Riddick 2013

In the 90s, Vin Diesel pulled himself up from bootstraps in order to finance bootstraps to pull himself up from. First it was his short film Multi-Facial, and then it was Strays, the hard knock movie that he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. It was a potent move that got the attention of Steven Spielberg who cast the young actor in Saving Private Ryan. That’s where the story starts.

Obviously Diesel is no stranger to GSD (Getting Shit Done), so it’s not totally surprising that he risked his own wealth to make sure Riddick happened, and to make sure that it was rated R (as the character deserves).

“I had to leverage my house. If we didn’t finish the film, I would be homeless.”

Getting a reverse mortgage or a home-equity line of credit is another bold where-your-mouth-is tactic that brings the self-financing full circle. It’s commendable. No doubt. Especially since the character and series is clearly a passion project for the actor and for writer/director David Twohy.

Of course the timeline here would place Diesel’s personal staking before Veronica Mars‘ watershed crowdfunding moment, and while that doesn’t diminish anything, it’s still a bit nerve-wracking to think of a future where artists have to put up their own wealth to make sure movies that are equal parts blockbuster bait and labor of love get made. There’s a reason that the production company model grew to prominence, and while it’s not perfect, it provides a safety net that has got to look golden when you’re staring down the barrel of a foreclosure notice.

Riddick is in theaters September 6th.


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