Author Topic: Vin Diesel's Shrewd Move: Trading 'Fast & Furious' Cameo to Own 'Riddick' Rights  (Read 3047 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Vin Diesel's Shrewd Move: Trading 'Fast & Furious' Cameo to Own 'Riddick' Rights
6:00 AM PDT 9/4/2013 by Borys Kit

How the franchise star revived the breakout role from 2000's "Pitch Black" after its sequel fizzled, leading to "Riddick."


Vin Diesel doesn't just play Riddick, the intergalactic ex-con who can see in the dark, he owns the role -- literally. And thanks to some shrewd maneuvers from the muscle-bound star, he has kept the franchise alive: Nine years after the last movie in the series, Universal is releasing Riddick on Sept. 6.

Diesel, 46, and Riddick writer-director David Twohy have overcome obstacles, but the key move came in 2006, when Universal asked Diesel to make a cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. (Diesel had starred in the first Fast and the Furious in 2001 but walked away from the first two sequels.) Looking to recharge the series, the studio wanted to use his brief return in Tokyo Drift to signal he would be back center stage in a fourth movie. Diesel agreed, but instead of an acting fee, he demanded the studio give him and his One Race production company rights to the Riddick character.

When he hit the screen in 2000 in the low-budget Pitch Black, Riddick became a breakout role for Diesel, who had only had supporting parts in Saving Private Ryan and Boiler Room. Originally, PolyGram wanted Steven Seagal. "It's easy to see Vin now in it, but auditioning is not his gift," recalls Twohy. "He didn't rise to the top of the heap in a clear way, but there was something there."
Twohy and producer Ted Field championed the actor, and Pitch Black, produced for about $22 million, turned a modest profit, grossing $53 million worldwide. But when 2004's sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, which cost more than $100 million, took in only $116 million worldwide, plans for more movies disappeared.

Diesel, his star rising with the continuing success of the Fast & Furious franchise, couldn't shake the underdog Riddick, though. "It's the story of my life," he said in an emotional speech at Riddick's L.A. premiere Aug. 28.

So in 2009, Twohy and Diesel hunkered down in Diesel's kitchen and hammered out a new story. Instead of continuing in the extravagant vein of the second film, they returned to basics, with a lone Riddick marooned on a hostile planet. The project, with Diesel and Field producing, was introduced in 2010 at Berlin's European Film Market, where it was one of the hottest titles in the presales market.

But they still weren't home free. With crews arriving in Montreal in 2012, the money ran out when a completion bond fell through. "It was messy, it was bad," says Twohy. "We basically got kicked out of town." Diesel then personally advanced funds until bank loans were secured and the filmmakers could return to Montreal, where they shot for 48 days on a budget in the $35 million to $40 million range. Somewhat ironically, Universal, which had unloaded the character, then took an equity position in the film and agreed to distribute, allowing Diesel to resurrect his Riddick.

Offline Rockscissorspaper

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The idea of Steven Seagal as Riddick is hilarious.
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Offline FLEX HECTIC

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Reggie I remember when I was training your boy Ted Field as his substitute trainer for a month and he told me the synopsis of the new Riddick story with the agreement to keep my mouth shut about it... As if I would dare post that info on a forum or something! ;) :-X


You and Ted need to work something out for some black sci-fi projects he spoke very highly of you BTW... It's time for you to get your inner Spielberg on and Ted might be that dude!


Put that script for the prequel to Da Butler away and burn that backstory to Sounder and grab one of them Milestone characters and make that movie!


I think that as your star is rising with the Academy Award nomination and your tea and crumpets time with J.J. Abrams it's your time to shine!


Did I ever tell you about the time I wore a Black Panther t-shirt to train Ted just to get that controversial conversation going... Fanboy to the fullest Wakanda fool what!








Offline The Griot

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I liked the second Riddick movie very much. Best planet invasion scene ever. I was kind of hoping they would pick up where they left off. But money talks. One of my friends described the character perfectly; 'Conan in Space.' I'm going to see this new one.
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Offline Reginald Hudlin

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The idea of Steven Seagal as Riddick is hilarious.
One of the many great examples of a movie being saved by not getting the first casting choice.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Reggie I remember when I was training your boy Ted Field as his substitute trainer for a month and he told me the synopsis of the new Riddick story with the agreement to keep my mouth shut about it... As if I would dare post that info on a forum or something! ;) :-X


You and Ted need to work something out for some black sci-fi projects he spoke very highly of you BTW... It's time for you to get your inner Spielberg on and Ted might be that dude!


