In the past few years, Vin Diesel has done something that few A-list actors can claim. In his own way, the “Riddick” star has carved out his own type of blockbuster, fun and aimed to please. The late-in-series renaissance of the “Fast and Furious” is a rare occurrence, and a lot of credit should be given to Diesel.
This week, Diesel is doing something else that isn’t too often heard of in Hollywood: reviving a franchise after a pretty disastrous second installment from nine years earlier.
When MTV News sat down with Diesel about “Riddick,” how he approached continuing his sci-fi franchise as opposed to his car-racing one. It turns out that his philosophies for the two are strikingly similar. “Although ‘Riddick’ is sci-fi-fantasy-based to some degree and lends itself a really extensively thought-out universe, I take ‘Fast’ the same way. I wouldn’t have done ‘Fast 7′ unless we had an idea about ‘Fast 8′ and ‘9,’ ” he said. “Maybe that’s a producer trait.”
And Diesel’s forward-thinking comes from his personal ideas about how audiences watch and enjoy movies, he said.
“I feel like it’s in some ways championing the audience that wants good storytelling and wants the stories to evolve and wants the stories to connect and wants the movies to speak to one another,” he said. “We’re in a gaming society now, so people are conditioned to work a little bit for their story. People like to be rewarded for whatever equity they put into your universe.”
Diesel said that making an effort to improve upon a series, rather than resting on brand recognition by the audience is what brings people back and attracts new viewers.
“I don’t know if all of Hollywood is aware of this yet, but I think that the audience wants to feel as though they have that much of an invested stake in your storyline if they have the equity of seeing the prior movies. That’s a new thought in Hollywood. That’s not how sequels were made,” he said.
“Sequels were made with a concept of sell the brand. Put what else you want on it. They’ll never be as good as the first. Milk the brand as long as you could. My whole approach to making these movies and to creating these sagas is saying to the studio, ‘The audience is paying attention to the nuances and all the story points that lead up to this film. The more you acknowledge that, the better movie you have.’ ”
“Riddick” opens in theaters Friday (September 6).