On-screen, Vin Diesel's default setting can be described as coiled rage and brutal efficiency.
In the films that put him on Hollywood's star map, the buff and bald actor hefts big guns: from artillery to his own softball-sized biceps. He punches the accelerator on the fastest hot rods and pummels enemies into submission without hesitation or fear.
So it's surprising to discover that in 2011, just weeks before cameras rolled on "Riddick" — this weekend's sequel to 2000's "Pitch Black" and 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick" — Diesel found himself facing existential dread.
"I have never talked about that," Diesel said quietly in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
In conversation at his bungalow on the Burbank Universal Pictures studio lot, the granite-tough star seems genuinely taken aback, uncharacteristically humbled, to be opening up about his own fallibility.
"I will never be able to convey the anxiety, the frustration, the fear that I was feeling before making this movie when the funding wasn't getting to where it needed to get," he says. "To where padlocks were being put on the production studio in Canada because we had insufficient funds to get going. To where I had to leverage my house."