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The process of bringing Riddick, the third film in the so-called “Furyan Chronicles,” to the big screen has been a rocky road. They had funding, they lost funding, and you’ve heard, repeatedly, about how much producer and star Vin Diesel and director David Twohy had to sacrifice to finally finish this film they’re so passionate about. But what does that really mean? Well now we know a little bit more about exactly what was on the line. Had the movie failed to materialize, Diesel could have been homeless.
It probably wouldn’t have been all that bad, I’m sure that Paul Walker would have let Diesel crash on his couch if it came to that, but the New York-born actor did apparently risk his home on the deal, putting his house up for financing. Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, Diesel said, “I had to leverage my house…If we didn’t finish the film, I would be homeless.” I can’t help but picturing him as a cartoon hobo, with a bindle, maybe sharing the last bean with that space dog from the Riddick trailers.
Universal bankrolled the production and distribution of the previous film, The Chronicles of Riddick, but after that movie tanked at the box office, no one wanted to risk giving them tons of money on a risky venture. Especially since Diesel and Twohy were adamant about making an R-rated film, a much less financially sound proposition from a Hollywood perspective.
“We had to learn how to be independent filmmakers again,” Twohy told THR. Their first film, 2000’s Pitch Black, was made on a smaller budget, and Riddick definitely bears a striking resemblance to that film, not only in appearance, but also the filmmaking process. The shoot was a mere 47 days, as opposed to 85 last time out, and the size and scope of the production are much smaller and more reined in (though they already have future plans is this is a success).
Part of the reason Diesel was so intent on making this movie is because of an intense fan devotion to the series. One devotee approached the star and told him, “We want a rated-R movie and we’d be willing to pay $10 each.” That was apparently enough motivation for him to risk losing his house. He says, “It’s a strange and unique sense of gratification, and it’s not like any film I’ve done in the last 10 years.”
Riddick finds the titular anti-hero stranded on the surface of a seemingly desolate planet, one that he mistakenly believed was his home world of Furya. Instead of home, he finds a bunch of pissed off creatures that seem intent on ripping him to shreds. His only avenue of escape is to reveal his location to the scores of bounty hunters that dog him from one end of the galaxy to the other, looking for a big payday. When they show up things get really intense as he battles both human and monster foe.
Riddick also stars Katee Sackhoff, Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Bokeem Woodbine, and Dave Bautista, and opens everywhere in IMAX on September 6.