We’ll have to wait until next year to see him behind the wheel as Dominic Toretto in the new Fast and Furious movie, but this weekend he returns to theatres as Richard B. Riddick, anti-hero of the Pitch Black series of films and video games.
In Riddick, his fourth outing as the mercenary-turned-enforcer, he has been double-crossed and left for dead.
Diesel loves playing Riddick. “I know it sounds corny but I feel like I learn about myself when I play that character,” he says.
But he’s also created some other memorable characters.
Critics and audiences first took notice of Diesel as Private Caparzo in Saving Private Ryan. He says winning the role was “like one of those Hollywood fairy tales that you never believed.”
Director Steven Spielberg saw Multi-Facial, an über low budget short film directed by and starring Diesel.
The ET director was so taken with the young actor’s performance that he had a role specially written for him. The result was an effective performance that mixed physicality with poignancy.
Diesel lent his distinctive gravelly voice to the title character in the animated film The Iron Giant.
Directed by Brad Bird, the story of a lonely boy who discovers a 50-foot, metal-eating robot who fell from space, failed at the box office but has a 97 per cent Rotten Tomatoes rating.
His searing portrayal of streetwise stockbroker Chris Varick in the 2000 stockbroker drama Boiler Room garnered him considerable critical praise.
Roger Ebert wrote, “Diesel is interesting. Something will come of him,” and New York Times critic A.O. Scott said the actor, “may be the sexiest ugly man in movies since Anthony Quinn.”
Knockaround Guys is a coming-of-age story with a gangland twist. The four sons (Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper, and Andrew Davoli) of Brooklyn mobsters band together to reclaim a quarter of a million dollars lost in a small town run by a crooked sheriff (Tom Noonan).
Diesel oozes charisma in a so-so film, tossing off tough guy lines like, “That’s about the only thing you can count on in this life, there’s nobody that wouldn’t hurt you … if it helped them,” with ease.
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