Vin Diesel To Star In Jane Austen Adaptation. No, Wait, It's Another Action Movie.

by Oliver Lyttelton
July 13, 2011 12:56 PM
5 Comments
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It's not that the movie star is dead, as such, it's that domestic audiences (viewers abroad are still very much in thrall to "the star") are less and less willing to watch actors outside of the genre in which they made their name. It's arguable, for instance, whether Hugh Jackman is much of a draw when he's not playing Wolverine, while any hint of intelligence in an Adam Sandler film sees the box office takings plummet, and Denzel Washington is sensible enough to stick to the middle-brow thriller: when he tries something else ("The Great Debaters," "Antwone Fisher," "The Preacher's Wife") the box office plummets.

So, the stardom of Vin Diesel isn't the clear-cut fact you might think for the man who topped one of the biggest films of the year: outside of "The Fast and The Furious" franchise, "xXx" (which is virtually part of the same series), and surprise family comedy "The Pacifier," his starring efforts have mostly tanked at the box office, with few managing to take over $50 million. But despite the lack of success of films like "A Man Apart" and "Babylon A.D," "Fast Five" has made Diesel firmly bankable again, so long as he sticks within established genres.

As Diesel's gearing up for a September shoot on a third, lower-budget stab at "Riddick," he's signed on to another 'Pacifier'-style family comedy, "The Machine," and, according to Variety, he's now going to star and produce in a new, untitled action film. His company One Race Productions has teamed with U.K. production company The Ink Factory, and hired Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell, whose sole big-screen credit to date is the recent Liam Neeson guilty pleasure "Unknown," to write the script.

The duo previously worked with Diesel on a film adaptation of his videogame "Wheelman" -- although that disappeared when the game was released in 2009 to lukewarm reviews and disappointing sales -- also penned a possible remake of Sydney Pollack and Paul Schrader's "The Yakuza" for Warner Bros, and wrote an adaptation of the Warren Ellis comic "Gravel" for Legendary Pictures. Obviously, with the log-line firmly under wraps, it's hard to know what to expect, but if it's something as gloriously, knowingly stupid as "Unknown," Diesel may have found the people to bring him a home-grown hit of his own.

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5 Comments

  • SuckX | August 17, 2011 11:21 AMReply

    didn't understand of you'r words

  • Ellen | July 13, 2011 8:19 AMReply

    I'd argue that Hugh Jackman is a pretty fair draw, no matter whom he portrays. Whatever its artistic merits, VAN HELSING had a great opening weekend. AUSTRALIA was dragged down by the anti-Nicole Kidman crowd. Jackman packed them in, in record numbers, to stage shows that did not get great overall reviews but were exalted by his presence, such as THE BOY FROM OZ and A STEADY RAIN. He's now setting records in his one-man show in Toronto, HUGH JACKMAN IN CONCERT. Remember, audience darling Depp tanked in THE TOURIST. Give Hugh a good script and top-notch director, and watch him shine.

  • padre | July 13, 2011 7:26 AMReply

    Don't you dare diss the action genre! It is the one consistently enjoyable genre. We do need need some new action stars though. Hollywood, make Tom Welling an action star pronto! I still enjoy my old action stars, but they are getting really, really old. And it's been the fashion for a little while for them to test out little wispy nerdy guys as action stars. Either that or comedian porkers. God knows why they want to ruin my action movies like that.

  • Glass | July 13, 2011 5:57 AMReply

    "I was the actor Vin Diesel, but I got bit by a radioactive Osama Bin Laden, and I woke up and I had a beard and camo jacket and a love of caves.

    And I live here now.

    And I'm Osama Bin Diesel."

    Sorry, I hate when people post obscure quotes too. No more.

  • ska-triumph | July 13, 2011 3:23 AMReply

    Check that typo. "$50 BILLION?"

    Aside from that, the 3rd film, hopefully a very-different take on the Riddick tales, is more promising that this "MACHINE" deal.

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