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What Is Vin Diesel's 'Code of Silence' and How Can It Save Hollywood?
vin-diesel-fast and furious

What Is Vin Diesel's 'Code of Silence' and How Can It Save Hollywood?

Vin Diesel has a strict rule to avoid persistent attention from the media, and it could contribute to healthier celebrity culture.

Vin Diesel has been a Hollywood fixture since the early '90s, starring in blockbusters like Saving Private Ryan, Pitchblack, and of course, The Fast and the Furious franchise. And while he puts everything out there when he is on screen, he holds back when it comes to his personal life.

There are a ton of benefits that come along with being a celebrity. There are the usual rags to riches scenario, potential deals for flashy dream projects, and a particular kind of love and recognition from millions of people across the world.

However, it is important to remember that celebrities are individuals with their own preferences, agency, and social skills. Although plenty of them are happy to partake in the spectacle known as celebrity culture, there are others, such as Diesel, that would rather keep a low profile despite the usual glamor and prestige tied to their name.

What Has Vin Diesel Said About His Code of Silence

Vin Diesel holding a microphone during an interview.

If Vin Diesel is to be believed, then there is a “code of silence” when it comes to actors working in Hollywood. Diesel himself has compared his desire for privacy to some of the greatest actors of all time, "I'm not gonna put it out there on a magazine cover like some other actors. I come from the Harrison Ford, Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino code of silence."

Whether his analysis is correct or not, everything comes with a price, and privacy seems to be one of the things someone is usually forced to sacrifice if they are to ever enjoy fame. This unhealthy mentality recreates a bad vibe between the artist and their craft which is where Vin Diesel’s code of silence comes in.

Back in the day, a “code of silence” in Hollywood referred to the secrecy of the film and television industry’s numerous projects. Precious information was meant to be kept confidential, and the marketed stars of the films, usually the actors but also the director, had to keep quiet when interacting with the press.

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Vin Diesel’s code of silence does not refer to that idea, nor is it even implied to be based on the notion in the first place. Instead of focusing on preventing spoilers, Diesel’s code of silence aims to open doors for famous people to get by crowds without attracting much attention.

Diesel has a history of decrying the media’s invasive habit of interfering with the private life of celebrities, such as his frustration with the frequent rumors that he is gay. He has also mentioned that the pressure that comes with being famous can be so overwhelming in the United States that he prefers dating in Europe. Overall, despite embodying the idea of a blockbuster action star, which he certainly is, Diesel’s philosophy is as far removed from the stereotypical attention-seeking celebrity as one can get.

The Various Followers of the Code of Silence

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In that quoted sequence of references, Diesel mentioned Harrison Ford among other actors when explaining his view on celebrities exposing their private life to the media. When it comes to celebrities having an aversion for the more irritable aspects of public life, Harrison Ford is arguably the most notorious one, and not without reason.

For all the attachment he might have for Indiana Jones as a character, Ford has been worn down by the bombardment of enthusiastic comments from Star Wars fans and excitable reporters. Although unwilling to dismiss the wealth acquired by his big roles and evidently appreciating it, Ford exemplifies the idea of a celebrity who would “would rather have the privacy of an ordinary guy.”

It is fitting that Diesel also mentioned both Al Pacino and Marlon Brando. During a conversation between the two, Brando gave Pacino a main tongue-in-cheek tip of “never moving to Los Angeles.” It remains fitting, considering both men have been critical of the negative effects of celebrity culture on mental health. Pacino resorted to drinking when struggling to cope with his fame, and to this day, still swears off drugs and alcohol, presumably out of association with the darker times in his life.

Harrison Ford and Al Pacino are two of many celebrities to adhere to this devotion to privacy. Decisions that might refer to a code of silence to Vin Diesel is an adamant refusal to play Hollywood’s game to others. For example, George Clooney is another immediately recognizable name whose public presence is also limited to interviews. One of the reasons Clooney gave for not being on social media is its habit of making people already in high demand even more accessible to the public.  

Many celebrities are completely private altogether. Their own code of silence is successfully maintained by avoiding social media and refusing to give the mainstream press the desired answers. At this point, while there is still gossip about them, it is mainly related to their work. This group of celebrities includes Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Denzel Washington, and Ryan Gosling.

The Code of Silence’s Positive Effects

George Clooney

It can be hard to convincingly describe the lives of most celebrities as difficult, but there are challenges that come with frequent public exposure. People’s purpose can be so tied to their work that their self-esteem is dependent on their public image.

Actors are at risk of being pigeonholed into certain archetypes or even a singular character, like Leonard Nimoy with Spock, should a role become the highlight of their career, potentially depriving them of enriching their craft. The idea of having your every move and word be potentially recorded due to people’s attachment to your work can genuinely crush a person’s mental health if they are unprepared.

The code of silence helps celebrities and other workers in the entertainment industry internalize a healthier view of their occupation. It manages the unsavory aspects of celebrity culture by giving these people the material benefits of fame without overwhelming their private lives.

While learning about an artist’s creative process can be fascinating, there is no need to know everything about their inner social circles if a celebrity isn't willing to share.


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