Diesel in July 2013
July 18, 1967
Alameda County, California, United States
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director, screenwriter|
|Partner(s)||Paloma Jimenez (2007â€“present)|
It wasn't until I went to college and I got my first motorcycle that I understood the thrill of speed.
It's insecurity that is always chasing you and standing in the way of your dreams.
I'm not really afraid of the dark, except if I'm walking. The thing that scares me the most is the possibility of walking into a wall and busting my lip.
When I first did 'The Fast and the Furious', I didn't want there to be a sequel on the first one. I thought, 'Why would you rush to do a sequel – just because your first film is successful?'
It's like you have a child and you think, 'Everything that I've done up until this point is insignificant in comparison to being a father.' It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.
The thing I'm scared of most is not fulfilling my work. There's so much anxiety around trying to get a movie made that you don't really get to be afraid of anything else.
If you're the type of person who has to fulfill your dreams, you've gotta be resourceful to make sure you can do it. I came out to California when I was 21, thinking my New York credentials would take me all the way. I came back home a year later all dejected and a failure.
I try to create an environment where, when we step onto the set, we're all in character.
You live these three months in this reality, in this dark reality. You don't want to do those films every year because they're taxing. I started smoking a lot of cigarettes.
I was raised in New York City and raised in the New York City theater world. My father was a theater director and an acting teacher, and it was not uncommon for me to have long discussions about the method and what the various different processes were to finding a character and exploring character and realizing that character.
With age, you get to a place where you don't want to knock people out. You just want to give people a hug.
It's really bizarre because no one knows this, but elephants have killed more animal trainers than any other animal.
You make movies for the people. If critics happen to like them too, well, that's a home run.
I act because it's the one time I'm sure of my identity. There's no doubt. It's on paper.
For the 'Riddick' character, I try to get as ruthless as possible, and I want to be a machine.
I could care less about being an action actor like Stallone or Schwarzenegger.
I was walking around with the babies so much that when I got to the Sidney Lumet picture, I would be on set in between takes and I'd be rocking back and forth. Just standing like this rocking back and forth, and Sidney would say, Why are you walking like that in between takes?
Obviously, for me, story is first and foremost, even in the face of the attractive idea of having all the cast there, or having a great piece of talent come to it.
I've worked out for years. For a long time, it was my only sense of gratification.
The man who raised me is black. Culturally, he made me who I am. He was a theatre director, so he also guided me artistically.
It was interesting to do a completely fictional piece. You know, Saving Private Ryan was not a fictional piece! So the challenge was: How do you incorporate real emotions? How do you incorporate aspects that people are going to be able to identify with?
Filmmaking is such a collaborative piece of art that you can't look to one person – you couldn't look to me, you couldn't say, 'Because Vin's in it, it's this or that…' It's really all of us coming together for that period of time to try and make magic.
If Clark Gable had a Facebook page, there would have been a 'Gone with the Wind 2.'
A transvestite spends her entire life trying to look as feminine as possible and I have clearly spent mine celebrating my masculinity.
I always have issues with trust. I'm a New Yorker… Really, I think trust is something that comes from the gut. And I think you have to – it's probably the worst advice to give people – but I think you gotta trust people from your gut.
I am truly multi-racial. I never knew my biological father. I've always had less information than I would have liked to have had. All I know from my mother is that I have connections to many different cultures.
If you think about my filmography, I have never done a movie that a kid could go see, except for 'Iron Giant,' and I'm not even on the screen.
Film is my hobby, so I will work well through the night to develop films, whatever film I'm doing or dream projects I have.
My gut feeling about sequels is that they should be premeditated: You should try to write a trilogy first or at least sketch out a trilogy if you have any faith in your film.
None of the actor methods ever discussed what it would be like to play a character on film for over a decade, and what it must be like to return to a character and imagine the time off-screen, which is interesting. There's something as an actor that I enjoy about evolving characters.
I approach 'Fast & Furious 6' the same way I would approach a Sidney Lumet film. Getting into character's getting into character.
I grew up the son of an acting teacher, so I was kind of introduced to all of these various methods early… I've never been really good at articulating how, what that process is in the way that Stanislavsky could.
