Vin Diesel hails diversity of xXx: Return Of Xander Cage cast at film's European launch

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Vin Diesel has lauded the diversity of the cast in the latest film of the xXx franchise as he returned as Xander Cage 15 years after first playing the role.

The gravel-voiced actor offered fans a rendition of What A Wonderful World while at the European premiere for xXx: Return Of Xander Cage on Tuesday night.

Just moments earlier, Vin had landed on the carpet via helicopter at the Cineworld at The O2 in Greenwich, London.

He said he returned to the franchise after missing the second film - released in 2005 - because he "wanted to have fun".

Vin Diesel arrives in style (Ian West/PA)
Vin Diesel arrives in style (Ian West/PA)

The movie sees the extreme athlete-turned-government operative back in action for a tough new assignment alongside his handler Augustus Gibbons, played by Samuel L Jackson.

Also starring in the film are Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, Chinese actor and martial arts specialist Donnie Yen, Thai actor and martial arts fighter Tony Jaa and Australian actress Ruby Rose.

Directed by American DJ Caruso, the third movie in the franchise also stars Bulgarian-Canadian actress Nina Dobrev and UFC fighter Michael Bisping.

Vin voiced his pride at the "incredible" global cast, a comment supported by Caruso, who said the film's stars were "a dream come true".

The XxX cast (Ian West/PA)
The XxX cast (Ian West/PA)

The director told the Press Association: "We've got a little bit of everything and for me, letting them kind of be who they really are and not changing their accents or making them try and be something they weren't, that was really important.

"When you have Don Yen and Tony Jaa in the same movie, as an action director, come on, that's a dream come true."

"I wanted them to contribute, I didn't really have to reign, they were looking to me a lot for the acting.

"For the action, what was really cool was I was learning a lot from Donny and a lot from Tony because that's what they do for a living and to shoot the martial arts fights, I wanted to make sure I did them honour and justice."

Ruby Rose stars (Ian West/PA)
Ruby Rose stars (Ian West/PA)

The third film in the franchise sees Cage return from self-imposed exile to battle a warrior named Xiang (Yen) and his team in a race to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora's Box.

DJ said he decided to take on the film because he wanted "to bring this cool individual into modern cinema".

Of the expected reception for the film, he said: "I hope it's the first monster of 2017, I feel really good about it."

The film opens on January 19