August 2002
An Interview with Vin Diesel

Interviewed by Monikka Stallworth

An Interview with Vin Diesel

A one-time bouncer, Vin Diesel is destined for super-stardom with the upcoming release of XXX. In person, Vin surpasses expectation, leaving skid marks on those that focus solely on his good looks and physical prowess and underestimate his drive, passion and intellect. Dedicated to the craft of movie making and excited about his burgeoning career, Vin is carving a place for his celluloid dreams in Hollywood (and I’m wiping the drool from my chin). We met at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

MS: The character you portray in XXX (Xander) is really confident, are you that confident?

VD: I think I’ve had to rely on my confidence because so much of my life, I’ve had nothing else. Not that I don’t have my insecurities. The building blocks of that confidence are bricks of insecurities.

MS: The women in the audience, they screamed every time you took your shirt off, they went wild…

VD: Is that a bad thing?

MS: I guess not, but how do you react to that?

VD: I wasn’t in the theater, I haven’t seen XXX with anybody.

MS: But when you hear that you’re becoming a huge sex symbol, how do you react? Is it a surprise the way it’s kind of developed?

VD: A little bit, you know, as a kid I wasn’t a pretty boy. I was never being chased by women, so I guess it’s a different thing.

MS: Do you find it very difficult?

VD: My life sucks. (Laughter)

MS: Over the past few days, there’s been a huge buzz – “Vin Diesel’s the new action star, Vin Diesel is Hollywood’s new sex symbol, Vin Diesel is Hollywood’s first multi-racial action hero…”

VD: That’s good – keep going.

MS: That you’re poised on the brink of super-stardom and I was wondering, do you accept all of those freely, do you welcome that?

VD: I don’t know if I’d have a say, one way or another. I literally go make movies that I hope will take you out of your reality for a couple of hours, that’s my sole objective as an actor, as a filmmaker, as somebody that’s been dedicated to this for almost 30 years.

MS: You were a bouncer for a few years? Has that experience helped you at all?

A: When you bounce for many years, you know how to speak in a way as amiable as possible, but there’s something that you can add to it that’s always threatening, always menacing and for a while there, bouncing was hurting me in auditions cause I would go in and be like “Hi, I’m Vin Diesel. I’m here for this role.” But it was like I had a nine-foot guerilla behind me saying that if you didn’t like me, I was going to beat the shit out of you. I was saying “Hi, my name is Vin Deisel,” the same way I would say “No you can’t come in tonight”. And so I had to lose that. But, I found that I was able to draw on that strength and conviction.

MS: You’ve said that you’d prefer to be called an actor than a “movie star” – is that correct?

VD: Yeah – ideally, but it doesn’t really matter that much to me. The key is that I have the ability to make movies, the idea that right now I can make a film called Hannibal and I can have the studio want to make a film called Hannibal – that’s the objective.

MS: So are you willing to lose those muscles and get really fat or really skinny for a role?

VD: Of course. Absolutely.

MS: What was it like working with Sam Jackson?

VD: Amazing. I met Sam shooting Saving Private Ryan in London. We met at a restaurant called Nobu and I didn’t know him and I sat down and I’m from New York and so when you’re from New York you order a California Roll and Miso Soup. And I ordered and he was sitting next to me and he said “Ah man, you gotta order something better than that. Where you from? New York?” And the waiter came over and he ordered for me and he ordered some great, weird, funky things, but it was good and we became friends and realized we had an affinity, we both had done theater. I was always a fan of his from early on I had followed his career. And then, this opportunity came up.

MS: Do you have any dream projects?

VD: Hannibal is very, very, very dear.