Long before Vin Diesel ever made The Fast and the Furious or Pitch Black or XXX, he was a huge Dungeons & Dragons nerd. In fact, from the trailers alone, you can clearly see the influence D&D had on his newest movie, The Last Witch Hunter. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Diesel's basically playing a modified version of his D&D character - a witch hunter - in the film.
We had the opportunity to interview Vin Diesel a few weeks back, where we talked in detail about the influence his Dungeons & Dragons love had on the film. (We had a few more questions prepared, but...time just slipped away!)
Screen Rant: You've been very open about your love of D&D, and in fact, this movie actually grew out of conversations you had with the original screenwriter about your D&D character. My question is, what is it like to have the Hollywood juice to just make a movie about your own D&D character?
Vin Diesel: 'Awessommme,' as my son would say. Pretty awesome. If you would've told that 17-year-old kid playing Dungeons & Dragons that one day that piece of graph paper with chicken scratch on it and a really pathetic portrait of a - take your pick, a ranger or a magic user or whatever - was going to have a movie like this made, I would've thought you were crazy. It's kind of crazy. It's kind of insane.
I wish I could've done it sooner. I wish I could've done something in the fantasy world sooner. The other characters are so time-consuming that I rarely get a window. I was going to take a year off after 'Furious 7,' and when Michael Caine signed on, it was the omen to [smacks hand] do it now and forget taking a year off. The idea of immortality. The idea of time travel. The idea of dreams. They're all interesting concepts.
SR: Yeah, totally. You're living the dream.
VD: I mean, come on. I don't think that! I'm going craaa-zy! It's so funny, people say, 'You're living the dream.' And when you have to make these decisions, it's amazing how your life is like...filled with stress. I mean, it's like, it's surreal. It's like, 'Hey man, hey Vin, you really made it, man.' And they think that it's like - they can't imagine how much work goes into it all before I ever step on set. That the hardest part of my job is when I'm trying to mastermind it all. The easier part is relying on a craft that I started when I was seven years old. The harder part is to go [points at 'The Last Witch Hunter' logo] 'How do you make that into a reality?' How do you do it?
If you go and see the 30th Anniversary book of Dungeons & Dragons there's one name - my name is the only name on the whole cover of this thing. And it has a foreword - all they asked me to do was write the foreword. But they put the foreword as the cover. You hear me in that cover talk about a witch hunter. Named Melchor. Most people don't know what Melchor is. Everyone knows who J.R.R. Tolkien is but most people -
SR: It's The Silmarillion, right?
VD: You know what it is. You're one of the only humans who knows what it is. And that's - that's surreal. It's so damn surreal. I mean, even the Hexen - for real fantasy guys - and I found out when I was talking to the writers - the Hexen were kind of modeled after Drows. Pretty cool.
The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including KAULDER, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful QUEEN WITCH, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the QUEEN curses KAULDER with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today KAULDER is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to KAULDER, the QUEEN WITCH is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.
The Last Witch Hunter is directed by Breck Eisner, stars Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Julie Engelbrecht, and Michael Caine, and is produced by Bernie Goldmann, Mark Canton, Vin Diesel, and Samantha Vincent.
The Last Witch Hunter is in theaters now.