Judi Dench (and Vin Diesel)

Not morning names or death notices, but an appreciation of Dame Judi Dench; Vin Diesel comes along for the ride, so to speak.

A week ago I was startled to come across (on television) the amazingly violent science fiction movie The Chronicles of Riddick (starring Vin Diesel) and to see Judi Dench in the midst of it, as the character Aereon.

About the movie, from Wikipedia:

The Chronicles of Riddick is a 2004 American science fiction film which follows the adventures of Richard B. Riddick as he attempts to elude capture after the events depicted in the 2000 film Pitch Black. It is written and directed by Pitch Black director David Twohy, with Vin Diesel reprising his role as Riddick and now also acting as producer.

… For his performance in the film, Vin Diesel was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor at the 2004 Golden Raspberry Awards, but lost to George W. Bush for Fahrenheit 9/11.

The plot is enormously complex and loaded with action. I didn’t stay for more than a little of it, but it looked just terrible. Diesel, meanwhile, displaying his amazing musculature, was incessantly in motion but wooden in his line readings.


There he is, posing briefly but intensely for a photo. From Wikipedia:

Vin Diesel (born July 18, 1967) is an American actor and filmmaker. He first became known for appearing in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998). He is best known for his portrayals of Riddick in The Chronicles of Riddick trilogy (2001–2013) and Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious film series (2001–present), two franchises in which he also acted as producer.

… Diesel was born Mark Sinclair or Mark Sinclair Vincent in New York City along with his twin brother, Paul.

The entertainment press reported that Diesel campaigned hard to get Judi Dench in the movie.

On to Dench. From Wikipedia:

Dame Judith Olivia “Judi” Dench … (born 9 December 1934) is an English actress and author. Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company.

… Over the next two decades, Dench established herself as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She achieved success in television during this period, in the series A Fine Romance from 1981 until 1984, and in 1992 got a starring role in the television romantic comedy series As Time Goes By. Her film appearances were infrequent and included supporting roles in major films such as A Room with a View (1986) opposite Maggie Smith, but then she was cast as M [the head of the secret intelligence service MI6] in GoldenEye (1995), a role she continued to play in James Bond films until Skyfall (2012).

Her roles span a huge range, from the sweetly funny characters in the two tv series through Sally Bowles in the original London production (1968) of Cabaret and Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown to a full set of Shakespearean roles.

Here she is as Ophelia in Hamlet (1957):


and now in 2007 at an awards ceremony:


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