Vin has spent most of his film career playing bald, brawny badass guys who sound like they use mint-flavoured gravel and whiskey for mouthwash (which is the basis of his appeal for some). However, unlike most action stars, Vin has a huge advantage that helps to get him fanboys: he is a massive geek. A massive geek who could break your spine. Seriously, the guy loves Dungeons & Dragons so much, he wrote his own campaigns, got a temp tattoo of the name of his D&D character in XXX (it's "Melkor", if you're wondering), and even started his own video game company because he was tired of people making crappy video games out of his movies. Their first project (although not for long) was teaming up with Starbreeze Studios to make The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, which many people named as actually being better than the accompanying film, and was named as being the best action game on the Xbox at the time. When they released the sequel, a large percentage of its sales were just because it included the original levels. So yeah, it was pretty good.
It gets better: one of the upcoming games is about his player character. Penny Arcade is actually attempting (kind of) to get him to join them in one of their podcasted D&D campaigns (despite the very real possibility that putting both Riddick and Wesley Crusher in the same room would destroy the universe).note
Vin's probably most known for his work on the The Chronicles of Riddick and The Fast and the Furious franchises, but he's done many things, from big budget action flicks like XXX and Saving Private Ryan, to writing, directing, and starring in indie docu-dramas. He also voiced the title character in The Iron Giant. While Riddick is a murderer, Vin Diesel is reportedly a very sweet, polite guy. And by the way, it turns out that He Really Can Act, as evidenced by his acclaimed performances in Find Me Guilty and Boiler Room, as well as the aforementioned voice acting role in The Iron Giant.
Also, you know that "Chuck Norris Facts" fad that you may have heard of? Originally, those were all Vin facts. The best one of the lot? "Rearranging the letters in Vin Diesel's name reveals his credo: I End Lives."
- Awakenings (1990) - Hospital Orderly (uncredited)
- Multi-Facial (1995) - Mike
- Saving Private Ryan (1998) - Pvt. Caparzo
- The Iron Giant (1999) - The Iron Giant
- Boiler Room (2000) - Chris Varick
- The Chronicles of Riddick - Richard B. Riddick
- The Fast and the Furious (2001 present) - Dominic Toretto
- Knockaround Guys (2001)
- xXx (2002) - Xander Cage
- XXX Return Of Xander Cage (2017)
- The Pacifier (2005) - Shane Wolfe
- Find Me Guilty (2006) - Jack DiNorscio
- Babylon A.D. (2008) - Toorop
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (2014 present) as Groot (voice):
- The Last Witch Hunter (2015) - Kaulder
- Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016) - Shroom
- Bloodshot (2020) as Raymond "Ray" Garrison / Bloodshot
This actor's roles provide examples of:
- Ambiguously Brown: Not even he is sure what ethnicity he is. His mother has mixed English, German, and Scottish roots, but he's never met with his biological father, and he's stated his parents' relationship would have been illegal thanks to laws against racial mixing. However, he identifies as "definitely a person of color". The only other indication of this besides his skin tone is that when his hair is grown out, he has a distinctly African-style afro.
- His short film Multi-Facial is based on his struggles finding work as an actor due to his multi-racial background. Aside from starring in it, he also wrote and directed the short.
- He was able to portray an Italian-American soldier in Saving Private Ryan, a movie set in World War II, where American units were segregated. And he was in a clearly white army unit.
- Action Genre Hero Guy: Textbook example.
- Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain: He's played criminals, murderers, and mercenaries in most of his roles, but all have some redeeming qualities and few are genuinely malevolent.
- Bald of Awesome: Diesel seems to be a reverse Samson - he loses most of his badass factor when he doesn't have a shaven head. He re-shaves it in character during Pitch Black just to keep this up.
- Chewing the Scenery: When he raises the voice in dramatic scenes, he does it in an extremely hammy manner. Especially in A Man Apart.
- Doing It for the Art: You'd think being cast as a sentient tree who only speaks one phrase would be an invitation to phone it in, but Diesel recorded the line "I am Groot" over a thousand times in a half-dozen different languages at full intensity every time (while wearing stilts... his idea).
- Guttural Growler: His deep voice shines through in all his roles, particularly as Riddick, who sounds even deeper and more guttural than usual in his internal monologue, and in The Iron Giant, where his voice work had less computer assistance than you'd think.
- Nice Guy: He constantly posts inspiration quotes to help people get through the hard times in their lives and is a very kind-hearted and friendly person.
- So My Kids Can Watch: He starred in the The Pacifier for the sole reason of his niece and nephew being allowed to watch "Uncle Vin" on screen in a Disney movie.
- True Companions: With Paul Walker. Walker's death left him so horribly devastated, that production on Furious 7 was frequently delayed because Diesel couldn't bear to be on set without Walker at his side. The film was dedicated to Paul. He later named his daughter Pauline after him, and even revealed a tattoo showing Paul's eyes.