Vin Diesel has certainly made a name for himself with his unusually creative stunts in the Fast and Furious films. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he performs voice work for the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot. However, did you know that he was also a director?
Yes, before the fast cars and giant ferrite machines, Vin Diesel had a short tango with the director’s chair. His first credit was a 1995 short called Multi-Facial which he also starred in. He followed that up with a feature in 1997 called Strays which debuted at Sundance. Around that time, Steven Spielberg was looking for talent to star in his war drama, Saving Private Ryan, and having been impressed by Diesel’s work in Multi-Facial, hired the actor. This was a particularly golden moment for Diesel as his career skyrocketed right after that.
Speaking to The National while promoting his work on Bloodshot¸ the conversation landed on Diesel’s directorial career, during which he mentioned a recent encounter he had with Steven Spielberg.
“Speaking of Steven Spielberg, I saw him recently, and he had said to me, “When I wrote the role for you in Saving Private Ryan, I was obviously employing the actor, but I was also secretly championing the director in you, and you have not directed enough. That is a crime of cinema and you must get back in the directing chair.” I haven’t directed enough”, Diesel said.
Diesel also spoke of his long-time passion to helm a film about Hannibal Barca, the Carthaginian general and statesman who led his troops to multiple victories during the Punic Wars.
“I haven’t done it yet. As much as I am grateful for the accomplishments, there are moments where I go “God, you promised the universe very specifically, the Hannibal Barca trilogy, and you haven’t delivered it.” You travelled all over the world. I was in Egypt, in Tunisia, I was in Spain. I crossed the Alps where Hannibal did. I did so much research for this, but I still haven’t carved out the time to do it.”
He also commented on the potential sunset of theatres, with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu gaining popularity.
“There’s the threat to the cinematic experience, and when you make movies like Bloodshot or Fast 9, you are protecting that thing that might not be here forever, and that’s the cinematic social experience. Although I have to do that, I have to continue the director’s journey at some point.”
Who knows? In the future, Vin Diesel will finally get behind the camera and shoot the films he has been intending to create for so long. After all, he’s got the legendary Steven Spielberg to back him up. But for now, he has a mission: to keep us, his “family”, entertained in theatres.