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Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev, Bollywood star Deepika Padukone and Orange Is the New Black breakout Ruby Rose are in various stages of negotiations to join the cast of xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, the film project that seeks to reboot the Vin Diesel action spy franchise.
Samuel L. Jackson is attached to the film that is in the throes of casting as it heads to a production start later this month with a script by F. Scott Frazier and D.J. Caruso in the director’s chair.
The project is spearheaded by Diesel and Joe Roth, who was head of Revolution Studios when it made the 2002 original.
The project is on the verge of finding a distributor with several sources saying Paramount will be the home of the franchise.
Roth is producing the movie with his new partner Jeff Kirschenbaum as well as Diesel and his producing partner, Samantha Vincent, who is also his sister. CEO Vince Totino and COO Scott Hemming of Revolution Studios, which was rebooted two years when it was bought by hedge fund Fortress, are shepherding actor and distributor deals for the movie.
The project is heading toward a production start later in February and will shoot in Toronto and the Dominican Republic.
The original XXX was seen as an anti-Bond spy film and focused on extreme athlete Xander Cage who is forced to become a government agent. The movie was a hit, grossing $142 million domestically. A sequel followed in 2005, but it was made without Diesel, and grossed only $26 million domestically.
Plot details are being kept secret. It will focus again on Cage but will also surround him with a core team of sexy badasses and comic relief players, in the vein of how the Fast & Furious franchise has become about a team anchored by Diesel.
Dobrev will play a witty and sarcastic techie, while Padukone will play a huntress who happens to be Cage’s former lover. Rose will play a sniper.
Jackson will return as the head of the National Security Agency.
Dobrev was one of the stars of The Vampire Diaries (she just left after headlining six seasons) and recently appeared in the horror comedy The Final Girls. She also completed production on Crash Pad with Domhnall Gleeson and Christina Applegate and is also set to co-star opposite Asa Butterfield and Maisie Williams in indie comedy Arrivals.
She is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment.
Rose is wrapping up shooting the sequel to Keanu Reeves’ action movie John Wick and will be seen in the upcoming Resident Evil 6. She is repped by Special Artists Agency, art2perform and Ziffren Brittenham.
Padukone is repped by CAA.
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