A ‘ladies version’ of The Expendables is something we proposed over two years ago, with a lineup featuring appropriate female counterparts for the men in Sly Stallone’s film (Sigourney Weaver, Cynthia Rothrock, Pam Grier, etc.).
However, as the SR Underground crew discussed during their Expendables 2 podcast, the all-women Expendables riff being developed by producer Adi Shankar (Dredd 3D), could feature an ensemble of female action stars appropriate for a gritty action title (see: Salt), rather than a cast befitting a campy throwback flick in the vein of the Expendables sequel.
Shankar seems to be thinking along those same lines, seeing how ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano (Haywire) was the first cast member to be announced. The second addition, Katee Sackhoff, likewise reinforces the idea that this project isn’t going to just ripoff the Expendables casting blueprint, in order to put together a celebration of estrogen-fueled badassery and ‘grrl power.’
Sackhoff is a fan-favorite actor for playing gruff, but skilled, space-fighter Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace on Battlestar Galactica; however, her resume also includes stints on the short-lived Bionic Woman and eighth season of 24, while her next big screen role will be a bounty hunter in the Riddick threequel. Shankar released the following statement on her casting (via Variety):
“If you spend five minutes with Katee it becomes blatantly obvious that she would pwn (sic) most male action stars.”
Longtime SR readers might recall our conversation with Sackhoff back at Comic-Con 2011, where she expressed an unrelenting desire to play Typhoid Mary in the Daredevil reboot (which Fox will no longer be involved with). She’s a perfect fit for that outlandish character – thus, also making her an excellent choice to portray a deadly warrior gal (mercenary? secret agent?) in Shankar’s project.
On that note: the sooner Shankar’s female Expendables riff has an actual title, the better. The film, as mentioned before, isn’t shaping up as a literal ‘ladies version’ of Stallone’s trip down nostalgia lane. Instead, it appears to be taking on the form of a serious action/thriller – boasting a lineup of genuine tough chicks – with a female empowerment angle similar to that featured in Shankar’s Judge Dredd reboot (as opposed to the pseudo-femme power of a film like Charlie’s Angels).
That is to say, the project (based on a screenplay from Dutch Southern, whose name made the 2010 Hollywood Black List for writers behind the best un-produced scripts) is misleading with its Expendables association. Once that marketing ploy is dropped, though, we can all adjust our expectations accordingly, in terms of who should (and shouldn’t) be cast in this film.