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Columbia revs up another ‘XXX’

Diesel, Cohen in talks to return to franchise

Columbia Pictures hasn’t tired of “XXX,” particularly if it’s a Diesel-powered vehicle.

The studio is in discussions with producer Joe Roth for a new version of “XXX,” one that would bring back Vin Diesel as star and Rob Cohen as director.

The duo teamed on the 2002 original, which starred Diesel as Xander Cage, an extreme sports enthusiast who gets drafted by the government for a dangerous mission.

Roth controls the property because the original film was made by his Revolution Studios, which was also behind “XXX: State of the Union,” a sequel that starred Ice Cube and was directed by Lee Tamahori.

The third incarnation has a title, “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage,” but no script.

Diesel has agreed to return and so has Cohen, but talent deals won’t be worked out until the studio pact is made.

This would be the first pic for Roth at Col since Revolution folded.

Diesel had bowed out of an encore, but it is also believed that his salary quote had gotten too expensive for a modestly successful picture.

Diesel also bowed out of a starring role in the first sequel to “The Fast and the Furious” — “2 Fast 2 Furious” — opting for a cameo in that pic. He skipped the third pic, “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” but will reteam with original co-star Paul Walker in the franchise’s fourth go-round, “Fast & Furious,” which Universal will release June 12.

The move to reinstate Diesel in his Gen X James Bond vehicle underscores the appetite of studios for potential tentpole franchises. Though Diesel didn’t score in the recently released “Babylon A.D.,” sources said other studios are waiting in the wings to make the sequel if Col doesn’t.

Cohen directed the summer sequel “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.”

Diesel’s repped by CAA and the Firm, Cohen by WMA.

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