famous boxer, or the screen's most iconic Vietnam veteran. Throughout the development of his career, Stallone has ended up becoming the truest and purest embodiment of the action cinema genre, a genre which redefined the style of the Hollywood blockbuster forever. Like many actors in the 80's, Stallone became an indestructible, bigger-than-life action hero who saved the world in each of his movies. But unlike other actors in his situation, he not only embraced this new condition which was attributed to him, he also revelled in it. And similarly to his two famous franchises, Stallone sought to have the creative control of most of the movies he starred in during this time, producing scripts which would match his interests and portray his ambitions. That way, he gave life to Cobra (George P. Cosmatos, 1986), Over the Top (Menahem Golan, 1987), Cliffhanger (Renny Harlin, 1993) or Driven (Renny Harlin, 2001).
But it was in his second stage as an action hero, running from the beginning of the century until now, that Stallone became this genre's indisputable powerhouse. With action cinema already starting to slowly fade away, its main figures deciding to step out from the genre, Stallone decided that he wasn't ready to ride away into the sunset just yet. In his scripts, the two most prominent motifs have always been redemption and second chances, and these themes fitted perfectly with the new direction that action cinema was taking. Thus, while Schwarzenegger went into politics, Bruce Willis went into drama, and Mel Gibson got into directing, Stallone used the fading condition of action cinema and his own decline as a star to his advantage and once more decided to live his own life through his characters. And it was precisely the resurrection of Rocky Balboa in 2006 and of John Rambo in 2008 to get one last shot at the title that gave Stallone that second chance he always envisioned in his fiction and that allowed him to get back in the saddle for the last time. The superior quality of both films, especially Rocky Balboa, put Stallone into the spotlight once again as a figure still capable of pulling off a big box-office success. However, Sly had to think his next move carefully. In an interview concerning his last installment of Rocky, Stallone's signs of melancholy were evident when he said “I'm aware that perhaps the best thing I've done in my life... is over.” Sly had given a perfect ending to his most beloved character, and now he was in a position where he could do anything he wanted thanks to the success of his previous films, without wanting to diminish what he had already done. He had to do something bigger, something better, as he had always done, so that his last “round” in filmmaking would be perfect.
So, in this everlasting search to outdo himself, Stallone came with the best idea in action cinema ever: uniting this genre's biggest brand names in an ensemble film which would praise the movies that made them the legends they had become. This is how Stallone created The Expendables, which he wrote and directed in 2010 and which, although it wasn't the perfect homage he had planed it to be, definitely planted the seed of what would become action cinema's last breath of air before its inevitable death. Stallone, perfectly aware of this, decided to send it out with the bang it deserved, and so, not satisfied with the first one, he made The Expendables 2 in 2012. This time around, he managed to get Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger to have a big supporting role for a good part of the film, and added action legends Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, against who he squared off at the end in an iconic final battle, to the ensemble. This way, The Expendables 2 did fit the purpose that Stallone had envisioned: an adrenaline-fueled, testosterone-filled, self-aware no-brainer with almost every living action hero in western culture. By the time The Expendables 2 hit theaters, the franchise was already a symbol for the comeback of the 80's action cinema, and Stallone was viewed as its leading figure, since the idea had been his brainchild from the beginning. And so, with this new status, Stallone set out to star in what would be his last appearances in the action genre, aware that he had to leave every end well tied before he could be done with it for good. Wanting to equal The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2011), which is widely considered to be the best contemporary action film, he decided he would make a third Expendables, rising to the challenge and once more stepping up his game.
