I recently spoke to some folks involved (or at least contracted at one stage to be involved) in director Rob Cohen’s long-mooted “xXx : The Return of Xander Cage”. Probably no big revelation, considering the whole project has been mum for months now, to hear that the film is indefinitely on hold for the time being. But what’s interesting to note is that the flick, which would see Vin Diesel reprising his role as the unpaid stuntman who gets about with Nick Fury saving the world and foxy foreign women, was headed Down Under for a shoot. Cohen and Paramount had decided to go the way of “Mission : Impossible II” (bad, bad example – sorry!), and shoot “xXx 3″ in Oz. Not sure that the film would’ve been set in Oz, but chances are it would’ve, and taken advantage of some of our interesting architecture – stuff worth jumping off of, if you will. Cohen was also planning to shooting some of the flick in New Zealand, suggesting the film was/is somewhat of a global adventure of English-speaking nations outside of the states for Cage.
The film has been designed as a 3D feature and some of the sequences drawn up make terrific use of the gimmick.
While I’m not privy to the reasons behind the sudden stoppage, I can only assume it’s to do with “Riddick” and Paramount waiting to see how Universal does on it, numbers-wise, before pressing the GO button on another expensive Vin Diesel production. Probably wise thinking. Also, Diesel’s got a pretty full-plate – for starters, Universal have him tied down to two more “Fast & Furious” movies over the next year or so. Samuel L.Jackson, attached to “xXx 3″, is also fairly solid booked right now.
So that’s the status of “xXx 3″ – it’s supposedly headed down under, but it’s anyone’s guess when?
Meanwhile, Diesel’s long-planned “The Machine”, an action-comedy from “Night at the Museum” writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, has new writers. “Smallville” alum Miles Millar and Alfred Gough are putting their spin on the script, the story of a government-built machine that, twenty-years after its creation, befriends a small kid. When the government learns ‘the machine’ is operational again, Diesel’s robotic good guy has to protect the tyke and his family. So, yes, it’s a live-action “Iron Giant” movie if you will.
Diesel, who will produce “The Machine”, is reportedly hoping the film will be the first chapter in a new lucrative franchise for him. Possibly in case “xXx 3″ never gets off the ground again?