The Rye Canyon Business Park is about 40 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, in a cul-de-sac protected by the San Gabriel and Santa Susana mountain ranges, on land once home to a 377-acre Lockheed Corporation research campus. Lockheed put scale models of military aircraft like the F-117 stealth fighter through their paces here. In the late 1960s, as he began to shift focus from painting to installations, the artist Robert Irwin took a tour of the anechoic chamber in Building 46, an experience that stoked his fascination with site-conditional artworks and the perceptual effects of sensory deprivation.
Years later, Irwin would tell the writer Lawrence Wechsler that the most interesting thing about spending time in the chamber's total soundless darkness was how it felt to step back out into the world. "After I’d sat in there for six hours, for instance," Irwin said, "and then got up and walked back home down the same street I’d come in on, the trees were still trees, and the street was still a street, and the houses were still houses, but the world did not look the same. It was very, very noticeably altered.”
In 1998, Lockheed sold the facility to the real-estate developer Legacy Partners and Goldman Sachs for $20 million. A few years later, billionaire Alfred Mann turned about half of it into the Mann Biomedical Park. The rest is mixed-use space, mostly squarish industrial-park buildings in white, tan, or adobe, seemingly clicked into position for Sims to live and work in. It's a place that looks like nowhere in particular, so it can pass for anywhere. TV shows like NCIS, CSI, and The Mentalist have all shot in and around the Rye Canyon property, as did 24, a program where the war on terror often seemed to rage exclusively in Southern California's blandest office developments — in 2007, Jack Bauer failed to stop terrorist mastermind Abu Fayed from destroying the nearby city of Valencia with a nuclear bomb.
Vin Diesel, the costar most closely identified with Walker, has paid tribute both online and in person. On his highly active Facebook page, Diesel writes a note to Walker, addressing him both by a nickname and by the name of his Fast & Furious character:
"To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die."
Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now... and the profound impact, your full life has had on it, on Us... on me...
I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were... on and off screen.
While the Hollywood fat cats are away (at Toronto combing the prestige film bargain bins for the next The King's Speech), the bloodthirsty, intergalactic ex-con mice will play … That's right, Vin Diesel's Riddick threequel, counterintuitively named Riddick, was no. 1 at the box office this weekend! Even Universal’s distribution chief admitsRiddick’s $18.7 million opening is kind of like winning $100 in the lotto: Don’t bother putting it toward the new car fund; just enjoy taking your significant other out for a nice dinner.
Riddick bested franchise-starter Pitch Black’s $11.6 million opening, though it didn’t come close to the $24.3 million of its ostentatious sequel Remember the Time — oops, I mean Chronicles of Riddick. Just to be clear, these numbers are not adjusted for inflation or the 3-D luxury tax. (By the way, I hope your brain cells are as fried as mine from being reminded that Magic Johnson was in Remember the Time, and that Dame Judi Dench has screen time with Vin Diesel.)
No one loves intergalactic super-badass Riddick as much as Vin Diesel loves Riddick. This is my favorite thing about the Riddick movies. Not since the Rocky series has a franchise's refusal to die seemed this much like a pure expression of its lead actor's indomitable will. The first Riddick film, 2000's modestly budgeted sci-fi/survival-horror thriller Pitch Black, put Diesel on the map as an action star. He went on to launch his career as a human tentpole with the first Fast and the Furious one year later. Most actors wouldn't have looked back. But Diesel isn't most actors. The heart of an inveterate fantasy geek beats under his paving-stone pecs, and geeks don't think in one-offs. They dream of sagas, of Holy Trilogies. Diesel and his copilot, writer/director David Twohy, weren't done with Riddick yet. They reportedly delivered the script for 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick to the studio accompanied by locked leather binders representing sequels to come.
Chronicles made $57 million against a $105 million budget, so Universal got out of the Riddick business and those movies were never made. Diesel agreed to do a brief cameo in 2006's otherwise-Vinless Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in exchange for the rights to the character and future sequels. It probably seemed like a magic-beans deal to the studio, but the third Riddick film finally arrives in theaters this week, a little more than 13 years after the first one. It's smaller, independently financed, closer to the no-frills action of Pitch Black than the sprawling, overbaked space opera of Chronicles. It's just called Riddick, like a back-to-basics solo album. Its chief reference point was Robert Redford's Jeremiah Johnson, not the oeuvre of George Lucas, although if this one makes enough money, Twohy and Diesel may yet get the chance to crack those binders open and unleash the goofiness within.
