Vin Diesel reveals his biggest career regret

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Filmmaker/actor Vin Diesel attends his release party for the film "Strays" held at Creative Artists Agency on January 10, 2008. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for First Look Studios)

Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel wishes he’d directed more during his filmmaking career, and says he’s planning to resurrect his long-gestating Hannibal Barca project soon.

The 52-year-old actor is currently starring in Sony Pictures’ comic book movie Bloodshoot, but he’s identified a lack of directing credits as his biggest career regret so far.

Diesel got his breakthrough in 1994 with his short film Multi-Facial which he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in. In 1997 he made his first feature-length film, Strays, again written, directed, and produced by Diesel. The film played in competition at the 1997 Sundance Festival and caught the eye of Steven Spielberg who cast the upcoming star in 1998’s Saving Private Ryan.

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“Speaking of Steven Spielberg, I saw him recently, and he had said to me, ‘When I wrote the role for you in Saving Private Ryan, I was obviously employing the actor, but I was also secretly championing the director in you, and you have not directed enough. That is a crime of cinema and you must get back in the directing chair,” Diesel told The National.

“I haven’t directed enough.” 

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Vin Diesel (L) and Steven Spielberg at HBO's "Spielberg" Premiere at Paramount Studios on September 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)

Diesel compared his career trajectory to Jon Favreau’s, who he met at Sundance. Since the late 90s Favreau has gone on to direct The Lion King, Iron Man, and The Mandalorian, whereas Diesel hasn’t helmed a single film since Strays.

He says it’s not for lack of trying though, and he’s still hopeful of getting his long-gestating Hannibal The Conqueror biopic off the ground.

“I haven’t done it yet. As much as I am grateful for the accomplishments, there are moments when I go ‘God, you promised the universe, very specifically, the Hannibal Barca trilogy, and you haven’t delivered it. You travelled all over the world’.

Hamilcar Barca (275-228 BC). Carthaginian general, leader of the Barcid family and father of Hannibal. Expedition in Hispania. Death of Hamilcar Barca in Illici battle (228BC). Engraving, 19th century. (Photo by: PHAS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“I was in Egypt, in Tunisia, I was in Spain. I crossed the Alps where Hannibal did. I did so much research for this, but I still haven’t carved out the time to do it,” Diesel adds.

Hannibal was a Carthaginian general and statesman who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. He’s most well known for carrying war to Italy by crossing the Alps with his African elephants in the spring of 218 BC.

Diesel has been developing a biopic for years, with only a title treatment to show for his efforts so far.

Bloodshot is in cinemas now.