Actor, producer, writer, and director Vin Diesel had a charmed entry into the world of screen acting: after seeing Multi-Facial, a short that Diesel wrote, produced, financed, directed, and starred in, Steven Spielberg created the role of Private Caparzo specifically for the talented young newcomer in his Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Born in New York City on July 18, 1967, Diesel made his stage debut at the age of seven in "Theatre for the New City," which was produced in Greenwich Village. He continued to be involved with the theatre throughout his adolescence, and he went on to attend the city's Hunter College, where his studies in creative writing led him to begin writing screenplays. Diesel became active in filmmaking in the early '90s, first earning notice for the short Multi-Facial, which was selected for screening at the 1995 Cannes Festival. He followed up Multi-Facial with his first feature-length film, 1997's Strays, an urban drama in which he cast himself as a gang boss whose love for a woman inspires him to try to change his ways. Written, directed, and produced by Diesel, the film was selected for competition at the 1997 Sundance Festival, which led to a deal with MTV to turn it into a series.