We're just a few weeks away from Bloodshot and we still don't know what to make of the Vin Diesel superhero movie. The latest teaser, an Instagram video from Diesel himself, feels more like a French New Wave short film than a high-octane superhero trailer. However, it manages to reveal some surprising common ground between Bloodshot, in theaters March 13, and the acclaimed DC film, Joker.
On Friday, Diesel shared a two minute short featuring himself and speaking in voice-over about his work on Bloodshot, the first live-action film adaptation of a Valiant Comics character. The role is also Diesel's first live-action superhero (his work on Groot in the Marvel franchise was entirely in CG).
"So, of course, with that comes a certain level of pressure," Diesel says over footage of him playing in the streets with signal flares. "The character Ray Garrison, who is Bloodshot, a character who has dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder and really represents the concept of the forgotten or discarded soldier."
Adds Diesel, "For me, it was important to kind of research that sentiment that existed in some of our veterans. Bloodshot specifically has always been the military's favorite superhero. Anybody that's served [asks], 'Am I coming to a world that appreciates me? Or appreciates the sacrifices I've made?'"
Diesel also explains that director Dave Wilson told him he wanted "a broken soldier's physique" rather than the "typical superhero physique" seen from other actors.
Here's when things turn to Joker, and get a little weird. As Diesel explains, he was asked to incorporate mental illness into Bloodshot. Allegedly, this was before Joaquin Phoenix performed in (and later won the Oscar for) Joker.
"Probably most importantly was the fact that Bloodshot was batshit crazy," Diesel says. "Long before Joker, long before these characters played with mental illness and incorporated mental illness into the portrayal of the character, I was asked to incorporate mental illness into the iconic character of Bloodshot."
It's important to note that "batshit crazy" isn't a proper medical term. But Diesel is so darn earnest when he's talking about a character he clearly cares about, maybe it's okay that he used a very wild term to describe mental illnesses.
As we've explained before, Bloodshot is a leading character from the Valiant Comics sandbox. An ex-soldier named Ray Garrison, Ray is subjected to a top-secret government project to become Bloodshot, a super-soldier with a billion "nanites" in his bloodstream. The machines allow Bloodshot to heal wounds quickly and interface with any technology.
In 2017, Diesel was cast as Bloodshot in what will be the first superhero movie from Valiant Comics.
“It’s not a traditional superhero origin movie,” said Hunter Gorinson, VP Brand & Content Strategy at Hivemind, in an interview with Inverse at New York Comic Con. “When we were working on the film from the jump, [we asked ourselves] why does Bloodshot feel different from any other ‘superhero’ movie out there? That starts with the visual aesthetic. It’s very much reflected in that.”
“We’re not following a tried and tested movie structure,” added producer and former CEO of Valiant Comics, Dinesh Shamdasani. “That is very rare in a post-internet age, where you legitimately don’t know what’s going to happen. The opportunities are endless.”
Bloodshot opens in theaters on March 13.