In the VIP pens at Spago's and Le Dome, where the Hollywood players "do" lunch, Vin Diesel is the name on everyone's lips. But they're not complaining about the wine, they're raving about the newest action-man on the block.
Currently being touted as "A New Breed of Secret Agent" for his starring role in espionage stunt-fest "xXx", 35-year-old Vin Diesel is more than that. He's a new breed of Hollywood action hero, breaking the mould set by Schwarzenegger and Stallone with a natural cross-gender and multi-ethnic appeal.
Not especially handsome and with a voice that sounds like he's got a gobful of dough, there's no obvious reason why Diesel should've set the world alight.
Last year's street-racing story "The Fast and the Furious" was an old banger of a script, Diesel uttering clangers like, "I live my life a quarter mile at a time".
And yet it was the sleeper hit of the year, with most critics agreeing that Vin Diesel was the juice that fuelled the juggernaut.
Prior to his breakthrough role as Pvt Caparzo in "Saving Private Ryan", struggling actor Mark Vincent (as his mom calls him) paid the rent turfing troublemakers as a nightclub bouncer in his native New York.
Coarse without apology, it's that same blokishness he conveys on screen. And therein lies his secret. Diesel is a "real man", boasting the blue-collar charm of a guy who knows his sparkplug from his camshaft. The kinda guy Hollywood is crying out for.
While Tom Hanks lays claim to the title of Hollywood's "everyman", Diesel has cornered a new market as the big-screen's "hunky handyman".
His unsophisticated manliness and simple bald-headed cheek appeals across the board. That's unlike gruff gladiator Russell Crowe, who most likely scares old ladies just for fun and white-bred Harrison Ford, movie hero for the well-to-do.
But looking good in a vest isn't all Diesel has accomplished. He is less known in his capacity as writer, director, producer and star of indie films "Multi-Facial" and "Strays", and this makes it difficult to believe that Diesel will stay satisfied with the flexing and dippy derring-do that has brought him to prominence.
You get the feeling that this action hero is giving us the sideways glance, having a little fun with his onscreen persona and biding his time; until what, we'll have to wait and see...