In xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Vin Diesel is joined on screen by a very diverse cast of characters. Two of those characters are played by Indian superstar Deepika Padukone—one of the highest paid actresses in the world—and Hong Kong action legend and Rogue One star Donnie Yen.
Padukone and Yen play the primary villains of the film, and Screen Rant spoke with them at the xXx press day to find out what brought them to the movie and how the experience differed from shooting movies in their home countries.
What attracted you to your roles in xXx: Return of Xander Cage?
Deepika Padukone: For me it was to see such a strong female character in a movie of this nature. To see such a strong, intelligent, smart woman, but at the same time she can be emotional and vulnerable…which I think embodies and represents today’s woman, you know? She can be all of these amazing things, and she can multitask…and also, take direction when she needs to, be a part of a group when she needs to, but also lead a team when she needs to. So all of those little nuances and qualities that I feel represent today’s woman, I thought Serena had all of that, so it makes it a very, very relatable character.
Donnie Yen: And for me, as an Asian actor, you’ve never seen an Asian character that can be so much fun and charismatic, and have a sense of humor. I mean, usually Chinese men particularly—and women as well—they are usually cast in a very cliché typecast of character, and this is—he doesn’t have to be any color or race. He is just a really cool character.
And a badass.
Donnie Yen: To a certain degree yes. He’s not bad, as bad as Deepika’s character is.
You guys have a lot of experience filming overseas; what’s the difference filming a big budget feature like this from what you guys have done previously?
Deepika Padukone: Well for me, exactly the same. It’s a very valid question, because this is my first, sort of, global project in the true sense, but I think that—so I had similar questions when I left home, but after this experience, and now I can very confidently say that it was exactly the same. The same—
Deepika Padukone: Yeah, it was exactly the same.
Donnie Yen: And for me, it’s even more similar. Especially a Vin Diesel movie, cause he likes to improvise.
Deepika Padukone: Yeah.
Donnie Yen: He comes on the set, he changes his lines and choreography; this is something that [in the] Hong Kong action industry has always been that kind of practice, where we shoot a movie with one synopsis and we work them out—actors and directors—spontaneously. So for me, I’m fine with it.
Donnie I have a question for you. What are the chances we’re gonna see your Rogue One character appear in another Star Wars film or in Rebels?
Donnie Yen: That you have to ask Lucasfilm/Disney. [laughs]
No talks at all yet?
Donnie Yen: You know, I think anything’s possible for the future. I take it a step at a time, you know?