We have updates concerning the production schedule and shooting locations for two anticipated action movie sequels: Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson, and The Expendables 2, starring… just about every other macho actor on the planet.

Both these projects aim to begin production before the year is out, with the Expendables followup scheduled to arrive in Summer 2012. The Taken sequel, by comparison, may be going for a January 2013 release (in the US), similar to what its predecessor did back in 2008.

The game plan (re: script) for Expendables 2 may be altered slightly, in order to allow for the film to be shot partly in China – for reasons which will be clarified in a moment. Taken 2 will presumably take place largely overseas, but a certain portion of the film is set in the U.S. as well.

The Expendables 2

There’s been a whole lot of rumored casting for Expendables 2, but nothing all that official, up to now. If a recent article from Company Town is to be believed, there’s more reasoning behind the latest casting rumor (Donnie Yen) than simply director Simon West and star Sylvester Stallone’s desire to snag yet another famous onscreen badass for the sequel.

In short: Expendables 2 financier Nu Image wants to maximize its potential profits in the lucrative Chinese movie market by having a China-based company co-fund the film. In order for that to happen, certain portions of the movie have to actually shot on location in the country.

You can see the logic behind this move: it would benefit Nu Image and help convince Yen to actually join the second Expendables party – which, in turn, would help the movie become all the more popular in China, since one of the country’s action icons would be starring in it. Synergy in motion, right?

Yen would make a nice addition to the Expendables 2 cast, as would rumored stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. If all goes according to plan, this could be more the fully-realized ’80s action throwback that the first movie aimed for, but fell short of being.

Taken 2

Director Olivier Megaton and writer/director Luc Besson’s latest hard-hitting thriller, Colombiana, arrives in theaters tomorrow, but everyone is already looking forward to the duo’s next project: Taken 2, with Liam Neeson confirmed to reprise his turn as deadly ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills.

Besson confirmed to Coming Soon that Megaton has been scouting out shooting locations in Los Angeles for the Taken sequel, which will partly be filmed in the city. Production is scheduled to commence this October, so we’ll soon find out more about where else, exactly, Mills will be beating nasty criminals to a bloody pulp this second time around.

We previously found out that Maggie Grace would be returning for Taken 2 as Mills’ daughter, but Besson has also revealed that Famke Janssen will reprise her brief role from the first film, playing the ex-wife to Neeson’s retired-but-still-deadly agent.

The original Taken was a sleeper hit back in 2008, so the heightened expectations for the sequel might have a negative effect on its reception. However, that doesn’t guarantee it won’t be as much bone-crunching fun as the first time Neeson’s agent went on a rampage.

The Expendables 2 will attack U.S. theaters on August 17th, 2012.

Taken 2 may arrive in theaters by either late 2012 or early 2013.

Source: LA Times, Coming Soon