I lifted the below from a nice profile of Vin Diesel in Variety, in which they tout his patient approach to developing his projects, and emphasis on story, highlighting his early days as a struggling actor, to his current status as Hollywood box office star.
Meanwhile, he’s positively giddy about the progress on “Hannibal,” the kick-off film in his epic Punic Wars saga, which he calls “the first history-of-the-universe trilogy.” Though fans have heard about the project for years, Diesel has been taking his time, reaching out to contacts such as Frank Miller and Spielberg (still in touch, post-“Ryan”) for their creative counsel. “It’s about waiting until you get it all on the table and everything is right,” says Diesel, who identifies with the impulse that drove Mel Gibson to direct “Braveheart” himself. “I don’t have to make a movie. I do it out of love.”
So if you've been wondering, as we have, why his Hannibal trilogy (which we've been following for about 4 years now), has yet to materialize, and if it ever will, there's your answer. In short, it's definitely not dead; it's still very much in motion. He's just taking his time with it, so that he can get it right. And I certainly can't be critical of that! I think we all want a great Hannibal franchise.
Last we mentioned it on this blog, it was about a year ago, when Diesel shared, with excitement on his Facebook fan page, that he'd found a studio interested in the project on the Carthaginian general who led an army, complete with war elephants, across the Alps, to battle Rome in the Second Punic war (his father Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War).
Denzel Washington, at one time, before Diesel, was interested in the role. But it looks like it's Diesel's now; although Diesel previously shared that he met with the late director Tony Scott, who was apparently interested in helming the trilogy, with Scott adding that he would get Denzel to play Hamilcar, Hannibal's father.
As we know, Tony Scott passed away last year. No word on what other directors Diesel might be talking to for the job now - other than Steven Spielberg's creative counsel. Although this actually sounds more like Tony's brother, Ridley Scott's territory - the historical epic.
But if (or maybe I should say when) this trilogy happens, it'll be a pretty big deal. We're talking a fairly large budget, especially if a trilogy is the plan, as Vin stated. And if Diesel is able to bring Denzel on-board to play his father, and load up the cast with other notables, as well as top director, it'll definitely be a project that'll demand attention.
Read the full Variety profile.