Vin Diesel filmography and biography
Date of birth: 18 July 1967, New York City, New York, USA
Vin Diesel biography
Vin's father taught theatre. His mother was a psychologist and
astrologist. Other than revealing that Vincent is his real last name,
he won't talk about much of the rest of his early life. Vin dropped out
of college to make _Multi-Facial (1994)_, a short about a struggling
actor that played in Cannes in 1995, which eventually got
Steven Spielberg's attention. Spielberg then cast him in
Saving Private Ryan and Vin's career was launched.
Vin Diesel was raised by his astrologer/psychologist mother and adoptive
father in an artist's housing project in New York's Greenwich Village,
never knowing his biological father. His first break in acting happened
by chance, when at the age of seven he and his friends broke into a
theatre to vandalize it. A woman stopped them and offered them each a
script and $20, on the condition that they would attend everyday after
school. From there, Vin's fledgling career progressed from the New York
repertory company run by his father, to the Off-Off-Broadway circuit.
At 17 and already sporting a well-honed physique, he became a bouncer
at some of New York's hippest clubs to earn himself some extra cash. It
was at this time that he changed his name to Vin Diesel.
Following high school, Vin enrolled as an English major at Hunter College, but dropped out after three years to go to Hollywood to further his acting career. Being an experienced theatre actor did not make any impression in Hollywood and after a year of struggling to make his mark, he returned to New York. His mother then gave him a book called "Feature Films at used Car Prices" by Rick Schmidt. The book showed him that he could take control of his career and make his own movies. He wrote a short film based on his own experiences as an actor, called Multi-Facial, which was shot in less than three days at a cost of $3,000. Multi-Facial was eventually accepted for the 1995 Cannes Film Festival where it got a tumultuous reception.
Afterwards, Vin returned to Los Angeles and raised almost $50,000 through telemarketing to fund the making of his first feature, Strays. Six months after shooting, the film was accepted for the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and although it received a good reception, it didn't sell as well as hoped. Yet again Vin returned disappointed to New York only to receive a dream phone call. Steven Spielberg was impressed by Multi-Facial and wanted to meet Vin, leading him to be cast in Saving Private Ryan. Multi-Facial earned Vin more work, when the director of The Iron Giant saw it and decided to cast Vin in the title role. From there, Vin's career has steadily grown, with him securing his first lead role as 'Richard B Riddick' in the sci-fi film Pitch Black. That role has earned him a legion of devoted fans and the public recognition he deserves.
Vin Diesel trivia
- He worked as a bouncer in New York at the famous nightclubs Tunnel (which has since closed) and Mars.
- Has a fraternal twin brother, Paul Vincent (IV), who is a film editor.
- Has an Italian Mastiff named "Roman".
- Has a younger sister, Samantha and a younger brother in addition to his fraternal twin, Paul.
- Ranked #46 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #95 in 2002.
- He's an admitted fan of "Dungeons and Dragons", and, according to an interview on Late Night with Conan OBrien that he played for 24 years.
- Was offered the role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Daredevil that eventually went to Ben Affleck.
- He is bi-racial, being half African-American and half Italian American
- Producing partner with George Zakk. Their company is called One Race Productions.
- Wrote an original screenplay titled "Doormen" (based on his experiences as a bouncer) as a follow-up to Strays, his directorial debut. However, his acting career exploded and his plans to direct the film have fallen by the wayside.
- During his teens, he performed breakdancing in an instructional video on the subject.
- Credits the book "Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices" by Rick Schmidt as the one resource above all upon which he built his career. This book, according to Diesel, gave him the tools, knowledge, and most importantly, the inspiration to develop his short film Multi-Facial, which he wrote, produced, directed and starred in.
- He was cast opposite Ben Affleck in Reindeer Games, but left the production shortly after filming began over concerns with the quality of Ehren Kruger's screenplay and creative differences with director John Frankenheimer.
- Revolution Studios wanted him for the title role in Hellboy, but director Guillermo del Toro thought that Ron Perlman was the perfect choice for the role, and wouldn't direct the movie if he wasn't cast.
- Was listed as a potential nominee on both the 2003 and 2004 Razzie Award nominating ballots. He was listed as a suggestion for the Worst Actor category on the 2003 ballot for his performances in the films Knockaround Guys and xXx. And was listed as a suggestion again on the nominating ballot in the Worst Actor category the next year for his role in A Man Apart. He did not receive either nomination. The following year though, he finally received his first Razzie nomination for Worst Actor in the film The Chronicles of Riddick. However he didn't "win".
- Is the cousin of rapper/producer Kwame (I) "The Boy Genius". Kwame says if you watch his old videos, you'll see Vin in a few of them.
- Once worked as a telemarketer, selling light bulbs.
- In addition to being considered for the role of Hellboy in 2004, he was also considered for the part of Abe Sapien.
- He gained 35 pounds so he could portray "Fat Jackie" in Find Me Guilty.
- Attended Hunter College and got his jump start by Steven Spielberg just like fellow actors Sam Feuer and Edward Burns (I).
- He and his girlfriend, Paloma JimÃ©nez (I), welcomed their first child, a girl, on April 2nd, 2008.
- Started the video game company Tigon Studios in 2002. They in turn worked on the movie based game The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004) (VG). Tigon Studios is now working on more next gen games as well as having a hand in all Vin Diesel-based games.
- Revealed that the daughter he welcomed in April 2008, is named Hania Riley. [September 2008].
- Wrote a three-page letter to director Steven Spielberg expressing his admiration for his work, particularly Schindlers List. Spielberg was impressed with the heartfelt prose, prompting him to invite Diesel into the star-studded cast of Saving Private Ryan.
- Lives in Los Angeles, California.
Vin Diesel quotes
- Well, I've worked out for years. For a long time it was my only sense of gratification.
- I would get into fights with other bouncers when a guy was already on the floor and the other guys thought it was alright to jump up in the air and land on the guy's head.
- why he didn't do the "Fast and the Furious" sequel] I was being offered three franchises at the same time - Pitch Black, xXx and The Fast and the Furious -- and I had to choose. I couldn't do all three. [he has since appeared in sequels to all three franchises]
- [on the xXx poster and what it means for his career] This isn't a poster. This is a declaration of war!
- [on his mysterious ethnicity] I am definitely a person of color.
- [on the planned "Chronicles of Riddick" trilogy] We gave the script to the studio, I bought three leather binders. One said C1, one said C2 and one said C3. They all had locks on them and we only gave the key to C1 to the studio"
- In the next film, Riddick is going to go to the underverse. Riddick will act with new elementals. Not air elementals [as Judi Dench's character is] but fire and water. It'll come full circle in C3 when he must return to Furia.
- [on The Chronicles of Riddick] The concept behind switching genres was to create a film that you could continue exploring. In the ending of this movie, it's not just something that says we're opening it up so we can tell another story, it's very specific. A very daring ending because it's left open-ended.
- From the very very beginning, when everyone thought it was crazy, I was thinking of The Chronicles of Riddick as a trilogy. That would start with the movie you saw, and Pitch Black would act as a prequel that introduced you to the character. So in simple terms, in Chronicles 2 we venture to the Underverse. We knew we could get away with a PG-13 on the first one, but once you go to the Underverse it's rated R, because it's a place where war is the norm and there is constant, constant battling. Then on Chronicles 3 we will see Riddick return to Furia, to deal with the homeland.
- I was a bouncer for nine years - it was all I knew how to do - and my training was not to talk loosely . . . That's still my thought process: Shut your mouth, watch your back and keep working 'til your ass falls off.