But in the two years between The Expendables 2 and 3 he first had to make sure that the films he starred in really meant something; they had to make him be remembered, help him achieve his immortality. That way, he brought action cinema's cult director Walter Hill back in the game for his definitive 80's throwback in Bullet to the Head (Walter Hill, 2012), where he has a final axe fight against Jason Momoa, Schwarzenegger's replacement as Conan. Here, Stallone is not only fighting the already iconic character of Conan: he is fighting the younger and improved version of him. As he said in an interview “they really pushed me to the limit on this one.” But by this choice of film it is clearly that it was him who wanted to push himself from the start. Therefore, this last solo outing had been the perfect throwback he wanted it to be, so now he could go on to share the screen with a partner and, in the process, put at ease action cinema's eternal request of the “ultimate action team up” between Stallone and Schwarzenegger. And it is this film that ultimately confirms (if it wasn't sufficiently clear already) that Stallone is without a doubt action cinema's most prominent figure. In the 80's, Stallone and Schwarzenegger's world-famous rivalry was based upon the audience's incapability to tell which of the two leading men was a bigger action star, with the latter even being emphasized over Stallone given his propensity to play characters which, from the beginning of the movie, were already “born icons”, contrary to Sly who played “men in the process of becoming heroes” (Lichtenfeld, Eric, Action Speaks Louder, Wesleyan University Press, 2007: 82). But during the aforementioned years in which Schwarzenegger left cinema for good to pursue his political career, Stallone kept pursuing his action hero goals, and by the time Escape Plan (Mikael Hafström, 2013) came to be, Stallone had sufficient weight to foreground his partner in the movie. If this film had been made twenty years earlier, perhaps it would have been very different, but in the year 2013, Stallone is unmistakably the epitome of the classic action film. This way, while Schwarzenegger fires a huge machine gun, as stunning and cool as that sequence may be, Stallone is fighting famous-footballer-turned-Guy-Ritchie-regular Vinnie Jones mano a mano in a surprisingly long final confrontation (longer even than the one against Van Damme) which has nothing to envy from any classic 80's action film. Stallone also has the honor of killing the film's nemesis (Jim Caviezel), and doesn't even need help from Schwarzenegger's character to accomplish any of these feats, contrary to the custom of most typical buddy movies. Stallone, in short, casts a shadow over his co-star, achieving what had always been thought of as an insurmountable exploit, and therefore managing to finally give a definitive answer to the question of which of the two is the biggest action hero of all time.
And before his time is up, Sly will also square off against the other most famous cinematic boxer, Jake LaMotta, or Robert DeNiro, from Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) in Grudge Match (Peter Segal, 2013) and against the world's first modern action hero, Mel Gibson, in The Expendables 3 (Patrick Hughes, 2014). Analyzing this trajectory from Stallone's last years, it is evident that he has been preparing for the end. There is a feeling of nostalgia and finality in all of these films, and his way of choosing each of the movies, all of them significant for both his career and for action cinema as a whole in one way or another, seems to parallel the ticking of a number of boxes, like a terminal patient going through his last “to do” list in order to tie everything up before his final departure. Basically, Stallone is fulfilling Parvulesco's aim: he is becoming immortal. He knows he is leaving, but not before completing all of the steps that will warrant him his place in the world, his significance in modern culture. Stallone has chosen to go down as the representative of action cinema, and he has now achieved so much more than that: he has managed to become action cinema. He has explored every available avenue, and hasn't given up until he exhausted them all. Finally, he has felt that closure that he, same as Rocky, has always been looking for. That is what allowed him to say “I believe that the last film I did, “Expendables III” we took it to the max and I thought, there isn’t much further I can go with this.” Indeed, there is not much more he can do. After creating two timeless characters, appearing in the highest-grossing film of the decade five consecutive times, reviving action cinema in a time when everybody thought it had nothing more to offer, partnering up with Schwarzenegger, and squaring off against names of the like of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Carl Weathers, Mr. T, Wesley Snipes, Vinnie Jones, Robert DeNiro and Mel Gibson, Stallone has done everything a quintessential action hero was supposed to do, and even more.
Stallone's ouvre is the work of a true filmmaker, but above all else it is the work of a true believer, a believer in the potential of two characters to whom he gave life through sheer passion, and a believer in one of Hollywood's most commercial and yet underrated genres of all times, that of action cinema. Sly can now finally retire, giving way to a new order in which he does not belong, but taking with him the honor of putting an end to the world he has come to embody. Until now, he has been a legend. From this moment on, he is, indeed, truly immortal. With his retirement, the genre will most definitely become orphaned. It will lose the bearings indicated by its last true guide, and will therefore be left to wander around in confusion until it clearly and finally fades away, lying dormant and awaiting the arrival of the next true believer. But until this moment, Stallone's timeless ouvre, and indeed all the great films of action cinema, will only remain as glorious memories of a golden era in cinematic history which, at least for now, is most definitely not likely to come back.