I interviewed Hollywood actor Paul Walker twice, back when I was a celebrity journalist.
The first time was at the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel on Sunset Blvd when he was promoting the film, Into the Blue (2005).
The second time was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills when he was promoting Fast & Furious (2009).
On both occasions I was interviewing him for men’s magazines around the world – a job I recently wrote about it in my recent book, Insider Journalism Secrets.
I remember Walker being very polite and courteous to me, and to all the other journalists who interviewed him.
He was a “guy’s guy”, quick to make a joke and have a laugh.
His death this week was so sad.
I’m sitting here in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia.
I’ve just gone into my laptop to retrieve the transcript of my 2009 interview with Walker. (The 2005 interview is in my old laptop. I’ll try to find it and email it to you in the coming days)
I’m attaching it, below.
Reading it now, it’s quite eerie, especially when he talks about his daughter Meadow.
I also quoted Walker in my celebrity quotes book, Celebrity Confessions, released in October, 2013.
As you’ll read below, Walker was just a fun-loving guy.
RIP Paul Walker.
P.S. I’ll try to find the 2005 interview and email it to you in a few days.
JAMES SWANWICK INTERVIEW WITH PAUL WALKER, 2009
You return to the Fast and Furious franchise as Brian O’Connor – so did you get to drive fast and furiously?
I didn’t feel any speed in this movie unfortunately. I never really once had that exhilaration, that feeling that you get from driving fast or anything because I didn’t get to do any of it. The insurance and liability was so much on it they didn’t let me do anything. I got to run and jump a bunch, and chase after a guy but I had very little wheel time.
So are you a car nut yourself?
You know I was a car nut. I still am!
Did you do any cruising like they do in Fast & Furious?
Been there done that! [Laughs]
You’ve driven a lot of seriously fast cars in these films, which has been your favorite?
I love the [Nissan Skyline] GTR, the R34.
That’s got some power! Did you drive it yourself?
Yeah! The stock car, by today’s standards, is not that impressive – but there’s still so much that can be done to it. I own one that I’ve subtly modified and I enjoy it, but I’m a Porsche and Audi guy.
Do you ever find that people recognize you at traffic lights, rev their engines and want a race?
It still happens! [Laughs] I’ll sit there like I want to go, but I don’t [waves] and watch them just tear off.
Why has Fast & Furious been so successful? It’s the girls and horsepower, isn’t it?
Cars and girls! I don’t care where you come from, what language you speak, whether you’re from the desert or the jungle, they will always be cool, and I think that’s where this franchise is unique. It’s tapped into something. It’s not a trend. It’s a constant.
And why do guys love cars so much?
Freedom! Alright, I’m a man. I can stand on my own two feet; I can drive myself around; I can pick up my girlfriend; I can take her to a movie; I can take her out to eat. Some of us are fortunate enough to experience speed. If you don’t experience it in a car, maybe it’s a rollercoaster, maybe it’s from downhill snow skiing. A lot of us find this affinity for speed and that exhilaration, and guess what? You can find that in certain cars too.
So being a speed-freak, do you like motorbikes too?
I love Supermoto motorcycles, although I had a really bad accident this past July where I ran into the back of a car at about 50 miles per hour.
Ouch! What was the damage?!
I tore my rotator cuff, my MCL, my ACL. I didn’t break anything. I had backpack on and I managed to roll over on my backpack but I cracked my helmet. I hit my head first, boom, and rolled over. I was wearing a full face helmet, thank god, and cracked it.
Did you get straight back on the bike to fight the fear of crashing again?
I did, but I’m still far more timid than I was. The road rash was bad. I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt!
Hardcore carpet burns! How do you keep yourself entertained now then?
I club race around tracks. I have a BMW E46 that I race in and I have a Porsche 997 GT3!
Do you practice racing around tracks on the Xbox?
No, I did when I was younger, I played Sega Rally Championship. This is going back years ago. [Laughs]
What’s your favorite track to race around?
Laguna Seca! It has a corkscrew which is tough, but it’s fun and the elevation change is even better!
Do you still drive furiously, or have you slowed down a bit?
No, my body still hurts from July!
What stops you from doing stupid things?
I have my daughter Meadow’s name in a tattoo on my wrist, which keeps me from doing stupid stuff. It makes me think before I do something.
Got a comment about my Paul Walker interview, above? Leave a comment in the comments box, below.