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Feature: XXX


Vin Diesel

Following his acclaimed role in the Sci-Fi actioner Pitch Black and the stunt-tastic The Fast and the Furious, Vin Diesel takes on the spy genre Ė and wonít rest until heís the most famous spy in movies!

Vin Dieselís career is firing on all cylinders. XXX is an action-thriller tailor-made to transform Diesel, who earned a $10,000,000 paycheque for his efforts, into a combination of Sean Connery, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Directed by Rob Cohen, who put Diesel through his paces in The Fast and the Furious, XXX casts Diesel as Xander Cage, an extreme sports enthusiast with an equally extreme attitude, who likes to pull off his stunts in the very face of the authorities. When a bunch of villainous Eastern Europeans threatens to destroy the world, NSA Agent Gibbons (Samuel L Jackson) turns to Cage, the idea being that conventional spies simply canít get the job done in this day and age. And so Cage blows things up, outraces avalanches, romances the sultry Yelena (Asia Argento), and so on. Film Review caught up with Diesel at a hotel in Los Angeles, where he shed some light on XXX, fame and his future.

You started off your career with much more serious roles and then took the bad guy/hero route in Pitch Black and then went with something far more commercial and testosterone-driven like XXX. Is that a product of what youíre being offered or a product of what youíre going after? And is all of that building to you creating more of your own projects?
Everything has been a product of what Iíve been offered. Every film Iíve done is what Iíve been offered. I have directed films and created things. Have you seen any of that? Itís completely different work. But itís always been about taking whatever Iíve been offered and making it as good as possible.

What made you interested in the role of Xander Cage?
The idea of giving birth to a new breed of secret agent was interesting and challenging. What attracts me to projects first is the content, and with XXX I was attracted to the concept of a guy who is solely concerned with his own thrill-seeking endeavours. He couldnít care less about political affairs outside of the ones that directly affect him. I liked the idea that someone like Xander could be called upon to step into the shoes of a secret agent. Taking a guy whoís the least likely to want to save the world, and having him do just that, fascinated me.

How did you prepare for the physicality of XXX?
I went into training three months prior to shooting. I did motocross training, snowboard training, ski climbing. Initially, the character was going to have a father who was in the Navy SEALS, so I did some Navy SEAL training in San Diego, which ended up being valuable for Xander Cageís third act. I basically did the extreme sports version of weightlifting for three months. You have to learn how to use rigs, even Ė every apparatus that will help you with each stunt. Itís such a complicated process.

by Ian Spelling

More from Vin Diesel in:
Film Review (Oct)

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Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Oct), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Oct)
#623, October 2002
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