Today Vin Diesel is best known as the star and driving force (sorry) behind the mega-popular Fast & Furious series, which has evolved from an early-2000s B-movie into a self-aware international action brand. But once upon a time Hollywood tried to remake him as the next James Bond with xXx, an action franchise that didn’t really get off the ground but is getting another shot as xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Clearly eyeing the same diverse global approach that’s worked for the Fast series, the film has sought out international co-stars like Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone and Tony Jaa to round out its cast.

Now, we can add one more name to that list: Ariadna Gutiérrez, the first runner-up at the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, has joined the cast for The Return of Xander Cage.

Gutiérrez was already a star in her native Colombia, where she was crowned Miss Colombia in 2014. But she got an unexpected (and somewhat awkward) push to international recognition when, after having placed second in the overall voting for the Miss Universe pageant, her name was mistakenly called as the winner (the actual victor was Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach) by comedian and Family Feud host Steve Harvey, who was serving as host. The confused scene that resulted, broadcast live internationally, made Gutiérrez an instantly-sympathetic household name worldwide – something that generally doesn’t happen to second-place finishers in such contests.

As reported by Variety, the glamorous star will now make her film debut as Diesel’s love interest in the big-budget action feature directed by D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, I Am Number Four). The Return of Xander Cage is clearly aiming to provide Diesel with a third reliable box-office franchise to join his current collection alongside the Fast films and Riddick, with Samuel L. Jackson, Kris Wu and Ruby Rose also being part of the xXx film’s (seemingly ever-growing) cast.

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Released in 2002, xXx follows Diesel as Xander Cage, an “extreme athlete” and internet-video star who is conscripted by a secret government agency to put his skills to work as a spy infiltrating an anarchist terrorist cell that shared his various hobbies. The film received mixed reviews and Diesel decline to appear in the sequel, which led producers to kill his character off (off-screen) in favor of a new lead played by Ice Cube for xXx: State of the Union. Supposedly, this third film will retcon Cage as having been living in self-imposed exile and rework the central concept from single-star vehicle into an ensemble piece closer to the more recent Fast sequels; with the returned Cage leading a team of fellow agents against a group of villains seeking a doomsday weapon called Pandora’s Box.

Gutiérrez casting will give the film another much-needed female face and add to the internationally-flavored diversity that has become a regular focus of films produced by and/or starring Diesel – an actor whose early appeal was often partly attributed to his multiethnic background and “post-national” persona. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not internationally-famous names will translate to a significant box-office boost for the film. Diesel returned to Fast & Furious after a string of expensive flops failed to establish him as a brand in his own right – and while the revived franchise is a success story, his only major non-Fast & Furious/Riddick turn has been as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Which is to say, there’s no guarantee that The Return of Xander Cage will be a successful re-launch for the xXx brand.

NEXT: The Return of Xander Cage Official Synopsis

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage wil open in U.S. theaters on January 20th, 2017.

Source: Variety