If you take my performance or my understanding of the role and my appreciation for story and then dress it in CGI, that I guess becomes an action film.
The video game culture was an important thing to keep alive in the film because we're in a new era right now. The idea that kids can play video games like Grand Theft Auto or any video game is amazing. The video games are one step before a whole other virtual universe.
It would be flattering to call it a modern Dirty Harry, but I think this film deals more with the loss of his wife than the traditional revenge vigilante films.
The only way anyone knows which girl I'm with is if a one-night stand goes on 'Howard Stern.'
When you go to the movies with your whole family, it's a different experience. For some reason, it's something that you're all doing together and you take away something special in that.
You know when something feels so good but you're afraid to feel good about it? So you kinda hold back? Everyone says, Congratulations, you must be so happy. And you say something stupid like, I'm just doing what little I can with what little I have.
I am flattered that they think that many people would enjoy my work. I don't approach any genre a different way than I may approach another one. I treat every role I do like a role worthy of applying whatever kind of tactic, process and talent I have.
When I got on the set of 'Saving Private Ryan,' I discovered, to my amazement, that Steven Spielberg is a gamer.
Most of my confidence came from being with ladies, because I certainly wasn't getting any acting jobs.
My mom used to say that I became a fighter and a scrapper and a tough guy to protect who I am at my core.
If you had asked me back in grade school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said my first choice was an actor, but if I couldn't be that, I'd want to be a superhero.
I don't think a lot of actors talk about it, but there's usually a process where you essentially purge yourself of the character that you played prior to the movie. That's the first thing. You want to do it.
I love thinking about the film, the project and committing myself as much as possible.
The films that I do are deep, introspective, brooding roles that you're in this heavy headspace all the time.
Every actor has their own process. For me, I really need to stay in the pocket. So, if I'm on set and I'm in character, I'm not thinking like a producer. If I'm on set and I'm not in character, wardrobe and make-up, and I'm just coming on set for the moments that I'm not shooting, then I'm able to be the producer.
My mother gave me this book called Feature Films at Used Car Prices by a guy named Rick Schmidt. I gotta credit the guy, cuz he gave me the most practical advice. It empowers you.
I do practice martial arts, more as a recreational thing, but a lot of my friends have been heavyweight champions the in mixed martial arts world.
I was the oldest of the children in my family. I had to do a lot of diaper-changing and lunch-making. I was taking my little sister to ballet, picking up my brother, sort of being a super-nanny.
It's hard for me to talk about Dom right now because I am Dom right now. So it's a really strange exercise to try to reflect on something that I am at the moment. But I guarantee you that when I'm done with the movie and you ask me that question, I'll be able to give you something insightful.
The thing that stood out above and beyond all the experiences was this relationship with the nine-month-old baby. On weekends, I'd be thinking about going back to set on Monday just to see the baby.
I grew up in an artists' community in New York, in a building that was government-subsidised for artists. No one made any money, but they made art for the sake of art.
The idea of exploring character relations and their development over a decade has to be appealing for any actor who cherishes his craft.
The whole year I was in LA I got into telemarketing and learned how to make money. Five years later that skill helped me make my first film.
The reality is that I always envisioned the 'Riddick' franchise as a continuing mythology, so I always imagined that there would be many other films to follow.
What was bizarre, when I was younger, I never watched TV. I would rather watch a movie 100 times than to watch a TV show, just to find another nuance. I can't tell you how many times I've watched 'On the Waterfront', just to find a flaw so that I can learn and try to improve my thing.
The second I walk onto the set and I know that there's a camera and I know that there's a David Twohy behind that camera, there is zero pressure. There is just me jumping into a pool called 'Riddick.' It's the most free I am. It's like channeling something.
I shaved my head about 15 years ago and the first time I shaved it, I started running my hand through my hair and it was very therapeutic.
I don't think a lot of actors talk about it, but there's usually a process where you essentially purge yourself of the character that you played prior to the movie.
When your co-stars are 9-month-old babies, you fall in love. You start thinking, When am I going to have my own?