FAST & Furious star Vin Diesel has more hit movies than he has facial expressions, but only if you count all the F&F films separately. Otherwise it’s fewer.
He talks us through the half-dozen faces that have made him, incredibly, one of the highest grossing film stars working today:
So underrated. Whether you’re involved in a six-way standoff, have just discovered your dead lover is alive or simply don’t know what everyone’s talking about, geologically-dawning confusion adds so much. Hold your expression longer than anyone would imagine possible and they’ll do all the talking for you.
Perfect for revving the engines at the start of a race or punching Jason Statham in a car park, this is also a face I get a lot of use from in real life. For example, calling the latest movie Fast X came out of a 35-hour concentration session. I’ve scheduled another to come up with the title for the next one. So far I’m on Fur11ous.
Whether I’m playing Dom Toretto driving a car or at rest, his face is alive with the grievances he’s suffered and the revenge he needs to take. Like a projection of a rock on a rock, I show that with a slight downturned lip and an unfocused eye. Not The Rock, by the way. Guy’s an asshole. He doesn’t know that because I never show it in my face.
It’s in the fucking title so I need it. For inspiration I remember everything I’ve lost: the XXX franchise, the Riddick franchise, the Bloodshot franchise, the Marvel movies because I agreed to be a one-line tree for a laugh. The Academy, who refuse to create new categories for Best Wheelspin or Longest Vehicular Jump, the bastards.
The protagonist of a movie – even someone as multi-faceted as Dom – represents the audience. They want to inhabit him. I allow them. I go blank, staring directly at a co-star’s pulsing forehead vein and letting all thought flow from me until there’s not a spark of animation there. I can remain like this for days. Keanu cracks after a mere six hours.
I don’t get many sex scenes, because I’m too manly, so I’ve repurposed my orgasm face for any reaction shot where I’m expected to show joy, happiness, regret, love, or pleasure at the size of a barbecue. It’s the face I use when I say ‘Family’ while holding a beer at the end of a movie. And scene. Cinema doesn’t deserve me.