Vin Diesel is a marketing machine for the Fast and Furious franchise, and we've seen and heard a lot about F9. But that's not even coming out until May. Diesel's next movie is Bloodshot, and it opens in just a couple of weeks on March 13. It's a Sony superhero movie, but not connected to Spider-Man or anything like Sony's Marvel Universe releases Venom and Morbius. No, it's based on the character of Ray Garrison, aka Bloodshot, from Valiant Comics.
Vin Diesel recently admitted to feeling a certain amount of pressure for Bloodshot -- not just because it's a superhero film, but because he'll be playing a favorite character of many real soldiers. Plus, it sounds like he's really going to have to stretch his acting muscles to play a superhero with mental illness. We just saw Joaquin Phoenix win an Oscar for playing Joker, a comic book character with mental illness, but ... let's face it. Vin Diesel is not known for going deep like that. It does add pressure.
Bloodshot is a soldier who was killed but reborn through science and enhanced with nanotechnology to make him a superhuman killing machine. He trains with fellow super-soldiers and struggles to remember his previous life, eventually reclaiming a memory of the man who killed his wife. Revenge time!
Vin Diesel recently posted a video about making Bloodshot, explaining that it's his second comic book character after Groot in Marvel's Guardians in the Galaxy, but this is really his first major superhero showcase in the flesh. He wanted to make sure he did the character justice:
First of all, other than the Groot character that was actually the first established superhero I was ever playing [this is my second major superhero role]. So of course with that comes a certain level of pressure. The character of Ray Garrison, who is Bloodshot, a character who has dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder and really represents the concept of the forgotten or discarded solider. So for me it was important to me to research that sentiment that existed in some of our veterans, and Blooodshot specifically has always been the military's favorite superhero. Anybody that's served has had those feelings of, you know, 'Am I coming home to a world that appreciates me or appreciates the sacrifices I've made?'
That was Vin Diesel's first approach, he explained, but when it came time for the physical aspect of the character, director David S. F. Wilson put him on a different path than the typical superhero:
Of course, there's a physical element that was fascinating because I initially started to go for a typical superhero physique. And once I started working with the director, it was clear he wanted more of a broken soldier's physique.
At that point in his video, Vin Diesel turned to the psychological aspects of playing Ray Garrison, mentioning Joker as he revealed he'll be portraying aspects of mental illness in Bloodshot.
Probably most importantly was the fact that Bloodshot was batshit crazy. Long before Joker or long before a lot of these other characters played with mental illness and incorporated mental illness into their portrayal of the character, I was asked to incorporate mental illness into the iconic character of Bloodshot.
I don't know if psychologists approve of the term "batshit crazy," but considering everything Bloodshot goes through, maybe it fits. Check out Vin Diesel's video explaining his process and pressure for the superhero movie:
Superheroes are all about shared universes these days, and Bloodshot is at least intended to launch a Valiant Comics cinematic universe.
It does sound like this team is going for a character approach. That's what Bloodshot's co-creator Bob Layton said in 2018 when asked what they learned from other comic book movies:
I'm going to put it very succinctly: character, character, character. It's not about big fight scenes. It's not about giant tentpole stuff. The thing that really makes superheroes resonate is character. Tony Stark in the first Iron Man film was so true to the spirit of that character and we care about him because we come to love Tony, warts and all. That's so important for superhero movies. In the case of Bloodshot, they're really focusing on Vin's character and it really seems to be a more character-driven movie, rather than just a lot of big explosions and 9/11-style building demolitions. The most boring part of superhero films to me are the pornographic, giant fight scenes that take up the entire third act. That's not entertainment, it's just a giant amusement park ride on film.
The trailers for Bloodshot have focused on the psychological element, but there's also a lot of superhero action. Vin Diesel is not the only one who wanted to play the role of Ray Garrison -- Jason David Frank was bummed to not get the role. Ultimately, the cast for Bloodshot also includes Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, and Guy Pearce
Here's the second major trailer:
Bloodshot opens in theaters March 13, 2020. Are you excited to see it?