What should Vin Diesel's next move be? The action star ponders surprising new movies with Nicole Kidman, DMX, and Morgan Freeman

By Liane Bonin
Updated October 14, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Vin Diesel: Tim Bauer/Headpress/Retna Ltd.

Forget the extreme snowboarding in ”XXX” and the fistfights in ”Knockaround Guys” — Vin Diesel’s most impressive stunt may be figuring out how to remain on top. Since the freshly minted action star committed to sequels for ”XXX” and ”Pitch Black” (both due out in 2004), he’s been cautiously circling a number of hot — and sometimes surprising — projects. EW.com takes a look at what could be next for the action star (including collaborations with Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, and DMX) and asks movie analysts which projects spell ”XXX”-level success.

THE PROJECT ”Guys and Dolls”
THE DISH Diesel, a longtime musical buff, says he’s been discussing the project with Nicole Kidman. It’s likely that Diesel would play slick gangster Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando in the 1955 film), who accepts a $1,000 bet that he can convince an uptight female missionary (Kidman) to accompany him on a trip to Havana.
THE VERDICT Kidman, who displayed her musical chops in last year’s ”Moulin Rouge!,” would give the movie instant credibility. And Diesel doesn’t have big shoes to fill, following in Brando’s tuneless footsteps. Best of all, the actor seems to have the perfect fan base for the venture: ”The surprising thing we found out about ‘XXX’ is that 53 percent of the audience was women, which is almost unheard of for an action movie,” says media analyst Robert Bucksbaum of ReelSource.com. ”Women love him, but guys are intimidated by that.” Nothing that a little soft shoe can’t help.

THE PROJECT ”M”
THE DISH DMX has already signed on to play a cop searching for a child murderer (Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang’s 1931 classic). Producer Joel Silver (”The Matrix”) has said he wants Diesel for an unspecified role in the film.
THE VERDICT No matter which character Diesel plays, joining forces with DMX (who wrote a song for ”XXX”) will only bolster his box office power with young men. ”DMX has a built-in fan base, and he brings guys who like action to the table,” says Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com. Combined with Diesel’s ability to lure in female viewers, the duo would be sure to blow away the competition opening weekend.

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