Most people know Vin Diesel as the bald-headed action hero that tends to take himself very seriously on the big screen and enjoys wearing tank tops, mumbling about family and almost exclusively starring in franchises, but there are many more strings to his bow. As well as acting as the creative driving force behind the Fast and Furious series, the 52 year-old also produces the vast majority of his output through his One Race Films company, founded both the Racetrack Records label and video game developers Tigon Studios, and is also a lifelong fan of Dungeons & Dragons.
After years of struggling to break into the movie business during the early years of his career, Diesel managed to get his foot in the Hollywood door by writing, directing and producing the low budget short Multi-Facial in 1995 and the feature length Strays in 1997. These independent projects caught the eye of Steven Spielberg, who went on to cast him in Saving Private Ryan in what turned out to be the breakthrough role for the unknown actor, and the catalyst for his eventual success.
In a recent interview looking back at his career, Diesel revealed that he had recently spoken to the legendary director and Spielberg admitted his disappointment that the Riddick star hadn’t been getting behind the camera enough since they worked together two decades previously.
“Speaking of Steven Spielberg, I saw him recently, and he 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.”
Whether those are the exact words that came out of Spielberg’s mouth are up for debate, but it’s nonetheless been a long time since Vin Diesel directed anything, with his only effort in the last two decades being Fast and Furious short film Los Bandoleros, which appeared on the home video release of the fourth installment in 2011. Once his signature franchise wraps up with the tenth entry though, maybe he’ll finally listen to one of the greatest of all time and start wielding the megaphone more often.