Vin Diesel Risked All for 'Riddick': 'If We Didn't Finish the Film, I Would Be Homeless'
All eyes were on Vin Diesel as he brought the energy to the Los Angeles premiere of Riddick at Westwood's Regency Village Theater on Wednesday.
The R-rated film, produced by Diesel, is the third installment of the sci-fi series following Pitch Black (2000) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), each written and directed by David Twohy.
"In many ways, this is the reawakening of the franchise," Diesel, who stars as an antihero fighting mercenaries and hostile aliens for survival after being left for dead on a desolate planet, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Distributed by Universal, the movie also stars Katee Sackhoff and Karl Urban.
The making of Riddick differed from that of its 2004 predecessor, which was both produced and distributed by Universal. Without the funding of a major studio behind Riddick's production, Twohy said the crew reduced their shooting schedule to 47 days of filming (compared to 85 on the last film) in addition to reducing their budget. "We had to learn how to be independent filmmakers again," Twohy told THR.
Since it was his passion project, Diesel was dedicated to making the film happen at all costs. "I had to leverage my house," Diesel said. "If we didn't finish the film, I would be homeless."
The actor and producer was motivated to continue on with the series after a Riddick fan told him, "We want a rated-R movie and we'd be willing to pay $10 each. Surely you'd have enough to make it then."
Said Diesel: "Something about that comment made me think, bless their heart, and if I can do anything with this newfound success, if I could do anything at all, I could deliver on that wish."
With the film nine years in the making, the premiere was a surreal experience for Diesel. "It's a strange and unique sense of gratification, and it's not like any film I've done in the last 10 years," he said.
Twohy says that he and Diesel have a good "shorthand" with each other after collaborating on three films together. "We don't have to talk it to death," he said. "We just get out there and make a movie."
Co-star Sackhoff spoke highly of working with Diesel. "Vin makes not only such a great acting partner but a phenomenal producer," she said. "Because he's an actor, he understands giving the benefit to actors. He really let us all make our characters our own."
"Working with Vin was badass," co-star Nolan Gerard Funk added. "He really put in the time to make you feel comfortable but he also challenged you and made you really think about your character. I can't speak highly enough about him. He's a gentle, cool guy."
Jordi Molla described Diesel and Twohy's style as professional and meticulous. "Sometimes it was too much for me," confessed Molla, who is used to a more relaxed work environment in Spain.
Plans for more Riddick are already in the works, as Diesel confirmed to THR that Twohy is currently writing the next installment.
Riddick arrives in theaters and in Imax nationwide on Sept. 6.