Before he was a big Hollywood star, Vin Diesel was just another actor struggling to get parts. You might not believe it now, but in fact, he started as a background extra in New York City!
It might be hard to see him as a nobody, after all, these days, it seems that he’s starring on most of the big action flicks with fast cars and big explosions—and his bald head in itself an icon.
He may seem to have had it easy, but the truth is that Vin Diesel remembers what it’s like to be just another person in a sea of faces, and today, he’s giving great advice for those who are starting to think of giving up on their acting dreams.
In an interview with The Talk, Diesel spoke about his experiences, sharing, “When I was growing up as an actor in New York, they would say don’t ever do extra work, because they’ll never see you as a real actor. But I was hungry, and I needed to get some money. “
He also added that unlike those with a fixed career set for them, being an actor can be difficult. “If you’re a doctor you can go to the hospital, if you’re a lawyer you can go out and seek advice on what that career lane might be like, but if you have aspirations to be a movie star, there’s no one really that you can go to (for advice).”
However, he chanced upon meeting Harrison Ford, one of the Hollywood legends, and decided to ask him advice about how he could Explore Talent and become a movie star at the craft service table on set.
Lucky for him, Ford was friendly and generous and gave him quite a bit of advice that he took to heart. Diesel shared, “He was very generous and he said, ‘Let’s take these apple boxes and let’s sit over there and I’ll tell you how I did it.’ He said, ‘Fifteen years ago, I and 12 other friends went to Hollywood. Three years later, two friends went home. Three years later, five friends went home—I just never left. I never gave up.’”
He took these words to heart, and now, as a big Hollywood star himself, he is sharing the same with younger actors. “That valuable advice is kinda what I would give (to) some youngsters that want to follow their dreams. Just don’t ever give up.”
Diesel certainly didn’t and look where that got him. Today, he is on the list of Forbes highest-paid actors of 2015, earning $47 million for Furious 7 alone—not that it’s going to be a problem for Universal Studios, it was the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time, taking about $1.51 billion worldwide.
Being a big star does not mean that Diesel is throwing much of his money around with glamorous parties, though. When he’s not driving fast cars or voicing adorable tree aliens, he just goes around playing dungeons and dragons—he even celebrated his birthday with an awesome themed cake!
His star won’t go out anytime soon as Universal Pictures already started filming for Furious 8 in Cuba, and it seems that the action is bigger than ever. Not only are there flaming cars involved, there are also more movies to watch! There are plans to keep the franchise going up to ten installments, and spin-offs and prequels are also in the making.
Most of the cast members are going to return for the next film. Alongside Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky, and Lucas Black are said to be reprising their roles, as are Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, and Kurt Russell.
Charlize Theron has been confirmed to play the villain, and Kristofer Hivju will be one of her henchmen. Finally, Scott Eastwood is also said to make an appearance as a protégé of Russell’s Mr. Nobody.
Who would have thought so much stardom can come out of a man who started his career as a background extra? It’s a good thing he took Harrison Ford’s advice to heart—or else we never would have known the man that is as sweet as sugar underneath all that muscle. Besides, could anyone else even play Dom Torreto in the Fast and Furious series?