By DAVE MCNARY
Ariadna Gutierrez, the first runner-up in the Miss Universe contest last year, has been cast as Vin Diesel’s love interest in xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage.
Gutierrez, who was Miss Colombia 2014, gained massive international recognition at the Miss Universe pageant when host Steve Harvey announced her as the winner by mistake – when it was actually Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who won.
The movie, which has been shooting in Toronto, Canada and the Dominican Republic, will mark her feature film debut. Paramount announced recently that it had set a Jan 20, 2017, release date.
The new xXx installment, produced by Revolution Studios, Roth Kirschenbaum Films and Diesel’s One Race Film, is directed by D.J. Caruso (I Am Number Four) from a script by Chad St John, with current revisions by F. Scott Frazier.
Diesel starred in the original 2002 XXX, directed by Rob Cohen, as underground sports star Xander Cage, who was blackmailed by the US government to take down a gang of international terrorists. The film, released by Sony, performed well with US$277mil worldwide.
Diesel was not part of the sequel, with Ice Cube playing the lead role in 2005’s xXx: State Of The Union, which grossed US$71mil worldwide for Sony. Lee Tamahori directed the second film.
The third film follows Diesel’s character as he comes out of self-imposed exile to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Indian actress Deepika Padukone will play the female lead opposite Diesel, joining Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Donnie Yen and Samuel L. Jackson. – Reuters