Bringing Xander Cage back to the big screen through Vin Diesel, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is certainly one of the most action-packed films of 2017 so far. Ruby Rose stars in the new movie as Xander’s close companion Adele, and in this exclusive interview she talks about joining the franchise, working with Vin and more…
What drew you to this project?
A lotta things. A lotta elements about xXx. You know, firstly I read the script, and I thought it was very funny and I loved, you know, some of the characters that I haven’t really seen before and I love Vin Diesel and knowing that Joe Roth had such a big hand in it, producing it, it was kind of, uh, how could you say ‘no’ to that?
Had you seen the original?
Yeah. I had watched the original when I was in school, I saw it at the cinema and then I’ve watched it quite a few times since then. And I remember just being that person that, you know, a lot of girls watching Vin growing up just saying, ‘oh I wish he was my boyfriend, I love him, I wanna marry him, he’s so hot.’ And I just wanted to BE Vin Diesel.
Like, that’s all I wanted to do, was be Vin Diesel. And, now it’s like the next best thing is being in a film with Vin Diesel and having him be my best friend. So it’s amazing.
What carries over from the first one? What’s interesting about that character and that world?
What I love that Vin brings to Xander Cage is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. I feel like, you know, in some films when you’ve got that type of character, they take this all very seriously. He doesn’t. He’s out there having fun. So it’s entertaining and it’s light but there’s also, you know, that same sense of urgency. And there’s these stunts that he’s doing that have never been done before and we’re definitely bringing that forward into this one as well where there are these crazy stunts that are happening. And, I love the fact that he is not just a good guy, you know? He’s from the wrong side of the tracks and he’s making good with the world and he’s doing all these wonderful things but he’s not just, you know, a police officer that was born and raised in one particular way.
He’s just Xander Cage. There’s really nobody else like him.
Give us a list of some of the stunts that you think were really cool.
Well, for me I have, it’s kind of funny because Deepika and I both have like, one fear. So my fear is I hate heights. I hate them so much. And then we’re in the Dominican Republic and I have to climb up a tree, to horizontally walk up a tree like it’s something that I do every Tuesday. And then pretty much drop down. And so I was really petrified about doing that stunt and it was five in the morning or something, you know, it was like after a pretty long day. So I had to do that. And then, just the other day, Deepika and I had a scene where she had to be in the line of fire and her biggest fear is fire. So we were both kinda laughing at each other…
So you know, stunt-wise it’s been good, it’s been fun. It’s been excessive. It’s action. I mean, we’ve been trained to use a sniper, which, I’ve used guns before in films, but never with the precision that you need and the focus that you need with the sniper; with your breathing and with the way that you change it depending on the wind and the distance. And that’s a really cool skill to have. I don’t think I’ll ever use it again but it’s a really cool skill to have.
What did you go through for that training?
So I did a couple of days in California and it was, you know, 101 degrees or something crazy like that and I had sort of all the desert gear on and I’m trying to be in camouflage. I’m sweating and trying to breathe and do these shots and I think the first day I did my training I managed to get a playing card square in the middle and split it in half, which was, you know, one of these tricks that it can take a little bit longer to learn how to do. And I just, I don’t know I zoomed in like mentally and I’m like, ‘I’m not missing that playing card’. And I slice it to the middle and the guy was like, ‘What? So you’re not… Are you sure this is not like a double life you have that I don’t know about?’ and I’m like, ‘Maybe in a past life’. Yeah, that was good training.
And then we got to Toronto and I got to do more gun training and it, some of it was in the snow in like, -5 degrees. So I’ve now done it in both kinds of weather conditions and, it’s alright. I’m better in heat.
How does this version of xXx sort of differ [to the rest]?
You know, what I really enjoy about this film is that it’s very much like an ensemble cast. And I feel like Xander, Vin is a force, Xander is a force, they’re kind of one in the same in so many ways. But I feel like it’s been so nice that he has this crew, this motley crew of hand-picked people that he gets to set up his team with, you know? And I think that it means that, even though when I watched the first xXx I related to part of Xander… I feel like we’re having such a multi-cultural and diverse group of people that we’re gonna be able to be relatable to even more people. So a much broader audience. And there’s also stronger female characters and more female characters, which I think is really important as well.
How does the sort of extreme sports element fit into it?
It’s sort of I guess another thing that I don’t think really has been done before in regards to that kinda action here… Film type genre. You know what I mean? It’s sort of, yeah, you get the double agent and you got the secret agent and you know all these different kinds of people, with superheroes, but these are regular people with super abilities, you know? And the things that, for instance Adele can do a BMX, and what he can do on a longboard and a BMX. And scooter and surfboard and, every single type of thing you can imagine. These are real tricks that people out there know how to do, that are in the extreme sports world…
What I love is that none of these people have pseudo powers but they have this superhero aspect, like, my character can climb up a tree but that’s something that is physically possible with this. So, not everyone can do it but if you train hard enough, you can. And then the stunts and the things that X does and all the guys from xXx when it comes to motorcycles or skateboards or snowboards or BMXs.
