“Our stories by and large have been pretty much told. So now we have to branch out and investigate other people’s lives. There’s only so many times you can go to that well and you’re like, ‘I’m sick of the taste of this water. Give me something fresh. A new spring.’”
Woah. When Sylvester Stallone, star of six Rocky movies and four Rambos tells you it might be time to start a movie series over, you listen carefully. Is Stallone seriously considering retiring himself and his aging action cohorts from their very own franchise? Even the latest Expendables 3 ‘Roll Call’ trailer tags it as ‘One Last Ride’. Time to say goodbye to Arnie and Sly?
“Mate, you’ll have to see the movie!” laughs director Patrick Hughes. “I can’t give away the ending! But it’s an interesting conflict to involve because we’re talking about ‘80s action heroes and when we think about those action pictures, it’s a far cry from the Jason Bournes of the 2000s. It’s a different style of action, a different mentality and mythology. So it was interesting to couple it up.”
Whether or not Stallone’s old school alumni will be out for good after this summer, what Expendables 3 clearly does do, is enroll the Class of 2014. As the official summary goes, “Barney… brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy.”
And they are:
Smilee – Kellan Lutz, recognizable from the Twilight series and, alongside The Rock, one of this year’s cinematic Hercules.
Mars – former WBC Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz.
Thorn – Glen Powell, previously seen in The Dark Knight Rises.
Luna – UFC Champion and judo Olympic medalist Ronda Rousey.
Lone female team member, Rousey may even be the most dangerous. Her UFC/MMA nickname is ‘The Arm Collector’, for her trademark ‘flying armbar’ move that has her opponents begging for mercy.
Still for all their individual physical prowess, as you’d expect, when IGN meets these youngsters on set, alongside their established co-stars there’s enormous reverence to their elders.
“It’s really quite a unique experience to be working with all these legends” offers Lutz. “You step into a franchise like this where these are all superstars and for all of us young guns it’s just been really cool to have them joke with us on set and be really communicative.”
“It’s a blessing to get to play soldier and run around with guns. And to do it with your favourite action heroes growing up… it’s a bit surreal. Then to have them be as cool onscreen as offscreen, you can’t wish for a better cast to work with.”
But still, amid all the niceties was a definite fear factor. “If you look at Mr Forearms over here,” says Powell, gesturing to Randy Couture’s immense physique, befitting a five-time UFC Champion, “he’s definitely intimidating. He’s been showing me forearm workouts. He has a real physical presence for sure.”
“He’s not here but I became speechless and stuttered and started to act like an idiot when I met Harrison Ford,” admits Rousey. “I used to watch Star Wars on repeat – like, it would end and I would press the rewind button and go back to the beginning and do it again and again.”
Perhaps inevitably, the newbies remain quietly deferential while Stallone and the old guard field most of the questions (read what they had to say in the first of our set visit features). As a result, there’s not much detail on their character specifics or storylines. What we do learn is that there’s an initial standoff scene between the two Expendable teams, young and old. And only one group was actually feeling the pressure…
“I think the guy I had to stare down was you,” remembers Dolph Lundgren, pointing at Glen Powell. “And he forgot his line.” Powell nods sheepishly.
“The cat they had me stare down was Randy,” adds an incredulous Ortiz, “and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’” He launches into a hilariously dodgy impression of director Hughes’ Aussie accent to the group’s amusement.
“Patrick was like, ‘It looks good, looks good’. And I’m like, ‘I’m glad you think so, cos I’m fearing for my life right now!’ My heart’s pounding… ‘How’d I look Patrick?’ ‘Groit, groit…’”
So who of the old team would the youngsters least like to come up against in a real fight?
“In terms of a guy who can look after himself, that’s Randy,” affirms Rousey. “People keep asking what would happen if we got into a fight – and I certainly would think to grab a chair or something…”
“I’d wear a straitjacket so she couldn’t get my arms,” grins Couture.
The Expendables 3 hits UK screens on August 15 and elsewhere throughout that month.