A critical scene for the upcoming "Fast & Furious 7" came to a screeching halt Thursday ... after studio suits pulled the plug because it was just too dangerous ... too risky.
Sources connected with the production tell TMZ ... the shoot was being prepped at the Willow Springs International Raceway near Palmdale -- 45 minutes from where Paul Walker tragically died.
Members of the crew tell TMZ ... producers brought in drivers who are "authentic street racers" for the scene, where a souped-up yellow Chevelle races another car and dramatically pops a wheelie, as bystanders stand right by the track and cheer. A similar scene appeared in the first F&F.
The scene was being prepped for several days. Vin Diesel and other stars were there. But just before filming, we're told the suits from Universal abruptly cancelled the shoot, saying it was too dangerous.
Someone who was at the track tells TMZ ... a person from the production told some staffers they couldn't get the proper insurance to shoot the race.
But the word circulating among the staff is that they are extremely cautious because of what happened to the star of their movie. They believe a second crash -- even though Paul's was not film-related -- could jeopardize the entire franchise.
Paul Walker's Brother
Shooting Unfinished 'Fast and Furious' Scenes
5/20/2014 5:37 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker's brother Cody made Malibu beachgoers do a double take Monday as he shot scenes with Tyrese, Vin Diesel, Ludacris and Michelle Rodriguez for "Fast and Furious 7."
Cody is filling in the gaps ... shooting Paul's unfinished scenes. As TMZ first reported, Cody and his brother Caleb will also do voice work to match Paul.
Walker died November 30 while the film was still in production.
I'm Hurtin' For Cash Because Of Paul Walker's Death
2/20/2014 7:31 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Ludacris can't afford to pay thousands of dollars in child support -- and he's blaming his financial woes on the death of his "Fast and Furious" co-star Paul Walker.
Ludacris was in court Wednesday with his baby mama, Tamika Fuller ... who's demanding Luda pay her $15K a month to take care of his 2-month-old baby daughter, Cai.
But Luda went to court and told the judge ... he was counting on "Fast and Furious 7" money to make his payments, and the movie is now on hold so his payday went away.
Luda claims he can only pay $1,800 a month -- confessing he only made around $55K for 2013.
The judge split the baby down the middle, ordering Luda to pay 7K a month for now ... while hizzoner reviews all the financial docs.
By the way ... Tyrese also claimed relative poverty in his child support case because of Walker's death.
Paul Walker Dragged Into Nasty Custody Battle
2/1/2014 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Tyrese Gibson claims his baby mama is using Paul Walker's death to shame him in their child custody war ... TMZ has learned.
Norma Gibson filed court docs claiming Tyrese is a bad dad, who should have stayed in L.A. to spend time with their 6-year-old daughter after Paul Walker's death ... because he had time on his hands since "Fast & Furious 7" was put on hold.
Norma says Tyrese blew off his little girl, choosing instead to go "gallivanting throughout Dubai ... staying in expensive hotels ... partying on yachts, sky-diving with other movie stars, driving expensive cars, and making special appearances in night clubs."
But sources close to Tyrese say he's indignant Norma is using Paul ... and he went to Dubai on business. He had 4 gigs and he needed the money -- ironically to pay the child support Norma was demanding.
The court battle rages on later this month ... when they each try and convince a court-appointed child evaluator who's good and who's evil.