Monthly Biography: Vin Diesel
Our latest monthly biography will be taking a look at a star who has found himself committed to many franchise movies over the years, leaving little room for other projects. That man is Vin Diesel, an actor who has made most of his money through the likes of Riddick and the Fast series. With his latest film soon to hit theatres we thought we would take a closer look at the hard man.
For his first step into the world of film, Vin found himself starring in front and behind the camera for Strays. The film was written, directed and starred himself which we suppose is an appropriate way to get yourself noticed in the film world. If no one else will cast you, simply cast yourself. For Vin this actually worked as his next role was in the Steven Spielberg epic, Saving Private Ryan starring alongside the likes of Tom Hanks and Matt Damon. Vin is better known for his later films so it always gives a shock when you watch Saving Private Ryan and see him in it.
His film to follow on from his smaller role in Spielberg’s classic was Boiler Room, where he played a much larger role alongside Giovanni Ribisi (also in Saving Private Ryan) and Ben Affleck. This certainly showed a sign of progression. It may have been a smaller film but it was a much bigger role.
After Boiler Room was when he really became established and may have become slightly stereotyped. Due to his muscular physique he was cast as Riddick in Pitch Black. Riddick is a convicted killer who escapes a spaceship after it crashes onto a distant planet, however the other survivors needn’t worry about Riddick it is the other inhabitants. This forces Riddick to become an anti-her, which spawned a sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, and a third film, Riddick (released later this year).
Studios must have enjoyed is foray as a leading action man as his follow up movies were The Fast and the Furious, a film he is known best for, and xXx. These two films needed him to do what he had proven to do in Pitch Black, be a hard arse no one particularly likes before turning into the hero everyone loves. As you are all aware the ‘Fast’ franchise has gone on to be huge and although Diesel didn’t return for the second, and only a small cameo for the third, he has reinstated himself as the big player in the fourth, fifth and sixth instalments. He has helped them get better as they go along. xXx also spawned a sequel but unfortunately Diesel didn’t return, however a third has been announced and Diesel is to lead.
He has also found himself in kiddies flick The Pacifier and other typical action movies possibly hoping for sequels like Babylon A.D and A Man Apart, however it will be the ‘Fast’ series that people know him for and ultimately it is what Diesel does best. He has put plenty of work into the series (producing the last three) and has shown that some franchises can get better with age. For the ladies I also believe he isn’t bad to look at.
On why he didn’t do 2 Fast 2 Furious, ’I was being offered three franchises at the same time - Pitch Black (2000), xXx (2002) and The Fast and the Furious (2001) — and I had to choose. I couldn’t do all three.’
On whether or not he is really a hard man (I would say he is), ‘I would get into fights with other bouncers when a guy was already on the floor and the other guys thought it was alright to jump up in the air and land on the guy’s head.’
On why he isn’t a hard man no more, ‘With age, you get to a place where you don’t want to knock people out. You just want to give people a hug.’
On his mysterious ethnicity, ‘I am definitely a person of colour.’
Revolution Studios wanted him for the title role in Hellboy (2004), but director Guillermo del Toro thought that Ron Perlman was the perfect choice for the role, and wouldn’t direct the movie if he wasn’t cast.
Wrote a three-page letter to director Steven Spielberg expressing his admiration for his work, particularly Schindler’s List (1993). Spielberg was impressed with the heartfelt prose, prompting him to invite Diesel into the star-studded cast of Saving Private Ryan (1998).
He is bi-racial, being half African-American and half Italian American.
He was cast opposite Ben Affleck in Deception (2000), but left the production shortly after filming began over concerns with the quality of Ehren Kruger’s screenplay and creative differences with director John Frankenheimer.
Used to be a bouncer.
Vin Diesel was believed to be his name when he was a bouncer. His actual name is Mark Vincent.
If you rearrange the letters in Vin Diesel it reveals his credo: “I End Lives.”
He has a twin brother named Paul Vincent. Surely every ladies dream!!
Vin has announced at CinemaCon that they plan to have Fast and Furious 7 released in July 2014. I think they had better get their skates on then, the sixth hasn’t been released yet. Diesel has claimed that with these movies they have always been thinking three ahead.
First Screen Appearance: Awakenings (Penny Marshall, 1990)
Most Recent Screen Appearance: Fast & Furious 5 (Justin Lin, 2011)
Next Project: Fast & Furious 6 (Justin Lin, 2013)
Information is abstracted from various internet sources.