By María Estevez, MWN
The blinds half-closed, the dim light playing with the shadows of the sunset… in an armchair in front of the window, a man meditates in silence. It is Vin Diesel. He dilutes fiction to give us a lesson of reality. Even his smile is not convincing. A victim of an ego fed by admirers who applaud him for every film he releases, sitting in his armchair with his eyes among the dust motes, Diesel proves that he is a man of flesh and blood trapped by circumstances.
With the release of F9, the latest installment of the Fast and the Furious film saga, quickly approaching, Metro had a chance to sit down with Vin Diesel.
How does it feel to have made an action movie career.
I like to shoot action scenes because that’s what the audience likes. But in all my films there is heart, there is emotion, there is a community that becomes family of the characters. I think it’s important to leave a mark within the franchises.
This genre has brought you great successes and terrible failures.
I don’t think you have to blame the genre itself. I’ve been very lucky as an actor. I’ve been able to work with directors like Sidney Lumet and those kinds of opportunities are more important than whether or not an action film does well at the box office.
After the success of The Fast and the Furious, Hollywood made you the big action star.
Fame is a two-edged sword. The more successful your movie is, the more famous you are. The more famous you are, though, the bigger the fall. I don’t think many people have followed me since I started, for the vast majority of the public I’m a star that came up with ‘The Fast and the Furious.’ However, no one can deny me because to carve a niche for myself in this industry, I have directed and produced very successfully.
Do you shoot action scenes with a stunt double?
I shoot as many as I can, but there is always a double. Everyone has to know their limits. I’ve already shot ten ‘Fast and Furious’ movies and I’m responsible enough to know what I can and can’t do.
What drives you to shoot these films?
I have a couple of problems. The first one is that people tend to forget that I’m an actor. They think I’m actually capable of shooting dangerous scenes. When they say to me, “Hey Vin, you can do this.” I’m embarrassed to answer, “No, it’s too dangerous.” And I end up doing what I don’t really want to do. That’s my fault. In ‘Fast and Furious’ I dared to shoot action scenes that scared me and led me to think I’m pretty stupid for shooting them.
What does it mean to you to be a producer?
It means that I have a direct line to the studio and they don’t have to see me just as an actor. In my case, I would never have shot another ‘Fast and Furious’ unless I was a producer because it’s not just about the money, it’s about the quality of the scripts.
Do you enjoy your tough guy image?
I’m a sensitive guy and that image doesn’t match reality, but I’m also a tough guy. My mother would say that being raised on the streets of New York made me a formidable guy who knows how to protect his sensitive side. I couldn’t be an artist without understanding my emotions, which I embrace and protect. When I was young and didn’t know my place, I had a hard time recognizing my sensitivity. There was no space to be sensitive. My great luck is to have a family that has always been able to remind me of my place, my humble origins and to separate what is right from what is wrong.
What is it about this character that you identify with?
I guess I identify with a lot of different things. I’ve been very fortunate to have been successful in this industry. And someone might realize that everything I do comes from the heart, just like the character.
F9 opens in theaters June 25.