Why I Love... Vin Diesel


30th August 2005

Although it pains me to say it, times have changed since the glory days of the 80's, when Arnie and Sly were kings of all they surveyed. Our mobile phones have got smaller, our jacket sleeves have been reluctantly rolled down and we're only allowed to enjoy Duran Duran in an 'ironic' way. Saddest of all, our action heroes are, frankly, a bit rubbish. Bruce Willis got old and started looking worryingly like Gary McAllister, Russell Crowe does his best, but is all too mortal and human, and I'm pretty sure that even I could take Will Smith. One man, however, has the balls to take Arnie's mantle and offers a lot more besides. That man is Vin Diesel.

Vin Diesel fact # 6342: Vin Diesel once talked an Amish housewife into buying a toaster.

Vin Diesel has so much more to offer than any of the other pretenders. In terms of manly names, he can only be challenged by The Rock. In the real-name tiebreaker, Vin's 'Mark Vincent', although disappointingly dull, is far more favourable than The Rock's rather geeky 'Dwayne Johnson' in the passport embarrassment stakes. Also, whilst The Rock suggests a hulking but immobile brute, Vin Diesel suggests a finely tuned shite-movie machine. There is, however, more to the great man than meets the eye.

Vin Diesel fact # 4783: Mt Rushmore was born when Vin Diesel had sex with the Statue of Liberty.

Mr Diesel, you see, has a much more complex background than your average action hero. It seems that he started out on his career with rather noble intentions, as noted in the 1994 short film Multi-Facial. Vin, being mixed-race himself, plays a struggling actor who finds it impossible to get a part because he doesn't look black/Jewish/Italian enough. My God, doesn't it sound so modern and worthy it just hurts? Our Vin is quite a keen writer, director and producer, and indeed has his own production company, One Race Productions, whose credits include the fantastic sounding Strays, 'a kind of multi-cultural Saturday Night Fever.' Which stars Vin Diesel. Rumours that he dances like David Brent are, as yet, unfounded.

Vin Diesel fact # 2297: Vin Diesel has shaken hands with every member of The Beatles. Except Ringo because he doesn't like him.

As well as a burning desire to create noble works of racially aware cinema, it transpires that Vin Diesel is also an uber-nerd, being a keen player of Dungeons & Dragons. This is a fact he seems worryingly proud of, given his constant mentioning of it in interviews and numerous references in his films (in xXx, he has a tattoo reading 'Melkor', the name of one of his old characters). What's this? An action hero who enjoys role-playing games? Calm down nerds, he still hasn't made it cool.

Vin Diesel fact # 1328: Vin Diesel was undefeated over the first four seasons of Jeopardy. He was allowed to keep the trophy, and it is now on display in his bidet.

Vin Diesel also possesses that other quality so important in true megastars - the ego-fuelled vanity project. Soon after Vin realised that he was heading more down the Steven Seagal path than the Steven Spielberg one, he bagged a key role in Pitch Black, an enjoyable although hardly world-changing movie, where he played dangerous convict Riddick. Whilst most actors would be glad for this break and get right on the phone to Marty Scorsese, Vin decided that this character was worthy of a new franchise ' the pretentiously titled The Chronicles of Riddick. Cue talk of back-to-back filming, a brand new breed of antihero, and of Pitch Black being 'like The Hobbit to the new films' Fellowship of the Ring.' Of course, Riddick died on its arse at the box office, but bless him if our V-man isn't still struggling away, desperate to complete his trilogy, even if it leads him to Battlefield Earth career oblivion.

Vin Diesel fact # 8837: Vin Diesel patented the US Patent Office, and earns a 2% royalty on all patents.

So there you have it, just some of the reasons why we should all love Vin Diesel. He has a ridiculous manly name to match his gravelly voice. He plays Dungeons & Dragons, but also manages to have a relationship with a real woman (allegedly). He wants to be a revered and thought-provoking writer, but looks like he'll have to settle for 3v3n Fast3r And Furious3r for the time being. I love Vin Diesel, and you should too.

Vin Diesel fact # 3326 : Vin Diesel's car insurance actually went up after he joined Admiral.

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