Why Van Damme Turned Down Stallone’s ‘Expendables’

Published 6 years ago by , Updated January 16th, 2011 at 11:20 am,

van damme Why Van Damme Turned Down Stallones ExpendablesIf Sylvester Stallone hunting down all of these action stars, past and present, including Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture to star in his upcoming action film The Expendables wasn’t enough, it appears that he had interest in bringing Jean-Claude Van Damme on-board as well.

However, in an interview with TotalFilm Van Damme revealed that he has turned down a starring role in the film because he says that Stallone was only interested in “pitching money and action.”

Here’s what he had to say:

“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie,” he [Van Damme] told us. “But I ask him about the subject, about the story.”

“He said, ‘You’re gonna make lots of money.’ I don’t want to hear that, I want to hear what was my character. He was unable to tell what it’s going to be.”

“[Stallone said:] ‘You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.’ [So I said:] ‘Sly, what is my character?’ So I didn’t do the movie.”

I’m in kind of two minds about this one: On the one hand I don’t like the fact that Stallone repeatedly said that a lot of money will be made (which I think it will for the type of movie that it is, anyway), and seemed to be using that as the biggest incentive for Van Damme. With the cast that’s been assembled, along with those that were sought after but nothing more (such as Sandra Bullock), I was hoping that this would be a passion project for Stallone in particular. I’m not saying it still isn’t… After all he’s directing, writing and starring in it – but with those statements about money it makes it look like he’s hoping above all to make a quick buck.

However on the other hand what did Van Damme expect when he was offered a role? A deep, emotional, thought-provoking Oscar winner? With a bold name like The Expendables and a cast full of past and present action stars why did he expect it to be primarily about anything other than the action?

Maybe we’re seeing Van Damme turn a corner – since his JCVD a different side to the action movie legend has been shown. Maybe he doesn’t want to just make money now, maybe he wants to pursue other, perhaps more serious, avenues.

Overall though, I’m disappointed that Van Damme won’t be in the film, simply because it would’ve added another rung to what is shaping up to be a kick-ass action ladder.

But what’s your opinion? Do you think Van Damme should have accepted the role to be part of this awesome cast of fellow action stars or was he right for turning it down?

The Expendables is set to start shooting sometime next month.

Source: Total Film

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  1. I guess JCVD had better things to do…

  2. Sly’s version of the story is much different, he said JCVD didn’t want to lose against Jet Li (“impossible” and “unrealistic”) and also suggested Sly he made movie about a priest helping people in South Central… JC is still brain damaged from the stuff he used and is known for being manic depressive (think his acting was great in UNISOL 3? that was just being himself).

    • why impossible? jet li is a high-skilled martial artist fighting with JCVD having just a low class addict martial artist..

  3. “No thanks I don’t want to be part of the current #1 movie in north america,I’ll let Street Fighter be what some people remember me for”…gg VD

  4. What a shame, the only thing that would have made this movie even MORE awesome would have been Van Damme.

    However, the success of the film and all that will probably make it more likely that Van Damme does the sequel. Unless Stallone is offended from these comments. Hopefully not.

    Best. Movie. EVER.

  5. It his hysterical that Van Damme turned down a presumably a one-dimensional role that was only about making money. The guy can’t act a bit, and his entire career has been action films with dull, tired plots playing absurd characters completely free of depth or range. Everything he’s done has been simply for the money and we’re now to believe that he’s demanding to play interesting rolls, as memorable characters in films with actual plots? When has he ever shown the slightest range or made any attempt to avoid being typecast as the same guy in the same situation he has to fight his way out of? The single contribution Van Damme has made to cinema is the ridiculously over-reaching facial expressions that are accidentally hysterical. Van Darn should be groveling at the feet of anyone even considering bringing him onto any project. He is absolutely awful, and his sudden concern for character and plot is itself a mystery far deeper than any role he’s ever attempted.

  6. He should have just done the movie, I knew when I saw the trailer that it was not gonna be a cinematic masterpiece. But that it was gonna be that 80′s action movie. Had he done it it would have been great, but if he wants to be picky let him.

  7. Well, that’s one side of the story to why he didn’t do it.

    Another side is that on Australian radio last year to promote the movie Sylvester said that the reason Van Damme turned down a role was because he didn’t see why a character played by him should be getting his a@# kicked by a little guy, presumably Sylvester pitched him getting beat up by Jet Li, in a movie, especially when said movie is a collection of historic action actors doing their thing.

    Sylvester also went on to say that Van Damme wanted a love interest and a developing story in that vein as a side story.

    Who’s to say which one of them is the truth?

    I don’t see someone like Sylvester getting around Hollywood pitching movies to actors based solely on “you’ll get paid a bunch” and without a plan.

  8. Well, having seen the movie it seems that Van Damme was right after all

  9. Yes, I think van damme should have excepted the role because the film without him being one of the best and biggest action stars of the century was missing a little something with him not in it.

  10. i think van damme did the right thing by saying no to sylvester stallone.

    cmon people its 2011 and they are in hollywood

    i know its just a film after all but would you want to lose against a little guy in a movie that is all about money?

    • Im glad Vandamme was not in the first one he did a great job in Expendables 2 the fight at the end reminded me of Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris except these guys are not in their peak age referring to Vandamme& Stallone 3 out of 4 stars great action& humor

  11. These movies are s*** anyway, and Sly needs to try and make a good film for once in his life, rather than this garbage.

  12. We want see Van damme in expendables 3
    Hi es good actor pls and Jackie chan too must be both