BBC UK InterviewFor Riddick 4.4MB
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BBC man: Vin Diesel is the star in a new film called The Chronicles of Riddick which is in your cinemas on August 27th. It's the follow-up to the hit film Pitch Black, and we can talk to Vin now – Vin, good afternoon.
Vin: Good afternoon.
BBC: How you doing?
Vin: I'm doing very, very well thank you.
BBC: Good, I'm pleased to hear it. Now, in the new film, Richard Riddick is now a hunted man, so what happens?
Vin: Well, we pick up Riddick after five years. He's been isolated on a frozen planet in a self-imposed exile, his philosophy being that if anyone's around him they will meet an immediate death, because of whatever reason, because people are hunting him constantly. The mercenaries, the bounty hunters of the universe, if you will, have been tracking Riddick all of his life, as you know from Pitch Black, and the Johns/Riddick relationship in Pitch Black. What we discover though, what's different about this movie is we are introduced to a universe and a mythology that governs that universe by this character Riddick that we were introduced to in the Pitch Black movie.
BBC: Now Pitch Black, in kind of big, Hollywood terms was a kind of a low-budget film. This one's a bit different, you've got a bit more money to spend haven't you?
Vin: Yeah! Pitch Black was a very, very modest film. When we did Pitch Black, we, uh I don't know, we maybe had $20 million and we went to a place called Coober Pedy, which is in the Outback in Australia, actually where Mad Max was filmed.
BBC: Oh was it? Oh right, yes, of course.
Vin: And Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It was a wonderful, wonderful location. It was, we shot on Aboriginal sacred ground, and there was a stone there called gypsum, which looks like a large plate of glass, and this stone was speckled all over this desert land. It really made for an incredible planet-looking environment.
BBC: And also, the extraordinary thing is in this film - you've got Dame Judi Dench.
Vin: Isn't that special?
BBC: How on earth did you get her involved in this? I know she's made a bit of a , you know, she's in the Bond films, but your films are a bit different aren't they?
Vin: Yeah, well this is a sci-fi/fantasy and what's so exciting about this movie, about going from Pitch Black which lived in the sci-fi/horror genre, and expanding it into a sci-fi/fantasy epic. One of the things that we needed was a voice of credibility. Who better to introduce the mythology than Judi Dench? So Dame Judi Dench, not only because she's been one of my favourite actors and on a personal level I wanted to work with her so much, but because we were introducing this mythology we needed somebody with a voice that was credible to introduce the mythology very quickly, she was the only person that could play the role of Aereon. So I flew out to London, saw her in a play with another great actor, Maggie Smith, and then showered her with flowers, so much so that she couldn't open up her dressing room door! I guess I resorted to the old tactics of chivalry! (laughing) But it was a wonderful thing when she actually joined us.
BBC: Well with that voice you've got, I can't think of anyone turning you down!
Vin: Oh, thank you! (quite high-pitched!)
BBC: That's a deep voice you've got there, isn't it?
Vin: Well you know, I do what I can with what little I have!
BBC: (laughing) It's a real growl!
BBC: It's scary, scary even to talk you, I tell you!
Vin: Well this is the only character that I've ever played, this is the only character I've ever seen, that calls for a constant growl. It's this beastial growl so on set it was not uncommon to hear Vin off to the side just doing the “mmmmm” (low growling sound). Of course in Pitch Black it took them about two months before they knew it was safe to walk within a five foot perimeter!
BBC: I tell you what, I know we haven't got long with you, but we've got lots of texts and emails come in, can I read you one from Alison...
BBC: ...who says, “I just want to thank Vin for motivating me to stay in college and to continue to obtain my degree. He has made me believe that dreams come true if you are determined and hard-working. Can you please say thank you to him for me?”
BBC: Now, she's obviously picking up something there. I know you majored in English at college. Did you not see that course through? Did you drop out to go into acting or what?
Vin: Yes, I dropped out, no, I didn't necessarily drop out, I went to college, I was an English major, quite honestly because I was horrible in English in High School. I couldn't be bothered in High School so I kinda made up for lost time in college. But I also became an English major because I had started acting at the age of seven and I spent many, many, many, many years working on the craft. But by the time I was 21, or 22 – in my mid-twenties – you know, no one was casting me in the movies that I wanted to be in! So as a tool of resourcefulness, or in an act of resourcefulness, I became an English major so I could, if worst came to worse, write my own scripts.
BBC: Which you've done with great success so far.
Vin: Yeah, well thank you. I've been able to write my own scripts which has allowed me to be in this industry. A painter can go off into his woodshed and paint, independent of everyone else, a musician can create songs by themselves, but an actor is really at the mercy of other artists, first and foremost the writer. And then the director, and then the producer, so what I guess, I think what she was responding to was the fact that as a person that always wanted to be an actor, I had to do whatever I could in order to fulfil my dream. I hope that that's the message. I gotta say, that letter that you read is so beautiful, and it's what it's all about.
BBC: Good stuff.
Vin: People are inspired to, if people are inspired to live out their dreams, what better compliment?
BBC: Well there you go. We've run out of time, it's a real, real shame. The Chronicles of Riddick, August 27th. I hope the film goes very, very well for you.
Vin: Thank you.
BBC: Thank you very much for your time. That's Vin Diesel.
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