When you think of low-budget passion projects, you think of tiny films where characters go through extreme emotional or physical hardships, or perhaps movies that tackle uncomfortable subject matters deemed too risky for mainstream audiences. No so for Vin Diesel, whose passion project is "Riddick," a movie in which he plays a genetically modified badass battling space monsters on a hostile alien planet.
The "Fast and Furious" star was so serious about getting his latest film made that he leveraged his house against the production. "I had to leverage my house," Diesel told The Hollywood Reporter. "If we didn't finish the film, I would be homeless."
"Riddick" is the R-rated cap to a trilogy that unofficially started with the 2000 low-budget sci-fi monster movie "Pitch Black" and continued with the more nakedly commercial (and utterly infuriating) PG-13 fantasy "Chronicles of Riddick." It's Diesel's intention that their new back-to-basics approach will "reawaken the franchise."
Diesel said that he got serious about making another film when a fan of the character approached him and said, "We want a rated-R movie and we'd be willing to pay $10 each. Surely you'd have enough to make it then."
"Something about that comment made me think, bless their heart, and if I can do anything with this newfound success, if I could do anything at all, I could deliver on that wish," Diesel told THR.
Unlike "Chronicles of Riddick," which was hugely budgeted and paid for entirely by Universal, the new movie is an independent production -- an approach that necessitated cutting the shooting schedule down to 47 days and reducing the amount paid to both the cast (which also includes "Battlestar Galactica" alum Katee Sackhoff and "Star Trek" vet Karl Urban, a lone holdover from "Chronicles of Riddick") and crew. Writer/director David Twohy, who has been responsible for every entry in this ramshackle little series, told THR, "We had to learn how to be independent filmmakers again."
We'll be able to see the results of this passion and dedication when "Riddick" opens next week.