Vin Diesel wants you to have fun watching xXx: Return of Xander Cage

It has been over eleven years since we last saw our xXx extreme hero, Xander Cage, save the world. Of course, when the world needs saving again, the NSA calls on our ‘retired’ thrill-seeker to come back and do it all over again. Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage, but this time, he’s not alone. He brings on a team full of global superstars to help him – Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, and Michael Bisping.

In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the cast and director, D.J. Caruso, talked more about the film and the impact of Xander Cage’s return. Diesel told the crowd he came back as Cage for himself to just play a fun character again.

“I needed to do XXX for myself because I needed to play a character that I could laugh again and smile again and really, really enjoy myself,” said Diesel. “I also felt like it was time to introduce to the world a global cast, in a way that you introduce the world to a global cast. There is something so cool about the idea of diving into other film markets and recruiting their celebrated heroes and incorporating them into this franchise.”

And global, they did. xXx recruited pretty famous international superstars to join their cast.

Donnie Yen, fresh off getting his hand and footprints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and starring in Rogue One: A Star Wars film, was high on Vin Diesel’s wish list.

“I’ve been a fan of Donnie for quite some time,” said Diesel. “The idea of bringing him into this kind of franchise felt new, fresh, and right.”

Yen agreed, “I just came in and had fun. I didn’t really think much about it. I knew I was working with Vin and it was really exciting. Every day was like a carnival for me. He’s a very warm individual and a great producer.”

As one of the highest-paid and sought-after actresses in the world, Bollywood queen Deepika Padukone was ready for the action scenes. She told the audience their rigorous training schedule, “I think we had every weekend we had to train with the stunt team. All of us were doing our physical training to be able to do all of that. To be flexible and be strong and find that strength. But then, we also had an amazing action stunt team.”

Australian actress Ruby Rose worked closely with Padukone and felt proud of the badass female characters in the film. “These women are just so unique, different, and special in their own way. From Becky to Serena to Adele to Toni Collette’s character as well. They are so necessary. They are so authentic and organic as well,” said Rose.

Becky, played by Vampire Diaries alum Nina Dobrev, is the computer tech geek of the film. Her gadgets and knowledge helped the group carry on their mission. Many did not expect Dobrev to audition for the role, but when she did. She nailed it. “I think that most people don’t know this but I’m pretty dorky and clumsy,” said Dobrev. “I talk too much and I ramble. There is a lot of Becky in me, it’s just that the world hasn’t seen it yet. I walked in. The glasses were my idea.”

Another international action superstar was recruited to the film. Tony Jaa, after working with Diesel on Furious 7, was brought on for his fighting style. Diesel praised Jaa as his ‘good luck charm’.

“Tony Jaa – his fighting style. We’ve seen him and been in awe of him. I remember Quentin Tarantino was in my living room talking about Tony Jaa. ‘Oh, you gotta see Ong Bak. He’s so incredible,’ praised Diesel.

Of course, the world was introduced to K-Pop and Chinese superstar Kris Wu as DJ superstar Nicks in the film. Diesel introduced the 26-year-old star to the audience, “My little brother who has never done an American film before – Kris Wu comes in. The second we start filming and do our first scene together. Everyone on set goes you guys have known each other for ten years.”

The film also introduces singer/songwriter Nicky Jam into the world as international crime boss Lazarus. Jam, who serenaded the audience with a song, expressed his thanks for the cast and crew.

“I was very nervous. My first time and I’m doing a confrontation with Vin Diesel. Oh my God. He made it very easy for me. He was very humble about everything. Everyone in the cast was so nice. They made it easy for me,” said Jam. “But, Lazarus is somebody we had in the hood, always. So it wasn’t really too hard for me to play Lazarus. We had a lot of Lazarus in the hood in Puerto Rico. So in a way, I identify myself with Lazarus. So, it went well. I think I’m Lazarus myself. And he has a lot of girls next to him.”

The film was praised by the audience for their extreme and intense action scenes. Director D.J. Caruso said that Vin, as a producer, played a big part in the creative side.

“Vin the producer, because he’s creative is very easy for me as a filmmaker because it’s not about counting how much time and shots we had left. The creative producer, Vin, was very supportive,” explained Caruso. “As an actor, Vin is right and everyone here. They all want to push as far as they could go to make it as best as we could be. When we were doing a simple shot of a punch to the face or a kick or a swing, it was always about how we could make it the best we could possibly be.”

Diesel and the team even created a new type of martial arts for the film.

“We were trying to be really ambitious with this Xander character and in creating something called MXMA, which is something you’ve never heard of. The idea is martial arts with a motocross bike,” said Diesel. “In that sequence, when Xander is fighting. He;s beating you up with his motocross. We wanted to create that unique style for Xander.”

With the atmosphere and political change happening in the world, Diesel said that xXx was needed to give the audience something fun to watch.

He told the audience, “That’s why right now xXx needed to come out right now. Is there a political parallel? I don’t know. I think, that more than anything,  the world needed to have a movie where you can just have fun.”

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1543 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul

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