Shark Week’ fans know that the late actor Paul Walker was one of them. The star was a passionate about our oceans and about shark conservation. To honor his life, Discovery did a tribute to him before airing one of the missions he was involved in.
The show ‘Spawn of Jaws: The Birth’ is a sequel to last year’s ‘Spawn of Jaws,’ that featured Walker helping to tag a pregnant white shark so her pupping grounds could be identified. Walker, who went to school for marine biology before striking fame with ‘Fast and Furious,’ was on the boat with scientist Dr. Michael Domeier for 10 days.
“Paul was my roommate on this boat, in a very small room, and I was hard on him,” recalled Domeier who admits now he thought Walker was initially just a ploy for bigger ratings. “My attitude was, ‘We don’t need this guy. It’s a distraction to my research. My research is important.’ But then Paul impressed me. I also got to see firsthand his passion for the ocean.”
After successfully tagging the shark, Walker kept in touch with Domeier, even contemplating following in his footsteps. “He’d text me all the time, call me because he wanted to do more. He would call me in the middle of the night and say, ‘Hey, I want to quit acting. I want to go back to school. Can you help me?’ And I’d talk him off the ledge and go, ‘Paul, that’s a really bad idea,’” he tells with a laugh. “I said, ‘You can have much more of an influence on these topics as a celebrity. Let’s work together. I can help you, give you talking points.’”
Domeier was three weeks into shooting the ‘Spawn of Jaws: The Birth,’ which shows his team tracking the same white shark to see where she will give birth, when Walker passed. Domeier said in a recent interview at first he didn’t even want to continue the project without his friend but after thinking about it, concluded it was what Walker would have wanted.
Before the show aired on Wednesday, August 13th, Dwayne Johnson recorded a short introduction honoring his colleague and friend. “Last year the ocean lost one of its biggest advocates. Paul Walker was not only an incredible actor, very good friend and loving father to beautiful Meadow Rain,” he said. “He was also a champion for shark and marine conservation, whose efforts inspired so many. You’re about to watch one of his last missions dedicated to protecting that which he loved.”
See The Rock’s dedication to the actor below, as well as a clip from last year when he tagged the mother shark.