Vin Diesel showed his soft side at a California screening of Furious 7 on Monday night.
The 47-year-old star and producer took time out from hanging out with his newborn child to introduce the seventh film in the franchise, and got choked up several times as he talked about his late pal and co-star, Paul Walker, who died in a car crash at the age of 40 in 2013.
“This was a labor of love, and in some ways hardest movie I’ve ever had to do, because the relationships that you see on film are so real,” he told the crowd. “When the tragedy happened, I lost my best friend. I lost my brother.”
At that point, the actor paused, seemingly unable to continue as the emotion washed over him. But with some encouragement from the crowd — including one guy who assured him that “You’ve got family here, Vin” — Diesel soldiered on. “We truly made this for you,” he told the audience.
Diesel pays tribute to Walker.
Walker and Diesel grew close during the Fast films – so much so that Diesel nicknamed his co-star “Pablo.” Earlier in his talk with the crowd, he noted that Furious 7 was ”a very, very personal and important movie,” adding: “Every time when I saw the [latest Fast] movie at the premiere, Paul Walker and I would go off to the side, and he would always tell me, ‘Vin, the best one’s still in the can.’ Well I hope that tonight, you let Pablo know that this is the best one for you guys.”
At the end of his speech, Diesel pointed to an image of Walker on the screen. “Know that this our gift to you,” he said. “And more importantly, it’s for my brother there. Let it be the legacy we know he deserves.”
Furious 7 opens on April 3rd. You can watch a behind-the-scenes clip from the film below: