When I was working on a series based upon my research on National Geographic Channel [2010’s Shark Men], a production company brought him on to the scene. For me, it was an obvious ratings grab. I didn’t like it. [Laughs] I was not a fan. But I had no control over it. I’m just a scientist, right. Paul was my roommate on this boat, in a very small room, and I was hard on him. 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. We had to spend 10-12 days on this boat in a little tiny room, and we became friends. I also got to see firsthand his passion for the ocean. We shared interests in surfing, in fishing, in spearfishing. He would come and go: His schedule was such that it was hard to ever really make him a part of the team, and it probably wasn’t until the second trip when I went, “Okay, this guy’s for real.”- Dr. Michael Domeier on working with Paul Walker
It wasn’t like he just disappeared. He would then continue to email me. He was a big texter. 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.” [Laughs] 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.” So we kept in touch over the years, even after we both stopped working on [Shark Men]. He kept calling me: “Hey, let’s do something again. When can I come with you again?”
For those of you who are newer to this journal, Paul Walker was and continues to be one of my most influential role models, a source of good humor and happiness, an inspiration, and a reminder to be good. To go big but also come home.
A year ago today, I was not the person I have grown and come to be now, in part because of him. I wish he'd had the same chance.