These are real tricks that we’re getting from real extreme sports people. So it’s kinda cool and it’s like, it’s a learnt skill that they have and it’s something unique, special about them but it’s not otherworldly. It’s tangible.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character Adele?
We were trying to work it out for so long at the beginning. They’re [Xander and Adele] brother and sister but they’re not, so they’re kinda brother and brother. There’s sorta no gender between them. There’s a deep love but they’re not in a relationship, you know? She really… I think he’s the only thing she really cares about, that she would really put her life on the line for? So they have a deep bond that’s kinda thick as blood but is, you know, as full on as family, but also unique because it isn’t.
What are her specialities?
Well, Adele’s backstory has changed a lot since the very beginning, as she… it’s kinda grown and it’s changed and it’s morphed and… Yeah. Adele’s character or Adele’s backstory has changed a lot since we began and it’s kinda grown into, I think she got more and more independent. She was also independent. She was… he had to find her in the Serengeti, you know? And she was out there, what you think is that she’s out there hunting animals and you’ll quickly find out that she’s hunting the poachers that hunt the animals. When I read that in the first couple of pages of the script, I just fell in love. I was like, ‘I have to play this character’. And then I really wanted for the three people, the poachers that I shoot, I wanted them to be real poachers. So I wanted one to be Donald Trump’s son and I wanted one to be the dentist. Then I wanted one to be this girl that I know…
We wanted to make it real. And so Adele is out there evening the playing field for people that can’t for themselves. So she’s fighting the fight that the animals can’t fight. And so she’s kinda, she has a heart in that respect, but outside of animals and outside of Xander, I don’t think that she really- she doesn’t have a family. She doesn’t have friends. She doesn’t trust anybody. But if you are on the right side of her, she’ll do anything for you.
Who’s the real bad guy in this movie?
Yeah. The-- It’s kind of a, an interesting one because it-it isn’t black and white. It isn’t good guys/bad guys. It’s good guys and bad guys for a while and then you start to think, wait a second, why do we have so much in common with these people? And why are, why don’t they seem like bad guys? And why are they not taking opportunities that we would to kill one another or, you know, do certain things. And it becomes slowly more and more apparent that actually we’re fighting the same cause, and that we’re the same kind a people and what we want is what’s best for the world. And the people that are against that are the people that have the most power. So, and, not really that dissimilar to real life.
Can you talk about the international cast?
Yeah. I mean it’s-it’s definitely something that I haven’t really seen be done before, to-to choose and have this cast that’s from all over the world and it’s kind of really, uh, enormously successful in these different countries and-and areas around the world. And, some of them have already crossed over. Others like Deepika, this is her first Hollywood film, and she’s massive in-in Bollywood and I’m so honoured to be able to be working side by side with her, you know? I like, Kris, he’s done a couple of these as well but, you know, uh, like films I mean, but he’s also bigger back home. And so it’s really amazing that like it’s-it’s is somebody from every part of the-the planet. And so together we bring something very unique and very different. And I think that it was kind a very evident at, we had a cast dinner, and it was Vin and it was the entire cast, and Joe Roth.
And, we’re all actors. We’re all seasoned actors and-and we do this and we’re all, or, uh, we’re entertainers, you know, that are coming into acting. And he made everyone stand up and give a speech, at some point, and you could, none of us wanted to do it. We’d just met. It was like speed dating or something. And Vin would be like, “Speech! Speech! Speech!”
And when Vin says that it like, you’re like, oh, okay. And I’m standing there and my hands are clammy and I couldn’t sp-- And I-- it was like, I was in school or something because I was with all these amazing people that I’m in awe of and I didn’t know what to say. And then, I spoke from the heart and ended on very “You’re Terrible Muriel” moment with Toni Collette. And then the next, you know, and then Toni had to speak.
And she’s, you know, been doing this for a million years and one a my favorite actresses, ever. And even she was like, “Oh, no, not public speaking. I hate public speaking.” And, and then we had Kris do it and then we had Deepika do it and-and Nina do it, and everyone had this moment of feeling incredibly vulnerable, incredibly, uh, insecure, and like we said, it belong there, and we’re gonna get found out.
And then, spoke, and just this immediate bond that we had. It’s like, you know, Vin has these funny, crazy, wonderful ideas that the funny thing behind them is that they’re always, there’s always a reason for them. And, just that little thing brought us together that one night. And after that, we’d already kind a had the-the worst that could happen, speaking in public, had already happened, so after that when we’re fighting and-and shooting and having explosions, we’re like, oh this fun. We’re not public speaking at a table, at a restaurant, ‘member?
So it’s, uh, yeah. W-- It’s a really special group of people and we all really care about each other.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage is available now on digital, DVD and Blu-ray.
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