Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone & Jason Statham Talk Expendables 2!
How has the bar been raised in The Expendables 2?
Sylvester Stallone: In a sequel you’ve lost the element of surprise, so you have to go deep into character. The second one you develop the character a little bit more, but the odds that you can’t surprise them become a lot heavier, because like I said you have to work more and more to come up with some creative devices to keep the action flowing.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: I was happy that I was asked again to be back. For me it was very interesting because one day you are making policies, stimulating the economy and trying to fix the budget problem and talking about the inmates and educational issues; the next day you’re on set having a shoot out with Van Damme, Sly and Bruce Willis.
Jason Statham: Every sequel has to be bigger and better otherwise the challenge isn’t there. But if anyone knows how to make action movies, it’s Sly, so when you get a crowd together you know you’re in safe hands. I think that it’s very important, there's so many people, who don’t know how to make action films, put it that way. But when we’re in the company of the greats, we feel relaxed because we know we’re going to do something good.
Jean Claude Van Damme: You know when I walk on the street and at the airport or whatever, people walk up to me and say “Hey, when is your next movie?” And because him (points at Stallone) lots of us are going back to the big screens, so we can say thank you to Stallone for putting me back on the big screen. So, thank you Mr Expendable, that you Sly. Mr Stallone.
Sly: You’re welcome.
JCVD: You understand why we call you Mr Stallone?
Sly: Yeah, because I’m your grandfather, don’t rub it in! [laughs]
Sly, did your injuries from the first film put you off doing a sequel? Did anyone tell you to stop?
Sly: Yeah, the doctors. I had my neck fused on the last one after a stunt that went a little wrong. I had two back operations, a shoulder operation, Achilles operation and the doctor said “don’t take any rough falls”, but you just have to do it it. But I don’t know why... I can’t help myself. It’s a fools paradise for me.
The old days there used to be a bit of competition between you guys, was there competition on the sets? Arnie: I felt that everyone on set was very helpful, because they knew that I have been out of the movies for 8 years, but at the same time we were very competitive. I tried to step it up and so we were always competing with who has the most defined muscles, who has the least amount of body fat, the biggest gun, who kills the most people and in the most unique way!
Lundgren: ...who had the biggest watch! [laughs]
Can you all tell us what your best and worst one-liners are from throughout your career?
Stallone: Well, I guess my best one is “Yo Adrianne”, it’s just one thing that you can’t criticise. My worst would have to be all of my dialogue in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!
Arnie: One-liners are very important and sometimes you don’t know that this is going to be a great line. I remember when we did Terminator we did the line “I’ll be back” and I had no idea that this was going to be an important line or something that people were going to repeat. There was an argument with James Cameron, as I was saying it “I will be back” and he said “no, I wrote it ‘I’ll be back’”. I said it's sound more like a machine will if I say “I will be back” and he said “NO. I wrote it ‘I’ll be back’, so just do me a favour and say ‘I’ll be back’”. [laughs]
So we shoot 10 different versions and then we pick one. And when the movie came out, people came up to me saying “say the line!”, I’d say “What line?”, they’d say “I’ll be back”. So I realised that that line clicked with the people and that it was a big line and I did not know when I shouted it.
But sometimes you do know - in Commando when I have the guy by his feet and I say “I lied” and then I dropped him. I knew that this was going to be a funny line, that was going to get big laughs.
Lundgren: I’ve never had a good line. [laughs] except that “I must break you!” and Sly I did not argue with you at that point, as I was a kid. You said “say it that way!” and I was like “okay, I’ll say it that way”.
Are there plans for Expendables 3? Would you consider Olympians?
Stallone: See that would be an interesting choice. We are thinking about different concepts, because the third one is the hardest by far. The second one is a natural progression, but the third one, that’s when the air gets rare and we’re thinking pretty ambitiously about it. So, she would fit right in there because we’re going for odd choices – we have to. We have to give the audience something they don’t expect at all, we’re going to a different sort of genre if you read between the lines and get out there a little bit.
Did you guys have a kind of role model when you were younger?
Stallone: I admired, physically of course, Hercules. Something just snapped in my brain, and I was very very thin and had no definition and had the usual adolescent insecurities and from that point on I had a real male role model. But when Arnold and I got into the action genre there really wasn’t an action genre. There were car chases and there would be maybe a fistfight, but the actual genre was something that just grew up around us. We were pretty instrumental in it but unknowingly so, it just happened.
Arnie: I remember when I was around 15-years-old, I got to that age where physical strength, athletics and looking like a He-Man and all that kind of stuff really started meaning a lot to me. And so I also watched Hercules movies, and one guy in particular Reg Park, which is a British bodybuilder became Mr Universe at a very young age and then won it a second time and a third time, and then ended in Rome and did Hercules movies. He was my idol, so I read everything about Reg Park and followed his footsteps and trained like him and said “if he can make it, I can make it”.
What have you learnt from life?
Arnie: I think that most of my lessons I learned was from sports. I think that that’s why I always emphasise to young kids to get involved in sports, because that’s were you learn about discipline, that’s where you learn about never listening to ‘no’ or ‘it’s impossible’, or that you can’t make it because you can. I remember as a lifter, I tried to lift five hundred pounds on the bench press and I failed, and I failed, and I failed. But one day at the German Championship’s in powerlifting, I lifted and bench pressed the five hundred pounds after ten times of failing.
I remember in politics when we tried to do a policy in a district in California, and we failed like five times there, the press asked me “don’t you understand that people say ‘no’, that it’s over and don’t try again?” I said to them “look, I failed in lifting so many times, but I came back and I did it”. Sure enough, in this particular incident, in the sixth time we won and so you learn never to give up.
You have to have vision, no matter what you do in life, you have to first have vision. You have to see a goal, you have to believe in it, you have to have faith in it – face it and then it is fun to chase it. That is the most important thing. If you have no goal, if you have no vision then you have nothing. That’s what I’ve learned.
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