Vin Diesel is reportedly overwhelmed with grief and guilt over the death of fellow Fast and Furious star Paul walker - but desperately wants to keep the lucrative, billion-dollar franchise going.
A source has told The National Enquirer that petty squabbles and egotistical clashes wrecked his once-close relationship with Walker and that Diesel has been consumed with guilt.
However, at the same time, he is extremely determined to keep the blockbuster series going - and that he has been one of the major backers of bringing Walker's younger brother Cody to complete Fast and Furious 7 and star in future installments. As a source told the Enquirer:
Vin is shattered over Paul's death. He's broken down in tears several times and said he wishes Paul would just walk in the door, tell him this was all a bad dream and forgive him.
Vin has told friends he hates himself for feuding with Paul and feels terribly guilty about how he treated Paul when he was alive.
Of course, those familiar with the franchise know that the relationship between Walker's undercover cop and Diesel's elite illegal street racing ex-con was an essential element of the success of the films.
However, behind the scenes that fun chemistry turned into an ugly rivalry, according to the source.
Paul and Vin really came to dislike each other. Paul said Vin was always trying to outdo him on the set, stealing the spotlight, upstaging him and fawning all over producers to make himself look good and Paul bad.
Paul also thought Vin was loud, brash and aggressive, while Vin thought Paul was a Hollywood wimp. That couldn't have been further from the truth, but Vin thought he could walk all over Paul when it came to negotiations, and that infuriated Paul.
The source added that the bad blood between the two absolutely exploded in 2009 when they were negotiating deals for the fourth Fast and Furious film.
Apparently, while Diesel was a producer on the film, the source said "their friendship died completely because Vin made a major cash-grab."
Paul said Vin was a 'bully' and he had to fight Vin for every little thing in his contract. It got so bad that Paul brought his entire business and legal team along every time they had a business meeting.
During their negotiations, Paul complained that Vin was standoffish and even borderline sinister.
Though both actors cashed in big time thanks to their roles in the franchise, Diesel ended up with a bigger piece of the money pie, amassing $60 million compared to Walker's $45 million.
Since Walker's death in a fiery car crash November 30, Diesel has publicly given the impression that him and Walker were like brothers, but the source says nothing could be further from the truth.
Paul was close to several people on the set, but they were cameramen, stuntmen and other production people Paul genuinely liked. He tried to keep his feuding with Vin out of the public eye for the good of the franchise, but when the cameras were off, Paul avoided him like the plague.
Now the source says Diesel is extremely worried that details of their real relationship will leak out and damage his image.
He's determined to make amends and he's doing everything he can to help Paul's family and to honor his legacy. But Vin's hypocrisy is making Paul's true friends gag, because they know how nasty he was to Paul when Paul was alive.
The Fast and Furious series has been a box-office bonanza, with the first six films making more than $1 billion in the United States and about $2.4 billion worldwide.
The latest installment, Fast & Furious 6, was the biggest-grossing movie of them all, pulling in more than $788 million worldwide. Industry insiders expected Fast & Furious 7, which was being filmed when Walker died, to top that by a wide margin.
Some feel the unfinished movie should be scrapped, but producers are scrambling to salvage it.
"Fast & Furious 7 should be shelved as a memorial to Paul", a source told the Enquirer. "But with mega-millions at stake, producers aren't about to kiss that big money goodbye."
Producers are reportedly planning to use Walker's look-alike younger brother, 25-year-old stuntman Cody Walker, to complete the film.
But they have yet to craft a story line for the death of Walker's character, Brian O'Conner, said the source.
Script writers are scrambling to find a way to write him out of the series in a respectful manner. Most likely, they'll film a scene of Brian O'Conner dying in 'Fast & Furious 7'.
There has even been talk about having Cody replace Paul in the series in an ongoing role, playing Brian's brother in an eighth film.
That move is still in the planning stages, but Cody's role is not a sure thing, says the source.
A lot of industry people and family members oppose Cody taking his brother's place. It is kind of creepy, but Vin is all for it. He sees Cody's role as a way to honor Paul's memory, and justify Vin continuing to cash in with the 'Fast & Furious' franchise.