Vin Diesel is making a film about Hannibal, my favorite person in all of history. I like Diesel as a director, like him in some films, we look like we could be brothers, but I hate the thought of him, with his odd, droning voice and cunning but dumb onscreen presence, playing one of the most brilliant and enigmatic people in history. I don't think he can pull it off, not so much as a director, because his track record there is decent, but as an actor. And that's really too bad, because my own appreciation for
Hannibal aside, the outline of the man's life, and the fact that so little about him is really known, means you can do a lot with him, especially in times like these, kind of like Kirk Douglas did with Spartacus, which is actually a similar story in its own way. Diesel is probably going to go for a blockbuster, Gladiator, or worse, Alexander, type of film, and he will probably fail, in part because he'll be mucking things up in the lead role. But the real failure here will be not taking advantage of the opportunity to tell a really meaningful story that is both interesting and that says something about these times we live in. Hannibal, and us, deserve something fantastic. Here's hoping Diesel gets lucky, but I ain't holding my breath.