JET LI Is Confirmed For xXx: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE


The first time America mostly came to know of action star Jet Li was in a villan role for Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998. He performed it brilliantly despite knowing little English even as the script didn't call much for it, but it still put the Hong Kong action star in a brand new spotlight with more eyes on his endeavors.

In some ways, he's become a pretty formidable actor and it's shown greatly in a few of his post Hong Kong films, and even in a few mainland pictures as well. As such, it's good to know he's on par with major Hollywood productions as he's continued to flourish with his craft. Unfortunately this hasn't been the case with Li taking a break from action roles due to his own medical needs aside from his lackluster third appearance in the Expendables in 2014, but headlines as of late are now drawing attetion with Li having done at least one other film overseas, and another now in tow in the form of xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, releasing in 2017.

As of New Years' Day, Li and action star Tony Jaa were the two reported to be in talks for respective roles in the film which is said to begin filming next month despite earlier reports. This week and with details still required for confirming on Jaa's end, we now have word from THR that Li has officially been cast to star in the film.

The report doesn't exactly conclude that Li will play the main villain, although it does say he will portray the role of a leader of his own squad as it pursues the title character, Xander Cage, played by Vin Diesel. D.J. Caruso helms the third with Diesel reprising the role nearly fourteen years since the first with Rob Cohen at the helm and Lee Tamahori sitting in for Diesel's replacement, actor Ice Cube.

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone also joins the cast as a huntress and Cage's former lover with Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev as a witty and sarcastic techie, Resident Evil 6 and John Wick 2 co-star and actress Ruby Rose as a sniper, and actor Samuel L. Jackson back for the third as NSA Agent Agustus Gibbons with UFC 194 title holder Connor MacGregor in an undisclosed role.

F. Scott Frazier is penning the script with Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum, Vin Diesel and sister/producing partner Samantha Vincent all producing as production reportedly begins in February according to an earlier THR report. Outside this, Diesel will also commence filming Fast 8 for next year for Universal Pictures.

Li is also expected to appear in directing duo Vernie Yeung and Koan Hui's upcoming fantasy adaptation, League Of Gods with a release date pending. For now, Li as villain will have to do. Not complaining here...maybe it's the nostalgia kicking in.

More details ahead!

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