HOLLYWOOD — Actor and filmmaker Vin Diesel sank his hands and feet into cement in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre April 1, two days before the release of his latest film “Furious 7.”
“Furious 7” is Diesel’s fourth appearance in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, following 2009’s “Fast & Furious,” “Fast Five” two years later and “Fast & Furious 6” in 2013. It is also the first film in the franchise released following the death of co-star Paul Walker, who died in a fiery car crash in Valencia in November 2013.
“You couldn’t hope for a studio to honor a brother the way they did,” Diesel said. “For as long as I live, I’ll always be grateful for Universal for the homage that they did so — with their hearts and with so much class. The fact that they allowed us to feel in our hearts that we’re making Pablo proud, it makes me believe that Paul is here with us today.”
Born Mark Sinclair Vincent on July 18, 1967, in New York City, Diesel made his stage debut when he was 7 years old in a production of the children’s play “Dinosaur Door” at Theater for the New City in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Diesel’s first film role was a brief uncredited appearance in the 1990 drama “Awakenings.” Diesel wrote, produced, directed and starred in the 1994 independent short “Multi-Facial,” which followed him on several auditions in which he is told he is either “too black” or “too white.” (Diesel’s mother is white and his father is black.)
The film was shown at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, where it was seen by director Steven Spielberg, which led him to create the role of Pvt. Adrian Carparzo in “Saving Private Ryan” specifically for Diesel.
Diesel also wrote, produced, directed and starred in the full-length drama “Strays,” which he described as a “multicultural ‘Saturday Night Fever.” It was selected to compete at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
Diesel’s other film credits include “The Chronicles of Riddick” trilogy — “Pitch Black,” “The Chronicles of Riddick” and “Riddick”; “xXx”; the Disney comedy “The Pacifier”; “Babylon A.D.”; the courtroom drama “Find Me Guilty”; “Boiler Room”; “Knockaround Guy”; the action-thriller “A Man Apart”; and the animated feature “The Iron Giant.”
Diesel’s upcoming films include “Hannibal the Conqueror,” in which he plays the title role, and his first role as a romantic lead, “Player’s Rules.”
Diesel is also the founder of the video game company Tigon Studios, which created and produced 2004’s top-selling Xbox game, “The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay.”
Diesel’s stage name stems from his days as a bouncer at the New York nightclub Tunnel — Vin is the shortened form of Vincent and friends nicknamed him Diesel, saying he ran on diesel fuel, a reference to his non-stop energy.