Director passes on Vin Diesel's 'XXX'

Director Rob Cohen is set to get “Medieval” for New Regency.

Cohen has backed out of reteaming with Vin Diesel on “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage” for Sony. Instead, he has signed a deal to helm an event-sized action film that Cohen calls “The Magnificent Seven” in the Middle Ages.

New Regency, which will finance the film and distribute through Fox, acquired the spec script by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch in an $800,000 against $1.6 million deal (Daily Variety, March 4). McG will be involved in a producing capacity.

Cohen, who studied anthropology and European history at Harvard, said he was drawn by the opportunity to tap into the historical period and create a heightened reality with big action pieces. Regency has kept the script hush-hush, but sources said the action brings together warriors from disparate cultures.

“It was a tough decision about ‘XXX,’ ” Cohen said. “I talked to Vin over the weekend and said I hoped they would wait, but that if they find another director who’s right for the sequel, I certainly wouldn’t be angry. But I could not let something like this go.”

Cohen said the aim is to get the picture into production by October.

He’s repped by WME.

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