Adi Shanker – head of 1984 Private Defense Contractors – is quickly making a name for himself as a producer who knows how to make terrific action films, with titles such as The Grey and Dredd 3D under his belt (as well as the Punisher: Dirty Laundry short). Shankar managed to keep a lid on his most intriguing new project – an Expendables-style movie uniting several female action stars – until right when Expendable 2 opened atop the box office last month.
2012 has also proven to be a breakout year for former Mixed Martial Artist Gina Carano. Steven Soderbergh showcased the fighter-turned actor’s combat skills with Haywire, helping Carano to land a role in Fast and the Furious 6 as well as the lead in the Taken-esque thriller In the Blood. It’s appropriate then, that Carano be the first name officially attached to Shankar’s all-women riff on The Expendables.
Shankar has released a statement about the casting, saying (via Variety) “I don’t know how I’m supposed to make… the female version of ‘The Expendables’ without Gina Carano in it. It would be like making Twix without caramel or Jamba Juice without jamba.” However, the producer refrained from offering any hints about the other players “affiliated with the action genre” who remain in talks to join Carano on the project (much less, a potential director).
Carano was a lesser-known when our Paul Young wrote his “If ‘The Expendables’ Were Woman” article, but she could have taken Michelle Rodriguez’ place as the “female equivalent” of Randy Couture. Rodriguez now boasts even more tough-chick roles – from such films as Machete, Battle Los Angeles, and Resident Evil: Retribution - under her belt, so she remains as viable (and obvious) a candidate to join Shankar’s project as any active female action star.
The appeal of the Expendables concept is getting to see badasses of the big screen – be they young(er) Terry Crews or old-timer Sylvester Stallone - brought together under one roof. Hence, if Shakar plans to make a proper all-women variation on that film’s premise, then the cast has to include more seasoned actors such as Sigourney Weaver and Cynthia Rockroth, in addition to talent such as Carano and Rodriguez (who are in the prime years of their acting career right now).
It stands to reason that screenwriter Dutch Southern – whose Hoof Harrington’s Greatest Hits script made the 2010 Black List of best un-produced screenplays – is well aware of that. The female Expendables could also be more akin to its straight-faced male counterpart than the more tongue-in-cheek sequel, given Shankar’s record of producing serious action fare (including, Machine Gun Preacher and this November’s Killing Them Softly). Good news or bad news? You decide.
More on the “female Expendables” movie as the story develops.