Vin Diesel Talks About the Epic Hannibal Trilogy He’s Always Wanted to Direct

Vin Diesel has been wanting to travel back to ancient Rome for almost two decades. Since as early as 2002, the actor has been talking about Hannibal Barca, the Carthaginian general who famously crossed the Alps with an army of elephants in 218 BC. Vin Diesel wants to direct and star in that movie. He even once picked a filming location, the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo. But, so far, no scenes have been shot.

“My reality is, I wake up and go, ‘I haven’t done the Hannibal trilogy,’” he told Men’s Health in the recent July/August cover story. For those eagerly awaiting those Alp-crossing elephants, know this: Vin Diesel has not forgotten.

Diesel’s career began, in fact, with mostly directorial pursuits. He tells us about the time on set of Saving Private Ryan—Diesel’s first big acting gig—when director Steven Spielberg handed him a camera and told him to shoot; Diesel’s character had by then already been killed off. “Steven was also the person who said—he’ll say to this day—‘I didn’t hire you just as an actor, Vin, I expect you to be directing. I expect you to be directing,’” Diesel recalls.

It’s a lot of pressure to begin one’s career with such expectations. And while Diesel has been focusing on the acting and action side since, he’s ready now to climb into the director’s chair and answer the Spielberg call. “I promised myself I would try to make the Hannibal trilogy,” he says, reminding himself of the obligation. “Part of creating mythology in Riddick and creating worlds like Fast, in some bizarre way, was preparation for the ultimate task.”

He’ll be ready ready once he finishes that other mythology, Fast & Furious. Diesel says it’s the only thing standing between him and ancient Rome. “The Fast finale weighs on me,” he says. “Right now, Fast 10 is Everest.” So: Everest first, then elephants in the Alps.

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