Vin Diesel found it "therapeutic and necessary" working on ‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’.
The 49-year-old actor was unsure his extensive commitment to playing Dominic Toretto in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise would allow him the time to return to another of his favourite characters, but he felt a "need" to take a break from the "intense" filming of the series following the shock death of his friend and co-star Paul Walker, who passed away after a car accident in 2013 while filming was still ongoing for ‘Furious 7’.
He said: "Universal had announced we were doing Fast eight, nine and 10, and the preparations for those movies, let alone the filming of them, was time consuming.
"I was close to not being able to find a window to do Triple X but there was a greater need for me to do it because I had come off the very intense experience of shooting ‘Furious 7’ and all that entailed, including the loss of a brother.
"Because that was so intense, I had to choose Triple X. I had to shoot that, literally, so I could smile and laugh again because the character I’d been playing was so brooding and had forced me to go to such a dark place, doing it without someone that I loved.
"I already knew it was going to be an arduous road and I wanted to deliver something special in the name of my brother. I also wanted to do a film where I needed to not carry the weight and drama of the whole piece on my shoulders…
"Working on ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ was extremely therapeutic and necessary."
And Vin admitted playing the spy again allowed him to have fun on screen in a way he hasn’t in years.
He added in an interview with #Legend magazine: "I don’t think I’ve played a character since ‘The Pacifier’ where I was able to literally laugh on the screen and smile in a character.
"We think about the ‘fun popcorn movie’ and we all know what that term means, yet we’re not able to really see a lot of them. A lot of superhero movies have taken a dark spin."