Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Remembers Paul Walker's "Calming Presence": "We Bonded" Over Our Daughters
Paul Walker's most famous role may have been Brian O'Conner in the Fast & Furious franchise, but his most treasured role was that of a father to his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow. In a revealing new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the late actor's Fast Five costar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson remembers Walker as a family man whose top priority was being a good dad.
"He was motivated by work that allowed him to take care of his family, number one, and that also allowed him the power and the leverage to help people in need and in crisis," Johnson told EW, noting that his friend had "reservations" about being famous.
"When I first met Paul, I think in our late 20s, we were young kids in the business," he recalled. "Then, years later, when I did [2011's] Fast Five, we had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together and become reacquainted. At that time, we had both been in the business...for over a decade, and the most important thing that we had in common was the importance of family time and being a great father to our daughters. We bonded over that."
Indeed, Johnson -- who also costarred with Walker in 2013's Fast & Furious 6 -- went on to note that the two talked about their kids constantly. (The WWE wrestler, 41, has a 12-year-old daughter, Simone, with ex-wife Dany Garcia.)
"It was always the number one topic we would talk about. We would talk about silly guy things, his fast cars and my pickup trucks, or we would talk about the beautiful energy of Hawaii -- but it always ultimately came back to family," Johnson told EW. "And very specifically, the beautiful and important bond between a father and his daughter, and how we both realized that over the years."
"Not surprisingly, when I got the news that he had passed away, the first words out of my mouth were, 'He has a daughter,'" the Pain & Gain actor said of learning that Walker had died in a car crash on Nov. 30 at age 40. "It's very sad. We can't help but to hope that their final time together was beautiful and strong and an amazing memory."
Johnson also spoke with Entertainment Weekly about what it was like to work with the late star on the Fast & Furious movies. "With Fast Five, even though I had known the majority of the actors over the years, they were essentially a tight-knit family and a very strong unit," he remembered of the film's cast, which included Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez. "In front of the camera, there's a lot of action and a lot of frenetic energy. And off camera, there's a lot of action and a lot of frenetic energy...Paul was very welcoming, and a very calming presence on set."