Vin Diesel and his Fast and Furious co-stars will never forget Paul Walker. The xXx: Return of Xander Cage star opened up to ET’s Carly Steel at Brazil Comic-Con on Thursday after honoring the third anniversary of his co-star’s death on social media earlier this week.
“We’ve felt the loss,” Diesel said of the close-knit cast. “The last three years have been some of the hardest of my life because of losing my brother like that.”
The action star also remarked that it felt strange to be in Brazil without Walker.
“I’d been to Brazil two times before and both times that I’ve been here, I’ve always been with my brother, Pablo. Even if I talked on ET in Brazil or any talk show, any press or while we were filming in the favelas, it was Pablo and me,” he said, using his nickname for Walker. “It was a lot of tissues and it was a hard morning for me yesterday because I was here. But the irony is the whole cast reached out and his daughter, Meadow, reached out and all that stuff helps you get through it.”
Diesel also found strength and joy in filming xXx after the somber mood on the Furious 7 set following Walker’s passing.
“Making this movie came after a very difficult time making Furious 7, and so never in my life did I need to do a movie where I could laugh and smile and enjoy myself more than right now, more than the time I made this movie,” he said of the action flick. “I needed to do this movie and I’m so blessed that I had the opportunity to make a movie, not to have to do a brooding character, not to have to go to a dark place.”
The same can’t be said for his character Dom in the upcoming Fast 8.
“The irony is, right after doing this, of course, I went to do Fast 8 and Fast 8 was a very dark place and the darkest place Dom’s ever been,” he recalled. “So it was important for me, for my soul and for my family and for all the people that love me, for me to do xXx and for me to enjoy myself the way that I did.”
xXx: Return of Xander Cage hits theaters on Jan. 20, 2017.