The sun is beaming down over the picturesque Canyon Ranch in Westlake Village, California. But it’s not the heat that’s getting to Vin Diesel, it’s the constant ribbing from his entourage. Vin’s two lifelong buddies, Valentino Morales (a supporting player in most of Diesel’s films) and Dave Breaux (a co-star in the viral video of Diesel in his breakdancing days), are here cracking jokes and snapping their own pictures between takes.
The gang goes back to when Diesel was just a train-hopping New York City kid, and they reminisce about how they all came West when Diesel turned Vincent Chase. “People don’t see him for what he really is,” Valentino says—in a Dominican drawl— staring in as Diesel poses for the camera. “They only see a buff guy. But he’s a genius actor.”
There comes a moment when the cameras are gone and Diesel and his buddies stand at a high point of Canyon Ranch because Diesel wants a group picture. They lean against the vintage Cadillac and smile wide. For a moment, there aren’t any decisions to make or parts to play. Diesel can just be himself. “Let’s show them how we ball out,” Diesel says to Val and Dave with an iPhone pointed at them. “Let’s show them how we’re living—look tough.”
To read more and find out how Diesel swapped the streets of New York for the super sets of Hollywood blockbusters, grab a copy of the June issue of Men’s Fitness on newsstands May 20th or subscribe to the magazine.
And don’t miss this behind-the-scenes footage from Diesel’s cover shoot.