Vin Diesel remembers Paul Walker at premiere of The Last Witch Hunter
Published 19/10/2015 | 20:41
Vin Diesel was supported by his Fast & Furious co-star Gal Gadot as he premiered his latest film, The Last Witch Hunter, and looked back on the "dark period" following the death of their co-star Paul Walker.
The actor and producer affectionately welcomed Gadot to the red carpet in London's Leicester Square, with a hug and the words: "My family, my family."
Gadot, 30, who is set to play Wonder Woman in upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, stars as Gisele in the long-running film franchise alongside Diesel's Dominic.
The two lost their beloved co-star Walker in November 2013 - delaying filming for The Last Witch Hunter, a knock-on effect as the shoot for Fast & Furious 7 had to be pushed back.
The supernatural action movie stars Diesel as Kaulder, an immortal witch hunter who is the last of his kind. He must save humanity from the evil witches who live among us as a plague threatens New York City.
To do this, he is forced to seek the help of a good witch, Chloe, played by Rose Leslie.
Kaulder also receives guidance from Father Dolan, played by Sir Michael Caine, and his successor, the 37th Dolan (Eijah Wood).
Kaulder is 800 years old and counting, and Diesel he said he'd been "reflecting on what it would be like to be someone who lived forever".
On playing the character so soon after the death of Walker, he said: "That's interesting because at the time it was actually a dark period for me, so in my own life I was masking the sorrow, the pain in many ways. And this character does that."
Diesel, who produced and acted in the film, was finally able to act alongside his close friend of 13 years, Sir Michael.
Diesel, 48, said: "It was a case of waiting for the right film, and this project came up, and he was excited about playing the role of Dolan. The character he plays is my best and only friend, so there was something appropriate about that.
"It was a dream come true, really. I've been a fan of his for so long... I'm a lucky kid from New York."
Of their bond, Sir Michael, 82, said: "For us, it's very easy because we're both from very poor, working class backgrounds. He found out about me, because I was acting before him, and then he sort of became a fan.
"We met, and then we became friends. We always talked about doing a movie together, but all he ever did was the Fast & the Furious, and I was the slow and the curious. I'm not a very good driver so I couldn't be in it. And finally I got this part where I could play this old head witch, so it was great."
Leslie, 28, who wore a beautiful sparkly bronze and nude dress by Jenny Packham, said Sir Michael and Diesel had let her in on their "camaraderie both on and off set", adding: "They were both incredibly warm and welcoming."
Looking back at getting the film to the big screen, director Breck Eisner, 44, said: "It's been a long, difficult road and we're thrilled to be here."
Posing for pictures on the red carpet, Diesel took a liking to one of the entertainer's burning swords - and had a go at wielding it himself.
Of the stunt work in the film, Eisner said: "Vin is obviously a master at these kind of things. He does stunt choreography, he's a real talented physical actor.
"So when you put a sword in his hand, even if he's rehearsed all month, just put that sword in his hand and he comes up with new moves. It's like he was born with it."
:: The Last Witch Hunter will be released in UK cinemas on Wednesday, October 21.