Bald-headed behemoth Vin Diesel is one of the most recognizable actors in the world, having become synonymous with high-octane action movies thanks to roles in the likes of Pitch Black and the Fast and Furious franchise. Well-known for throwing punches and leaping from speeding car to speeding car, it seems that Diesel can do it all, and now, directing may well be in the actor's future. Not only does he have directing in his sights, but Diesel apparently also has the blessing of one of Hollywood's most beloved filmmakers, Steven Spielberg.
"Speaking of Steven Spielberg, I saw him recently, and he had said to me, 'When I wrote the role for you in Saving Private Ryan, I was obviously employing the actor, but I was also secretly championing the director in you, and you have not directed enough. That is a crime of cinema and you must get back in the directing chair. I haven't directed enough."
So, Spielberg thinks that Diesel not directing more is nothing less than a criminal act against cinema. It sounds like the action star best get in that directing chair very quickly, in that case. Prior to his 1997 feature directorial debut, Strays, Diesel helmed and starred in the 1995 short film Multi-Facial, a short film about the problems that accompany an actor as he auditions, due to his multi-ethnic appearance. The short film caught the eye of Steven Spielberg and led the director to cast Diesel in a supporting role in the much-celebrated 1998 war epic Saving Private Ryan.
Vin Diesel's feature-film directorial debut, Strays, was released in 1997 and follows a drug dealer and hustler who is fed up with the repetitious lifestyle he leads and begins looking for meaning in his life. When Diesel took the movie to the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, he ended up befriending another aspiring filmmaker at the time, one Jon Favreau.
"It's so funny, because we were both alumni at Sundance as filmmakers, and he goes off to do 'Lion King,' 'Iron Man,' and all these great movies. It's fascinating. I kind of go 'Steven is right.'"
Sadly, Strays was not particularly well-received critically or by audiences, which is in stark contrast to Multi-facial. Nevertheless, the fire seems to now be under Diesel, making it likely that he will once again put his eye to the camera once again. One particular directorial passion project that Diesel has harbored for some time is that of Hannibal Barca, the military general from Carthage who fought the Romans during the Second Punic War around 200 BC. Diesel spoke about this idea, which he has always envisioned as a trilogy.
"I haven't done it yet. As much as I am grateful for the accomplishments, there are moments when I go 'God, you promised the universe, very specifically, the Hannibal Barca trilogy, and you haven't delivered it. You travelled all over the world.'"
Diesel's most recent movie, the comic book action flick Bloodshot, was released early to digital and is now available to purchase, whilst the ninth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast 9 has been delayed a year due to current circumstances. This comes to us from The National.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Jaws, director Steven Spielberg‘s iconic film that ushered in the modern era of Hollywood blockbusters. But before the retrospective pieces begin rolling in, let’s look ahead to 2021, because that’s when a stage musical called Bruce, named after the constantly-malfunctioning mechanical shark which plagued Spielberg’s set, is set to open at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. And from the description of the play, it seems like Jaws fans from all over might want to plan on making a pilgrimage to Jersey to check this out in person.
Deadline brings word about this upcoming Jaws musical, which is officially described like this:
“Chronicling the making of an iconic movie, Bruce tells the story of then unknown director Steven Spielberg’s beleaguered film set and the challenges that thwarted his team at every turn, including the film’s star: an uncooperative mechanical shark named Bruce. At its heart, the show proves that when we are faced with hardship and work together as a team, great things can happen.”
That sounds…kind of great? I’ve seen several musical re-imaginings of classic movies on stage before, but never one with the meta approach of adapting the production of the film instead of the film itself. I’m extremely curious about the vision director and choreographer Donna Feore has for this – specifically if she intends to depict events that take place underwater. Richard Oberacker is writing the book and lyrics and Robert Taylor is handling the music; that duo previously worked together on a 2017 Broadway play called Bandstand. The story is based on Jaws screenwriter Carl Gottlieb‘s 1975 memoir The Jaws Log, which is described as “the only book on how twenty-six-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley’s number-one bestselling novel into the classic film it became.”
If you haven’t heard the stories about the making of this movie, they’re absolutely legendary. For my money, there’s no better way to get fully immersed in the making of this movie than by watching filmmaker Jamie Benning‘s feature length “filmumentary” that was released in 2013. We wrote about it at the time, with Russ Fischer describing it as “a hyper-extended commentary [track] that collate[s] interviews, production info and photos, deleted scenes, alternate takes, and other materials into a hyper-detailed ‘making-of’ portrait.” If you find yourself with some free time on your hands and you’ve never made time to watch it, you can rectify that below:
Bruce, a co-production with Seattle Rep, will have its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse and will run from June 9 – July 4, 2021. I’m sure the Jaws mayor will be...