Put that script for the prequel to Da Butler away and burn that backstory to Sounder and grab one of them Milestone characters and make that movie!


I think that as your star is rising with the Academy Award nomination and your tea and crumpets time with J.J. Abrams it's your time to shine!


Did I ever tell you about the time I wore a Black Panther t-shirt to train Ted just to get that controversial conversation going... Fanboy to the fullest Wakanda fool what!
I like Ted.  We just saw each other when Vin got his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Offline FLEX HECTIC

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Did you know Ted also likes to spar MMA when he trains?


My MMA instructor Harold was his trainer and when he would go to Thailand for his month long vacations I got to train Ted three separate months!


He's got a nice push kick for an old dude and even with his bad hand he could strike quite well so I often got jobbed like Black Panther written by Roy Thomas... My excuse is you can't hit Daddy Warbucks too hard or you will never work in this town again so I gave him a pass! ;D


After that Comic-con where you gave me a shout out during the question and answer period about the "Black Comic Convention" he wanted to know who I was talking about... When Hudlin drops your name like that it's huge and I was still talking about to everybody and they momma! 8)


When I mentioned your name he said you just had lunch together and were working on some projects... I'm so tired of white guys who know more black guys than I do! Lol


I think Ted needs to be in on the black super hero movement as someone who has invested in black genres particularly rap music having signed Tupac among other things!


I was only the substitute trainer but you have more business history with him and could probably get more things done... This is one of the many reasons why I believe you should host the black comic book convention!


People like you man and except for the Black Panther Haters I rarely hear any negative things associated with your name in Tinseltown... But that has not stopped me from making up some rumors about you though! ;)



Offline Emperorjones

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Hopefully Vin Diesel's move will pay off for him. In way, just getting Riddick made has proven a win. I don't get why Chronicles did so poorly. I enjoyed that film. It was a definite shift in tone and much more epic in scope than Pitch Black. I didn't agree with all of the changes and perhaps Riddick was softened a bit too much, but still I thought it was a good film. Looking forward to Riddick. I hope the returns to basics approach just doesn't rip off Pitch Black. Emulating its style is cool but I don't want a retread of that story.

Offline KIP LEWIS

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I was disappointed.  No real suspense or intensity.  Maybe 2.5 out of 5.

Offline Emperorjones

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I liked Riddick. It is very reminiscent of Pitch Black, which was fine with me because I really liked that film. I also thought it had some funny moments, particularly with the bounty hunters Santana and Diaz (WWE's Batista). I thought it was a nice follow up to Chronicles, quickly and neatly explaining why the film starts with Riddick in a new predicament. I do think it was a little slow at the beginning but once the action kicked up I was into it.

The new aliens, called mud demons according to the Riddick wiki, aren't as cool as the bioraptors from Pitch Black or the Necromongers from Chronicles. But still they were distinctive. I couldn't help but think that After Earth needed the designers from this film. Because many of the alien fauna felt like it could have evolved to kill humans.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Riddick needs to appear in other universes.

Since Diesel owns the characters he should swing possible cameos or more in upcoming sci-fi movies.

Offline Hypestyle

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Riddick needs to appear in other universes.

Since Diesel owns the characters he should swing possible cameos or more in upcoming sci-fi movies.

So, maybe Guardians of the Galaxy part 2?   8)  Maybe Riddick can encounter the crew (and initially, have a fight with them) before teaming up against some cosmic bad guys.  Look for romance with Gamora.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 06:54:24 pm by Hypestyle »
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Offline Emperorjones

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Riddick needs to appear in other universes.

Since Diesel owns the characters he should swing possible cameos or more in upcoming sci-fi movies.

Interesting idea. I think he would fit well in an Aliens or Predator film. The issue would be would they jettison his universe/mythology? Or would that even matter if he just popped up in an Aliens or Predator movie?

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Riddick needs to appear in other universes.

Since Diesel owns the characters he should swing possible cameos or more in upcoming sci-fi movies.

Interesting idea. I think he would fit well in an Aliens or Predator film. The issue would be would they jettison his universe/mythology? Or would that even matter if he just popped up in an Aliens or Predator movie?

I don't think it matters.

Fans have a way of sorting out conflicts in canon and could come up with something that works.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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I had a great time watching the film.  Riddick movies are like Conan in outer space...but better.