Vin Diesel stars in Babylon A.D. as Toorop, a mercenary who goes on a mission to safely escort Aurora (Mťlanie Thierry) from Russia to New York. Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) joins them along the way. Gerard Depardieu plays the smarmy man who sends Toorop on the dangerous mission. Based on the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice G. Dantec. Vin Diesel has previously starred in the courtroom drama Find Me Guilty, the Disney action comedy The Pacifier, the sci-fi thriller The Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black, The Fast and the Furious, XXX and the underrated Boiler Room. He has also written, directed and starred in his feature film debut, Strays. It was a privilege to interview him.
20th Century Fox releases Babylon A.D. nationwide on August 29th, 2008.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What attracted you to starring in Babylon A.D.?
VD: There was something interesting about doing a film that had the trappings of an action movie helmed by a French auteur. That felt unique. [Also], I work within the confines of Hollywood and rarely get the opportunity to branch out. This was one of those opportunities to branch out and to try something thatís of the European mind.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Whatís your process of getting into the mind of a character from movie to movie?
VD: The first thing that happens is the cleansing of the former character. There is usually a process where you essentially purge yourself for the character that you played prior to the movie. Then you think about what the character represents and you created a mental chalkboard and write down all the elements of the character. Then, you take the time to allow all these elements to find some synchronicity and start breathing your character. I grew up as the son of an acting teacher, so I was introduced to all these various methods early. Iíve never been good at articulating what that process is, [though].
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you have trust issues like your character, Toorop, has?
VD: I always have issues of trustóIím a New Yorker. It takes time and experience [to trust someone]. Trust is something that comes from the gut. Itís not anything specific or tangible; itís a feeling that you get. When deciding whether to trust someone, you are forced to rely on your intuition in ways that we probably donít do enough [of]. As for playing a character thatís a skeptical, [distrustful] and cynical, I think that thereís a part of that in all of us. To exercise that into a character to its fullest felt exciting.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you know when to trust a film director?
VD: 10 years ago, I started to get tired of auditioning. In fact, why should I have to go in and audition if the director isnít showing me how he sets up the lights or of what his idea of editing is? If thereís a film that you love, itís not so easy to say, ďOh, itís directed by this person, so everything that this person directs after that will be wonderful.Ē You have to go back to your gut [instinct].
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think makes Babylon A.D. timely?
VD: I think we are going to have border issues. This whole thing thatís happening in Georgia right now that nobody has even about that yet. Essentially, there is a border issue going on right this very minute. The whole film is basically transporting somebody or something across those borders that I think is inevitable. Weíre coming into an age where the borders will be strong and I think that our society will be numb to it. They wonít recognize that itís happening because of our freedom in the virtual world.