Vin Diesel may be built like a brick s*ithouse, and he’s long been typecast because of it. But he has dimensions. Layers. While promoting F9, the long delayed (and reliably ridiculous) Fast and Furious ninequel, on The Kelly Clarkson Show, he wound up talking about his foray into recording music. Later his host circled back, asking him if he’d be into a “full-on” musical version of Fast and the Furious. It may have sounded like a wacko question, but, actually, Diesel was into it.
“Well, I’m dying to do a musical,” Diesel giddily responded, adding that he’d spent his high school doing musicals. “I’ve been dying to do a musical my whole life. I was this close to doing Guys and Dolls with Steven Spielberg, but we ended up not doing that.”
It’s too bad that didn’t work out, though at least Spielberg — whose only brushes with the genre have been in one dance set piece in 1941 and the dazzling opening “Anything Goes” number in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom — got to do one with his forthcoming take on West Side Story. Sure enough, when Clarkson asked him about his dream musical, he went right back to the classic show about gamblers and their dames.
“For the longest time, I thought the Nathan Detroit role in Guys and Dolls would be a very interesting one to revamp — the character that Frank Sinatra played,” he said, citing the 1955 movie adaptation, which also starred noted non-singers Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons.
Diesel has occasionally tried to break out of the mould Hollywood has long had him in. He was quite good in the courtroom crime drama Find Me Guilty, for legendary director Sidney Lumet, and ditto in Ang Lee’s war film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Diesel also expanded on his upbringing, which was not spent working on his pecs in gyms but among a family into the arts. “My grandmother loved musicals,” he told Clarkson. “My family is artistic, and I’m blessed to have that, and I’m blessed to have been in a family that’s supportive of these crazy dreams.” He added, “Definitely dream crazy. But support people that want to think outside of the box and dream something impossible, because there’s’ great beauty in that.”
Speaking of dreaming crazy, F9 includes a scene where the crew finally drives a car into space. And after a long, pandemic-instigated delay, that craziness is now in movie theaters. You can watch Diesel talk with Clarkson above. The musical business begins around the 15:10 mark.