Mark lived in New York for his entire childhood, and he has always been fascinated by theatre and the big screen from an early age.
It is believed that the ‘Vin’ from ‘Vin Diesel’ is an abbreviation of his last name ‘Vincent’, while ‘Diesel’ is a nickname given to him by his friends.
Raised by his mother and adoptive father, Vin never knew his real father, but he says that this never really bothered him in any way. Vin had to work very hard to achieve the level of fame that he currently enjoys, as he had his share of missed opportunities while coming up as a young and energetic actor. Still, here are a few interesting things you probably didn’t know about Vin Diesel:
1. He got into acting by accident
When he was just seven years old, Vin and his friends broke into a theatre trying to vandalize it. In the process, they met a woman who offered them a script and around 20 dollars each, with the condition that they attend the theatre every day after school.
Vin apparently developed a pretty strong attraction for acting, and has been doing it ever since. It’s crazy when you think about it, that is because of a good willing stranger that we are able to enjoy Vin’s acting nowadays.
2. He used to work as a bouncer
While he was coming up as a young actor, Vin did his share of odd jobs in order to make a living. At one point, Vin worked as a bouncer for some of the hippest clubs in New York, the type of working experience that he is thankful to this day for.
He says that when you work as a bouncer, you learn how to keep your mouth shut and pay attention, which for the most part is a good life advice for pretty much anybody.
3. He financed his first feature by telemarketing
We already discussed about Vin and his odd jobs, well this is one of them. You see, Vin knew that he wasn’t going to get picked up for a serious role if he kept hoping for auditions to ho his way, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
While he was in Los Angeles, he worked as a telemarketer in order to save enough money for his first feature. His idea paid off in the end, as he raised around $50,000 for his first movie ‘Strays'(1997).
4. He is a huge fan of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’
Vin never made a secret of his love for ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, and he enjoys playing it at every chance he gets. He has been playing D&D for more than 20 years now, which means that he started around the age of 12. Supposedly, Vin had a fake D&D tattoo on his stomach while filming ‘xXx’.
Furthermore, Vin even wrote a foreword for the book ’30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons’.
5. He was once nominated for ‘Worst Actor’
This happened in 2003 when he was nominated for the ‘Razzie Award’ nominating ballots.
He received the nomination for his roles in xXx (2002) and Knockaraund Guys (2001), as well as for his role in A Man Apart (2003). He didn’t ‘win’ however, as apparently there were far worse actors than him at the time, which is an understatement.
6. He once wrote an admiration letter to Steven Spielberg
Vin Diesel admires Steven so much, that he once wrote a three page letter to the man, telling him how much he looks up to him. Diesel says that ‘Schindler’s List’ is one of the best movies ever made, or at least one of the best he ever saw.
7. He started a video game company
Vin Diesel has always been a bit of a geek, a fact that he acknowledges himself actually. In 2002, he started ‘Tigon Studios’, a video game company that worked on games such as ‘The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay”. Nowadays, the company focuses on next gen games, even though they retain the right to involve themselves in any Vin Diesel games.
8. He was offered the role of Daredevil
It appears that Ben Affleck wasn’t the first person they offered the Daredevil role. The role was initially offered to Vin Diesel as the producer thought that it fit him perfectly. Nobody actually knows why Vin Diesel turned down the role, although it might have something to do with the amount of work he was doing at the time.
9. He did a break dancing instructional video when he was younger
There is a break dancing instructional video out there, with Vin Diesel as the main protagonist. Vin says that he filmed it during his teens, and he doesn’t remember much of it anyway. We already talked about the younger Vin Diesel and the odd jobs he had to do in order to get by, well this is one of them.
10. He gained 35 pounds for his role in ‘Find Me Guilty’
Vin’s character in this movie is quite a corpulent guy, so he had to gain quite a few pounds before the filming started. Although make-up played an important role in his character’s credibility, Vin went through a lot of trouble to help every way he could. In the end, Vin received a lot of praise for his performance as ‘Fat Jackie’, forcing many of his critics to admit that Vin Diesel is more than muscles and attitude.