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November 2004
The Chronicles of Riddick: An Interview with Vin Diesel

The Chronicles of Riddick: An Interview with Vin Diesel

By Wilson Morales

In what seems to be a growing trend, actors and directors are giving more of themselves when it comes to the promotion of the DVD release of their films. Vin Diesel hasn't had a lot of films to his credit when compared to Tom Hanks, Sly Stallone, and Arnold S., but he has given lots of his time to one of the characters he played, Riddick. Not only has he appeared in the original film, "Pitch Black", he also voiced the character for an animation video. Currently he's doing commentary on the DVD for "The Chronicles of Riddick".

You don't seem like your happy go lucky self.

Vin Diesel: You have to forgive me. I am in a different mode than (Chronicles of) Riddick because I have been working with (director) Sidney Lumet (Find Me Guilty) so I have been lost in this Jackie DiNorscio character. In fact this is the first day that I've actually walked out of my apartment. The character I'm playing has been incarcerated for many years defending him and twenty other mobsters that are on trial. I have been lost in that world so forgive me for my character.

What has the experience been like so far working with Sidney Lumet?

Vin Diesel: It has been such an intense process. Probably the most amazing thing is when I started directing back in 1993 when I did the short film Multi Facial and then directed the feature, I used Sidney Lumet's book as a guide in directing. So to come back ten years later and be shooting with this guy who gave me so much information in his books is really exceptional.

What was it about Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick that made him so likable?

A: My mom said something interesting about the Riddick character. She said that unlike these other characters that kind of go through life promising to save you, Riddick makes no promises whatsoever and then miraculously saves the day.

What did you like about Judi Dench who starred with you in The Chronicles of Riddick?

Vin Diesel: Her character was actually written initially as a male character and I wanted to work with Judi Dench so bad that I flew out to London and I saw her in a play with Maggie Smith. I did what any guy would do if they're trying to win this majestic woman over; I filled her dressing room with flowers. She couldn't open the door without stepping on her flowers. I think that set the stage for a promising relationship. I think she's very sexy. She's sexy in her confidence. She has this regal, majestic feel. She's incredibly beautiful. This has this nurturing aura. And she's funny. The funniest thing was she came over to my house for dinner. She wore this shirt that said Diesel across the chest as a joke. Then we started reading Dungeons and Dragons books together. We were intensely getting into the mythology of Chronicles of Riddick.

What other roles did your mom approve of you doing?

Vin Diesel: My mom is googoo gaga about me working with Sidney Lumet. My mom loved the fact that after coming home from The Pacifier I was telling her I was ready to have kids! On The Pacifier I worked with five kids. My mom is a pretty good fan as far as fans go. She loved Iron Giant. I'm lucky I have a very supportive mother.

You must be excited to finally be making Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who rode an elephant across the Alps to attack Rome in the 3rd Century B.C. Wasn't it a dream project for you?

Vin Diesel: This is a bracelet I wear (small silver elephants enclosed in squares) until my dream of Hannibal is manifested. I'm very lucky to have a man that did the storyboards for Gladiator on the project. I'm very lucky to have a script penned by David Franzoni (who wrote screenplay for Gladiator) and I've been in soft pre-production for about two years on this project to make the budget a little bit more responsible. I've already been riding elephants which is an incredible experience.

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