Vin Diesel Says ‘Last Witch Hunter’ Helped Him Cope with Paul Walker Death; Diesel Responds To Body Shaming

( [email protected] ) Oct 13, 2015 05:36 PM EDT

Vin Diesel, the star of The Fast and Furious Franchise, said that the time he spent on the set of "The Last Witch Hunter" helped him to cope with actor Paul Walker's untimely demise in 2013.

"Death was a huge theme last year," Diesel told The Associated Press during an interview last Friday. "There was something therapeutic about playing this role after going through (Walker's death)."

The 48-year-old stars as a reluctantly immortal witch hunter who must do battle in modern times against a resurrected Witch Queen. "The Last Witch Hunter" is expected to hit theaters on October 23, 2015.

"The idea that someone immortal could be so melancholy. 2014 was a tough year for me in some ways - a lot of ways," Diesel said, choking up before continuing. "Playing a character that was masking his sorrow - his loss - was very appropriate for the time, because that's what I was doing in real life with the post-"Furious 7."

According to InTouchWeekly, Vin paid tribute to his Furious co-star by naming his third daughter Pauline. Walker had died in a fiery car crash in 2013 while on holiday break from the filming of "Furious 7". A passenger who was riding with Walker at the time also died.

After a long delay, the film's production team began a painstakingly effort to finish the movie using body doubles and computer-generated effects. Walker's brothers, Cody, and Caleb, offered their likeness to complete the effect. Upon release in April, "Furious 7" became a blockbuster success - netting in $397.2 million on opening weekend.

Vin Diesel Slams Body Shamers

Meanwhile, Vin Diesel has responded to allegations that he had let himself go with a "dad bod". In a series of tweets, the movie star posted Instagram images of himself showing off his abs while donning black T-shirt and jeans.

"It is amazing the response from the journalists who I have been talking to for the last two days in New York. Today one wanted to see the dad bod. Haha," he wrote, according to People magazine. "I am wondering if I should show the picture... Body-shaming is always wrong! What do you think?"

Earlier, a photo of Vin with an alleged potbelly began circulating the web. In the picture, the actor was standing at a balcony smoke a cigarette.

Diesel is expected to make a return to the franchise as Dominic in Furious 8, which is expected to debut on April 14, 2017.