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Vin Diesel has made a bigger name over the last decade as Dominic Toretto in the Fast and Furious franchise, but way back in 2002, he was cast as Xander Cage, a thrill-seeking extreme athlete recruited (forced) by the NSA to go undercover and infiltrate a gang of Russian crime lords or go to prison because that’s how things work in the real world. A few years later, for the sequel, Diesel was out and Ice Cube stepped in as a whole different “bad guy” working for the side of good. That movie tanked. Hard.
The heavy on stunts, action series has long had its fans and now its main hero is returning to the franchise. With a “Revenant” story twist, Xander, who was thought dead, returns to action for more high-octane adventure. The cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, who is returning to the series as well, Jet Li, UFC fighter Conor McGregor, and Tony Jaa, who made an appearance in Diesel’s Furious 7 as a henchman. But this is ain’t just a man’s game. Let’s meet the women.
She isn’t that well known beyond Bollywood (yet), but has become a huge sensation in her native country and is poised to explode in the West. In fact, she is one the highest paid actresses in the world and has been making movies for more than ten years. Western audiences might know her from the international box office hit Cocktail, an Indian romantic-comedy that was a huge turning point for Padukone, earning here high acclaim.
She followed that up with 2014’s Happy New Year, a musical heist and action film that saw her playing a Marathi bar dancer that gets mixed up into some criminal action, and surely helped secure her for role in xXx. In this film, her character is named Serena Unger and is romantically linked to Cage, assuring viewers of some steam but no doubt, a lot more.
A breakout star of the Netflix series Orange in the New Black, Rose might also be a new face to larger audiences, though some might recognize her from 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, playing Abigail. A newcomer of sorts to acting, the Australian-born talent began as a model, and still works in fashion today. Made famous in her home country on Australian MTV as a VJ, she won her spot with an impressive display by downing 100 shots of beer in as many minutes, not to mention that intriguing look.
A regular on TV and in film now, she plays a member of Xander’s team in xXx, mostly working as a sniper. While she has limited film experience, that’s surely about to change, as we expect to see her in the up-coming John Wick 2 and a number of other other high-profile films.
Another television star making the jump to the big screen, Dobrev was a hit on TV’s Degrassi and The Vampire Diaries, though her recent film might be more familiar with current audiences. Acting since 2006, she’s appeared in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Let’s Be Cops, and last year’s surprise horror hit, The Final Girls. Born in Bulgaria and named Nikolina Konstantinova Dobreva, she and her family moved to Canada when she was very young and then left university in 2008 to pursue an acting career, which has certainly paid off.
A multiple Teen Choice Ward winner, she is poised to become a breakout star, despite having a decade in the business. For xXx, she plays a nerdy tech team member, and coming soon, will be headlining as a lead in the reboot of the sci-fi thriller Flatliners.