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'Fast and Furious 7' Release Date, Cast Update: Paul Walker’s Brothers Cody and Caleb Join Filming (Pictures)

( [email protected] ) May 27, 2014 12:46 AM EDT
Grammy Nominated singer Romeo Santos joins the 'Fast and Furious 7' cast, according to an announcement made by the star's franchise Vin Diesel.

Grammy Nominated singer Romeo Santos joins the 'Fast and Furious 7' cast, according to an announcement made by the star's franchise Vin Diesel.

The news broke last week on Deadline, which reported on events at Santos' sold-out concert at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, last Thursday. During the concert, Vin Diesel joined Santos onstage to announce the singer's involvement with upcoming installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. Video footage of this announcement was captured amongst the audience, by Xavier Bloomer, and is currently available on YouTube.

Santo is currently the lead singer of the Bachata group Aventura, which has topped the charts in recent months. It is not clear at this time what role Santos will play in 'Fast and Furious 7', which has already added additional newcomers including Kurt Russell and Jason Statham.

Returning cast members include Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez. Paul Walker, who was killed in a fiery car crash last year in November, will appear in the film via CGI technology and body-doubles.

Last week, Paul Walker's lookalike brother Cody was spotted at Malibu beaches near Los Angeles in what appeared to be a film shoot for a scene involving Paul's onscreen family.  In a series of photos released by the Mirror, Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson can be clearly seen in the shot. Universal, which owns the rights to the Fast and Furious series, has recruited two siblings of Paul Walker -- Cody and Caleb Walker. Cody is to provide Paul's eyes, while Caleb is to replicate his deceased brother's body and mannerisms.

Photo: Cody (L), Caleb and Paul Walker (R) at Caleb's wedding.

An additional uncredited lookalike actor will also mimic Paul Walker as well. Supplementing the lookalikes will be intensive CGI work provided by New Zealand-based Weta Digital -- credited with special effects work for films including 'Lord of the Rings', 'Iron Man 3', and 2014's 'Godzilla'. Universal will also be recycling unused footages of Paul Walker from the previous two installments of the Fast and Furious series.     

The cost of casting body doubles and CGI work is rumored to have cost Fast and Furious 7 insurers $50 million. If true, this will amount to the largest insurance claim in the film industry history. The previous record was reportedly held by 1994's 'Wagons East!', which starred John Candy. Like Paul Walker, Candy died before filming was completed.

Directed by James Wang, 'Fast and Furious 7' will see its release date on April 3, 2015.