Vin Diesel, despite bearing an unsettling resemblance to what it would look like if you were to try to shoplift a side of beef from the butcher by hiding it inside an enormous white tank top, is an utter delight. We will brook no dissension on this point. And now that he has become a Hollywood Immortal by having his essence forever sealed into a star-encrusted slab of concrete on the Walk of Fame, his legacy is secure; he no longer is required to give a fuck. It comes with the sidewalk. He is not only playing with house money, he's putting it on green, and he's winning five out of five spins. This is a man who not only survived Chronicles of Riddick, but he's heaving a new one at you in less than 24 hours, because he cannot be hurt any longer. Strike at the side of beef with a cleaver and see what happens.
OK, well, no, technically, it's not just any tree: It's Groot, from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and technically he's more a Tree Man, and also a superhero, and also a guardian of the galaxy. But still! Vin Diesel — the modern paragon of cinema's "Monosyllabic Grunt First" school of acting — is possibly going to play a character that is basically a walking tree. This is very, very fantastic.
As always, this breaking Vin Diesel news comes to us hot off the unimpeachable source for Vin Diesel info that is Vin Diesel's Facebook page. Diesel first hinted at some upcoming work with Marvel on his Facebook in June, dropping a cryptic status update: "Marvel has requested a meeting... no idea what for ... haha, you probably know better than me ..." Then, on Sunday, after noticing Vin had updated his FB with an image of Groot (from the Guardians comic book), Deadline poked around and found that America's favorite human is now in full-fledged talks with Marvel to join Benicio del Toro, Zoe Saldana, Glenn Close, and the newly swol Chris Pratt in the Guardians movie.
Even Vin Diesel doesn't know! On Wednesday, on his highly active Facebook page, Diesel wrote (alongside a very dramatic photo of him jetpacking) that "Marvel has requested a meeting no idea what for haha, you probably know better than me "
Lena Dunham is less than titillated by the fact that Girls is getting its own porn parody (kinky cupcakes in the shower or I don't care). Among other objections ("because it grosses me out"), Dunham takes issue with the dude-centric sexual gaze of the porn's producer, Hustler, "because Girls is, at its core, a feminist action." The comments section under that link are basically the rudest, by the way, but off of Dunham's closing tweet that her XXX name would be "Murray Broadway," one person chimed in to say "If you’ve spent years combating the perception that you’re an entitled child of entertainment privilege, you may want to skip reminding people your first pet was named Murray and you grew up on Broadway."
Are you gonna see Fast & Furious 6 this weekend? No? Why not? If the answer isn't "I'm in a coma" or "I DON'T HAVE EYES," you are a moron. As Alex Pappademas already told you people, this thing is "crack. It gets you really high." And it will also never, ever die. Fast 7 is already set for 2014 (its villain — SPOILER ALERT: It's an actual famous person you've heard of before — is teased at the end of F6), and all manner of spin-offs and sequels have been bandied about.
But we're already at perilously high levels of mania (in this new one, a plane more or less ejaculates a car!). So how on earth will this franchise keep out-crazying itself? Don't you worry for a minute: We had some high-level talks with the good folks at Universal Pictures, and they let us in on some company secrets. They got us really amped up on green tea before, though, and let us take notes only on cocktail napkins, and in our own blood. But needless to say, we're in good hands. Herewith, a partial preview of the Fast & Furious future.
Vin Diesel, it turns out, is a pretty weird guy. He was on The Tonight Show last night, and he called himself "shy," and I actually believe him? In the clip, he speaks very deliberately. He overlaughs like a madman. Also, he turns all the way around to halfheartedly ham with whoever is occupying the seat that will forever truly belong to Kevin Eubanks, and it's crazy awkward. Most important: He's 45. 45?! I say this honestly: He looks amazing. There is almost definitely a creepy, moldering, grotesque painting of Vin Diesel stuffed somewhere in the recesses of Vin Diesel's attic.
OK, but now let's get to the actual content of what Diesel was saying. Yes, the actual content! Vin doesn't go on late-night TV to share toothless anecdotes. He goes on late-night TV to speak truths. In response to a question about staying fit, Diesel let it be known that he believes men in Hollywood are under more pressure than women to look good. He's speaking out because it's important. Actors are being driven to use steroids! Diesel doesn't do steroids. No one should ever use steroids. Listen up, body-conscious dudes: "I have a lot of friends that I grew up with that were bouncers that would do steroids that would have to get their ... tits drained."
We know we say this every week, but this time it's true: Summer movie season truly starts this weekend, with the opening of Fast & Furious 6, and we here at Grantland figured it was about time we honor the muscle-ripped, gravel-voiced heart of the franchise with his very own HOF.
And it could only be more bizarrely perfect if he were reclining in his own bathtub up on that stage, surrounded by flickering candles, occasionally drawing his knees up to his chest to protect himself from the feelings spilling out. But maybe he doesn't even need the prop; he's somehow just as naked standing up there all alone, sounding like Barry White if Barry White could throw The Rock through a wall.