Vin Diesel acted in Steven Spielberg's 1998 film Saving Private Ryan

Vin Diesel is looking to get back into the director’s chair, and he says Steven Spielberg is encouraging him to do so.

In a recent interview with The National, the actor said Spielberg — who directed Diesel in 1998’s Saving Private Ryan — told him his lack of directing credits “is a crime of cinema.”

“Speaking of Steven Spielberg, I saw him recently, and he had said to me, ‘When I wrote the role for you in Saving Private Ryan, I was obviously employing the actor, but I was also secretly championing the director in you, and you have not directed enough. That is a crime of cinema and you must get back in the directing chair,’” Diesel, 52, told the outlet. “I haven’t directed enough.”

Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel
| Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty

The Fast and Furious star has directed before, including a 1995 short film titled Multi-Facial that he also wrote and starred in. It was this piece that led Spielberg to cast him in Saving Private Ryan.

In 1997, Diesel directed his first feature film, Strays, but hasn’t helmed a movie since. He does have one project in mind, though: the story of Hannibal Barca, a Carthaginian general who once fought the ancient Romans.

“I haven’t done it yet,” the actor said, later adding: “I was in Egypt, in Tunisia, I was in Spain. I crossed the Alps where Hannibal did. I did so much research for this, but I still haven’t carved out the time to do it.”

Vin Diesel Saving Private Ryan
Vin Diesel in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan

Diesel currently stars in the superhero action film Bloodshot. Though he does want to direct, he said he wants to continue to act in films that pack theaters as more moviegoers opt for streaming services over local cinemas.

“There’s the threat to the cinematic experience, and when you make movies like Bloodshot or Fast 9, you are protecting that thing that might not be here forever, and that’s that cinematic social experience,” he said. “Although I have to do that, I have to continue the director’s journey at some point.”