Vin Diesel to head up ‘Muscle’

Vin Diesel reacts as he poses during a photocall to promote his film ‘Fast and Furious 8’ in Madrid April 6, 2017. — Reuters pic
Vin Diesel reacts as he poses during a photocall to promote his film ‘Fast and Furious 8’ in Madrid April 6, 2017. — Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, May 18 — Distributor STXfilms says this could be the “next big, signature franchise” for the Fast & Furious star.

What do we know about Muscle? Not much more than the fact that Vin Diesel is both starring and producing.

STXfilms, the company behind Bad Moms, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Jackie Chan’s The Foreigner, is teaming up with Vin Diesel for what it hopes will become a new blockbuster franchise.

Diesel, who has been a core part of the Fast and Furious franchise since its 2001 debut, is to lead Muscle, which STX is describing as “the perfect blend of action and comedy that his millions of fans around the world have come to love him for.”

STX has yet to announce a director or even a writing team for the project, or a projected release date, instead choosing to name a trio of producers representing itself and Diesel’s production company, One Race Films.

Samantha Vincent comes in from One Race, having been on board for everything from the third F&F film, 2009’s Fast & Furious through to 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, as well as a number of other Vin Diesel vehicles in The Last Witch Hunter, Riddick (and preceding video game Assault on Dark Athena,) and xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

Assigned to Muscle by STXfilms are Reginald Hudlin of Django Unchained, The Bernie Mac Show, and Marshall, the last of which he also directed; joining him from STX is his fellow NAACP Image Awards producer Byron Phillips.

Aside from portraying tough streetracer turned de facto secret agent in the Fast and Furious franchise, Diesel has also led the Chronicles of Riddick and xXx franchises, and became part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as treelike lifeform Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, its sequel, and Avengers: Infinity War.

He is also known for his social media clout, having accumulated 100 million Facebook page fans, making him the subject of the platform’s fifth most popular page behind football player Cristiano Ronaldo (122 million), Ronaldo’s current team Real Madrid (108 million), Colombian pop star Shakira, and Real Madrid’s traditional rivals FC Barcelona (103 million).

On Instagram, he’s 31st (47 million followers), making him the Facebook-owned network’s fourth most popular movie star behind fellow Fast & Furious fixture Dwayne Johnson (102 million), Kevin Hart (58 million), and Zendaya (49 million).

Johnson is to appear in 2019’s Hobbs & Shaw, a Fast and Furious spin-off, with a ninth and then final entry to the core franchise due in 2020 and 2021. — AFP-Relaxnews

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