“It was messy, it was bad. We basically got kicked out of town,” Twohy said to THR in 2013. While such a thing could easily derail an independent production, Diesel wasn’t going to let that happen. He personally fronted money to the production until the loans came through, allowing filming to carry on.
As opposed to the sprawling, massive-scale “Chronicles of Riddick,” the filmmakers crafted a simpler storyline that reduced the budget greatly. The film sees Riddick left for dead on a desolate planet fighting for survival against alien predators. The only way off? Activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who only want the bounty his head will fetch. Let the games begin.
Rather crucially, the indie route allowed them to pull no punches and go R-rated this time around. Speaking in an on-set interview in 2013, Diesel explained that studios, especially at that time, were reluctant to make large-scale, R-rated movies:
“You can’t count on your hands a bunch of rated-R movies that are getting a lot of play. They’re so far and few between. In fact, we were victims of that in going the studio route with Chronicles of Riddick. Budget went up, and we went into that film we were going in rated-R, and the first thing taken out was rated-R. You want to spend that kind of money? You want to expand the mythology like that? You’ll have to reconfigure the way you’re going to produce this movie and make it PG.”
Luckily, no studio was going to get in the way of what they had planned this time. Joining Diesel would be a unique cast of actors including Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”), Karl Urban (“The Lord of the Rings”), and even Dave Bautista, before he broke out as an actor in “Guardians of the Galaxy” as Drax, where he would collaborate with Diesel again.