Universal is hoping to pump some Diesel into The Fast and the Furious 3.
In development on the third installment of the high-octane franchise, the studio wants Vin Diesel back in the driver's seat, according to the trades.
In 2001, Diesel and Paul Walker costarred in the first Fast movie about theft and the Los Angeles street-racing circuit. The feature exceeded studio expectations and perplexed critics with a $144 million North American box-office haul.
But Universal balked at Diesel's $20 million asking price for the 2003 sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and the action was moved to Miami where Walker, who played undercover cop Brian O'Conner, was paired with Tyrese.
While the budget on the second film doubled to $76 million, the flick only managed to earn $127 million, which may explain why Walker hasn't been invited back.
This time around, the action would catch up with Diesel's character, Dominic Toretto, on the lam in Mexico, and follow the thug with a heart of gold to Tokyo, where Toretto comes to the rescue of a friend in trouble with local gangsters.
According to published reports, Diesel is waiting to see the Fast 3 script before committing to the project.
Diesel's potential participation could also signal the return of director Rob Cohen. Cohen, who directed Diesel in the original Fast and his follow-up flick, XXX, backed out of the sequel without Diesel on board. John Singleton picked up the slack on Fast 2.
The show-biz duo may have something against encores. Diesel and Cohen also dropped out of the sequel to box-office blockbuster XXX. The follow-up movie will now star Ice Cube.
Or maybe Diesel's had his fill of franchise flicks after wrapping Universal's sci-fi actioner Chronicles of Riddick, the follow-up flick to 2000's Pitch Black and part two of a proposed trilogy.
But the two-fer move paid off for the actor. Universal's reportedly eager to partner up with Diesel again based on his performance in Riddick, scheduled for a June 11 release.
The studio may also hope that Diesel's adjusted his salary demands. He only received an $11 million paycheck for Riddick and with nothing else on the immediate horizon--a proposed Hannibal (the conqueror, not cannibal) movie is in development limbo--Diesel may be willing to negotiate his fee for the upcoming turbo-charged project.
Fast and the Furious 3 isn't expected to hit theaters until summer 2005.