'Avatar' thesp also returning for sixth 'Fast' pic

Action star Michelle Rodriguez is officially set to reprise her roles in Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills” and the sixth installment in Universal’s hit “Fast and Furious” franchise, which will see Justin Lin returning to the director’s chair.

Rodriguez has cornered the market on big-budget action pics since her breakout perf in Karyn Kusama’s 2000 boxing pic “Girlfight.” She starred in the original “Resident Evil” with Milla Jovovich abck in 2002, and recently wrapped the latest 3D installment, Resident Evil: Retribution,” which Screen Gems will release Sept. 14.

Other action credits include Sony and Original Films’ “S.W.A.T.” and “Battle Los Angeles,” as well as James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which is the highest-grossing film of all-time, both stateside and worldwide.

Machete Kills,” which starts production this month in Texas, finds the titular ex-federale (Danny Trejo) recruited by the U.S. government to stop a terrorist named Mendez the Madman, who happens to be Mexico’s leading cartel dealer. Mel Gibson is set to co-star as Luther Voz, a cunning arms dealer and death merchant who aims to spread war across the planet by launching a missile. Jessica Alba is also expected to return for the sequel, which will be distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Rodriguez’s return to the “Fast and Furious” franchise was teased in a post-credits sequence at the end of “Fast Five,” and the sequel is set to start production in June in Europe. Thesp is also voicing a role in DreamWorks Animation’s “Turbo.”

Rodriguez is repped by Untitled Entertainment and attorney David Markman at Greenberg Traurig.

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