When studios are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a film, part of the cost goes to insurance, to protect them if anything goes wrong. That’s why you hear things like certain actors, your Lohans, your Sizemores, being “uninsurable,” because insurance companies won’t risk insuring an actor who frequently causes shooting delays – a single canceled day can cost up to $25o,000. 7 Fast 7 Furious was famously delayed by the death of its star, Paul Walker, and as a result, its insurance claim is said to be up to a record-breaking $50 million dollars. Meanwhile, the movie budget has ballooned to $250 million – nearly equal to James Cameron’s entire yearly prostitute budget.
…insurance broker Brian Kingman of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. believes Fireman’s Fund will have to pay more than $50 million on a film now estimated to cost $250 million or more. A spokesman for Fireman’s Fund declined comment, but in a 2012 discussion about the challenges of movie-business insurance, Fireman’s Fund entertainment underwriting director Wendy Diaz noted that delays alone can cost as much as $250,000 a day on a big- budget movie, adding up to “millions of dollars.”
A shoot set to wrap in January now is scheduled to end in July, requiring the production to pay stars including Vin Diesel more to keep them longer. Fireman’s Fund is not on the hook for the entire cost of finishing the movie because Universal must pay what it would have cost to complete the project had the accident not occurred. But therein lies the dispute because it is a matter of judgment what producer Neal Moritz and the studio felt was required to finish the film without Walker. [Hollywood Reporter]
As for some of those additional costs, there’s now a lot more to deal with than just Vin Diesel’s stilt budget:
“They are finishing the film more or less as scripted, replacing Paul with [computer-generated] face replacement,” says this person. “They have two of Paul’s brothers as well as an actor to ‘play’ Paul when needed.” (The Walker brothers, 25-year-old Cody and 36-year-old Caleb, both are helping fill in for their brother physically — Caleb primarily for body size and mannerisms and Cody for the eyes. But the filmmakers need to create a character that not only looks like Paul but also performs like him. That’s the actor’s job.) Peter Jackson’s Weta is tackling the effects work using three cameras (in addition to the main-unit cameras) to capture Walker’s stand-ins for face replacement. “There is a massive amount of gear,” reports the source. “Everything they want with Paul gets done three times over. Three [actors] times seven cameras per shot is a clusterf— of money being spent.” [Hollywood Reporter]
“A clusterf*ck of money?” I don’t think that’s a thing, but “a clusterf*ckload” would be my new favorite portmanteau.
It’s funny, I used to tell a joke about how they should use Andy Serkis motion-capture to animate all of Paul Walker’s parts, that way we could see Paul Walker’s beautiful face, for the first time imbued with the soul of an actor. Just my luck that the joke is so close to coming true only at a time when the timing is the most tasteless.