"What led to that was a series of events. First and foremost, I had the luxury of working with Sidney Lumet," explained Diesel as to why now is the right time for everyone to return to the Fast world. "And boy does that absolve you from being too stereotyped because at least it's on record, right? Though very few people saw the movie [Find Me Guilty], it's on record. It's a departure from the franchise films. Finding an entry point to revisit this character is what took so long - eight years - because you know, I don't just do sequels in a reactionary way. It makes a lot of money, 'Let's do another one immediately without working out the story,' as you know never worked. I take a little bit longer. I make sure that I can feel it. I make sure that there is an entry point for my character and that we really, really, really in a real way worked out the continuation of a story. Am I idealistic and feel like sequels should be more Coppola-like? Yes. So in that I am saying when we were able to work out a continuation to this story in an interesting way that could lead to its own story as you see in the end of this movie, I was ready to do it."
And Diesel believes that Fast and Furious may not be the last time we see Dom and Brian in action. In fact, Diesel even has an idea in mind as to where he'd like to see the fifth film go, if it's greenlit. "Yes, I'm always thinking, which you probably know about me. I think a few pictures at a time. You remember with Chronicles of Riddick, I wanted to do three films at the same time. I'm ambitious like that. So I try to work out stories in service of what I was just talking about and in the way I approach sequels, in that Coppola way. I try to think out the story, even before we go to shoot the film that's at hand," explained Diesel. "So, yes, I have been thinking about it. I actually brought up the idea of shooting both of the movies back to back with Universal, with the president of Universal. He's like, 'What? We're just getting our feet back together.'"
Asked if he's excited about the possibility of revisiting Dom again in the future, Diesel replied, "I'm not the studio, so the studio gets excited about making another one. There's a difference. I get excited about the appreciation of the work, first and foremost. That is like when I'm thinking about going back and doing Dom Toretto so many years later after everybody knows I said no the past two times, it's loaded, right?"
Diesel added, "So am I relieved that people enjoyed it? That feels good. The studio deals with that [sounding like he's panting and out of breath] getting relieved kind of thing. Me, I revel in the idea that people appreciate the work. I revel in the idea, you know I love it when somebody says they pick up on a subtlety or a nuance or a spirit or a theme of character, or when somebody can pick up on the comment on society and where we are. All those things are riveting and charge me."
Future Projects and What's Happening with HannibalIf Fast and Furious does well at the box office, that could mean Diesel will finally be able to make his Hannibal movie. "We hope, right? I mean, in theory, yes," said Diesel. "But I don't know if it's really that. To be 100% honest, I think, and this is really candid, I think the studio might be a little bit, as I can understand, apprehensive about giving me a budget that big to direct. So the question has been, and probably what's held back the film from being realized, do I have to direct it? And then my question, that's the age old question."
Diesel's still undecided on whether he'd step down from wanting to direct Hannibal in order to get it made. "Do I have to direct it or do I produce it, get my voice on it, put my mojo on it and let someone else direct it that a studio would feel comfortable with that size budget? Understandably. I haven't ever done something that big. I've done, I've directed independent film."
The problem being if he opts not to direct the film, Diesel may never be happy about not getting to do Hannibal his way. "That's the thing. Once I do that, once I abstain from directing the thing, I mean, I don't know…," admitted Diesel. "…If I can fold, but if it's not folding, if it's in service of telling a great story, there's merit to that. There's something about that because at the end of the day, you just want to this incredible Hannibal. You want to see it realized and you go, 'I can see…,' and you hope that even if I'm not directing it, all of that work, the development that's been put into it will shine and that you will see that and that will speak to you. The message and the integrity behind the story and the passion that I held onto that you know has driven me to hold fast to telling that story is present. The hat trick is now, if we're really thinking about it, is how can I maintain that and make a studio feel comfortable?"
In addition to trying to get Hannibal made, Diesel's also working on another Riddick movie. "Well, you remember when I had talked about Riddick, I talked about Riddick as being The Fellowship in the Tolkien series. So I was using Pitch Black as Hobbit, as the independent story that introduces you to the world of Middle Earth, and then taking The Chronicles of Riddick and treating it as a trilogy that goes from the story that you saw to the Underverse and ultimately to Furia in the third film."
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Fast and Furious hits theaters on April 3, 2009.