Action star Vin Diesel melts like a marshmallow in the presence of his daughter.
ACTOR and producer Vin Diesel readily admits that if you want to be “the biggest star in the world, you have to be really selfish”, which is why he was late in starting his family.
“My twin brother started his family 15 years before me. But with all the travelling and living abroad to do movies, it took me awhile,” Diesel tells the Asian press in Manila.
Diesel was there, along with fellow Fast & Furious 6 castmates Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans and Gina Carano, to attend the movie’s red carpet premiere in the capital of the Philippines last week.
The 45-year-old actor has a five-year-old daughter, Hania Riley, with long-term girlfriend, Mexican model Paloma Jimenez, as well as a son.
“My daughter is my queen. She’s everything to me, to the point that if I don’t send her a video saying where I am or what Daddy is doing, I’d get in trouble,” he shares with a smile.
He admits that his daughter can turn him from a muscle man to a marshmallow man in an instant.
“Becoming a father was a very powerful transition, for me, like it would be (for) anyone. And I waited a long time because the industry is so demanding,” he says.
Diesel adds that this transition into a family man has a lot to do with The Fast And The Furious franchise.
Hania was born during the shooting of Fast & Furious (2009), her brother during the shooting of Fast Five (2011). Diesel’s co-stars Gal Gadot (who plays Gisele Yashar), Elsa Pataky (Elena Neves), and director Justin Lin also had their children during the filming of the sequels.
Diesel, who plays lead character Dominic Toretto in the franchise, says: “The theme of the saga is so strong with family that it kind of seeps into your real life.
“It’s beautiful to see the children of the next generation play together.”
Although the heart of the movie is about family, the series has always been primarily known for its adrenaline-inducing action scenes involving cars.
Ever since Diesel came back on board the franchise for the fourth movie, Fast & Furious, he has pushed for the conceptualising of the sequels in sets of trilogies.
The fourth to sixth movies are considered one trilogy, to which Diesel points out that the 2009 short movie Los Bandoleros, written and directed by himself, serves as a prequel.
The next three movies, Fast & Furious 7, 8 and 9, are also being treated as a trilogy.
This, Diesel says, is despite the fact that the series does not have ready material behind it, like the current blockbuster superhero adaptations, or The Hobbit trilogy, based on JRR Tolkien’s book.
He says: “This is a homegrown IP (intellectual property), probably the first of its kind.
“Universal... for that matter, any studio in Hollywood, has never pulled it off before. The superheroes in most movies don’t wear street clothes.”
Diesel explains that filming movies in a trilogy allows them to be creative and dream of incredible action sequences that can be spread out over a few movies, and also work them out in a practical manner for filming.
For example, the production team is already thinking of how to film a car race on the Great Wall of China, which is planned for Fast & Furious 8.
According to Diesel, filming for Fast & Furious 7 will commence in the next few months in Los Angeles.
However, it might take some time for the following sequels to come out, as Diesel has committed to several other projects in the meantime, which include Hannibal The Conqueror, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage and Kojak.
Fans will get to see Diesel in another sequel later this year as he reprises the titular role in the sci-fi flick Riddick, scheduled to be released in September.
Fast & Furious 6 opens today in cinemas nationwide
Back by popular demand
Michelle Rodriguez nearly went on strike during 2009’s Fast & Furious because she thought that her character Letty Ortiz was going to be killed off.
But producer and co-star Vin Diesel assured her then that Ortiz was too important a character to the series to die.
Having said that, the series’ fans also made a strong outcry for Ortiz’s return to the series, which she does in the new Fast & Furious 6.
Speaking to the press in Manila, Rodriguez says: “Just to know that you were asked to come back by fans, and by colleagues and people that you care about, makes you want to prove yourself and do the best that you possibly can.
“So there was a lot of pressure, and you know what? Not for one minute did I forget the responsibility that came with it.”
She adds that she hopes people will like the final product, because she worked hard on making it right.
When asked how she handles the pressure of such high expectations, the actress replies: “By making sure you’re always giving your best, and that you’re never giving less than that.
“And that just allows you to be calm, and that allows you to accept what’s to come. After you give your best, it’s out of your control, it’s in God’s hands.”
Rodriguez’s character Ortiz survives a murder attempt in the fourth movie, but returns with amnesia in the latest film. So much so that she currently works for the movie’s villain, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).
But Oritz’s former lover Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and friends are not about to let her go so easily, making her retrieval the crux of the movie.