Jackson bonds with ‘XXX’

Thesp reprising NSA agent role in actioner sequel

Samuel L. Jackson has been set to reprise his role in “XXX2,” joining Ice Cube to star in the Revolution Studios sequel.

Lee Tamahori is directing the film next summer for a 2005 release by Sony. Neal Moritz is producing.

Cube replaces Vin Diesel in the lead role of a Gen-X James Bond prototype whose extreme sports skills and criminal record make him an effective and expendable secret agent.

After Diesel and director Rob Cohen departed to do other films, Revolution looked to instill continuity through an encore performance from Jackson. His NSA agent Augustus Gibbons returns as the handler of the incorrigible agent drafted to tackle unsavory thugs around the world. The role is evolving into one reminiscent of the character “M” from the Bond series.

Jackson once thought his best chance for a franchise would have been a spinoff of his Oscar-nominated Scripture-spouting hitman character Jules from “Pulp Fiction.” While he and director Quentin Tarantino briefly contemplated that possibility, Jackson now finds himself a central player in two major studio franchises, neither of which was designed that way.

In addition to his part in the “XXX” pics, Jackson has also reprised his role of Jedi knight Mace Windu in the third installment of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequel.

Jackson’s repped by ICM and The Firm.

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