Vin Diesel talks Fast 9: “There is a moment when you dont know where your life ends and the movie starts”

Vin Diesel’s career is fascinating. The actor was once a struggling New York artist, trying to find his way in the movie industry. With little success, Diesel decided to write, direct, produce, score, and star in a short film about a struggling actor. The result was Multi-Facial, a 20-minute semi-autobiographical wonder that played at Cannes Film Festival. Steven Spielberg later saw the film and wrote a part in Saving Private Ryan specifically for Diesel. Not a bad calling card.

Diesel has had a long, box-office-breaking career since then, leading the Fast and Furious, xXx, and Riddick franchises, as well as being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the voice of Groot, and with an upcoming role in Avatar 2. 

With Fast and Furious 9 now in cinemas, GamesRadar+ had the chance to briefly catch up with Diesel, asking a few questions about the new release as well as getting an update on the future of the Riddick franchise. Here’s our short Q&A.

Gamesradar+: You’ve played Dom for so long and I feel like the biggest recent change within him has been becoming a father. He’s no longer a quarter-mile at a time guy.  What’s your take on that? 

Diesel: I think for decades if you looked up the word ‘brotherhood’ in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Dom and Brian, and, we in this ninth chapter, allow our characters to truly evolve in a real way. And that means you’re transitioning into fatherhood. So all of this, the whole chapter, this whole ninth film really is about fatherhood. What’s so remarkable is that we take a scene from 20 years ago, where Dom and Brian are talking about his Charger, and what it represents to Dom. And for decades, we’ve assumed that the car only represented the loss of his father. And in this chapter, we realize it also represents a broken brotherhood, the past, and how we reconcile that is part of what this chapter is about.

Vin Diesel and John Cena in Fast & Furious 9

(Image credit: Universal)

The introduction of John Cena’s Jacob, and those flashbacks to before The Fast and the Furious, they reframe the first movie in a way that’s very interesting.

I never imagined that in the ninth chapter that we would actually go so far in the past to actually predate the movie that started this all 20 years ago.

You’ve come a long way from stealing DVD players. 

Yeah we have, yeah we have. 

Dom’s been with you for so long, I’m guessing it must feel like the character has become part of the fabric of who you are? What’s the process of finding new elements of Dom to explore?

Ah, my father was an acting teacher and a theatre director. And we would often have thespians over for dinner. And they, more often than not, would talk about the different processes of method acting or what have you. He recently said to me something that none of them have ever entertained, ‘What would it be like to play a character on screen for 20 years? And what would that process be?’ And I can say that you do pull from real life. And there is a moment when you don’t know where your life ends and the movie starts. And, literally, there are scenes that are pulled from my children. So, I love that scene where Dom’s putting his son to sleep and a son says, ‘Daddy, do you know where God is?’ And then points to my heart. That was something that my daughter did when I was putting her to sleep. I never would have thought of that poetry. It was such a special moment. I felt like it was representative of the Fast universe somehow. And so it’s in the movie.

Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick

(Image credit: Universal)

As well as Fast, you have the Riddick franchise, which has been both in the movies and the games, with the gaming prequel Escape From Butcher Bay. What’s going on with Riddick 4? And will there be another game?

It’s so funny, I was just wearing my Furyion shirt. [Riddick director] David Twohy, he wrote a great script. It’s just a matter of timing when we get that opportunity to shoot that. But I believe we’re shooting that in Australia. And it would be the fourth chapter in that series, which would be awesome. And we did have great success with Escape From Butcher Bay. It feels like an eternity ago now. But, I imagine that we would take advantage of the gaming space and add an extra chapter, but definitely, the [movie’s] script is already written. So it’s safe to say that we are moving towards filming the fourth chapter of Riddick.

Fast and Furious 9 is in cinemas now. For more from Diesel, be sure to check out our feature on the making of Fast and Furious 9, including interviews with Diesel, John Cena, and director Justin Lin.

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