By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 25, 2011 at 12:56PM
Film To Be R-Rated, Shoot This Summer
1999's "Pitch Black" was a nifty little sci-fi horror film: nothing special, but a solid genre entry, which used a decent cast, including Cole Hauser and Radha Mitchell, and in particular granite-voiced man mountain Vin Diesel, to good effect. The film made Diesel a star, and off the back of the success of "The Fast & The Furious," Universal took a gamble that the actor's breakout character in David Twohy's film, brutal convict Riddick, could be the star of his very own franchise, with 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick."
Unfortunately, it was terrible, with deeply ropey CGI and some of the worst dialogue on record, lines that even Dame Judi Dench (in one of the most what-the-fuck pieces of casting of all time) couldn't sell, and the film tanked at the box office, seemingly killing the franchise. Or did it? Diesel's back on top again with a pair of hugely successful "Fast and the Furious" sequels, and the character lived on in a series of acclaimed, best-selling video games, and it was announced last year that a third film in the franchise, "Riddick," was in the works, with Diesel and Twohy both signing on to return.
Word's been quiet for a while now, but Diesel announced on his Facebook page (which has 24 million fans: who knew?) that the independently-financed project is moving forward, with writer-director Twohy telling him that the film will shoot in the summer. However, there's a downside for the star of the half-a-billlion-dollars-and-counting-grossing "Fast Five": he won't get paid his full fee. Diesel starts his post with "GRRRR" and goes on to continue "there is a catch... in order for us to make a true R-rated film, I must work for scale upfront. Not unlike the "Find Me Guilty" experience (which I wouldn't have changed for the world)..." Here's his full post:
D T the writer/director just landed in New York with the good news. We can start filming this summer. However, there is a catch... in order for us to make a true R rated film, I must work for scale upfront. Not unlike the "Find me Guilty" experience (which I wouldn't have changed for the world)...
Money is always second to art, integrity and spirit... but the real issue is deeper. Can I suspend my life, to momentarily venture to that dark place... called Riddick.
Now, I need to hear from Our collective... you.
Wisdom and clarity appreciated.
Even putting aside the comparison of "Pitch Black 3" with a Sidney Lumet-helmed project, our heart doesn't quite bleed for the star: we're not sure that anyone bar Diesel and Twohy have a burning desire to see "Riddick," so you sort of feel sacrifices need to be made by a man who, considering how much he'll likely be paid for "Six Fast Six Furious," could probably finance the film from scratch himself. Although it does perhaps go some way to explain why Diesel's signed on to family action-comedy "The Machine," we suppose.
On a more serious note, Diesel adds "Money is always second to art, integrity and spirit... but the real issue is deeper. Can I suspend my life, to momentarily venture to that dark place... called Riddick." We're not Stanislavsky or anything, but we'd suggest to Diesel that, to stop himself from slipping into a Daniel Day-Lewis-style dark abyss of Method acting, he do what he did in the first two Riddick films, and play the character like a second-tier cast member from "Con Air" while growling all his lines. Anyway, barring any unseen disaster, "Riddick" will shoot later in the summer, and will likely hit theaters sometime in 2012. When it comes to unnecessary sequels to David Twohy films, we'd rather have follow-ups to underrated genre offerings "Below" or "A Perfect Getaway" instead. [via Coming Soon]