Jean-Claude Van Damme's frequent collaborator (and good friend) Sheldon Lettich has made it known in the past that the aging martial arts star is interested in joining the followup to Sylvester Stallone's testosterone-fueled 80s-throwback action pic, The Expendables 2.
Now Lettich is saying that not only is "The Muscles From Brussels" prepped to join the Expendables sequel, he'll actually be playing one of the villains in next year's hard-hitting followup.
Lettich dropped the news about Van Damme being one of the bad guys in Expendables 2 over on the Van Damme Fans forums - where he's known for hanging out. Bruce Willis is also prepped to reprise his villainous CIA agent act for the Expendables followup - which means we could get to see a TimeCop and John McClane tag-team face-off against Rambo and The Transporter (among others) in the sequel. How's that for an ultimate showdown?
On a more serious note: Van Damme was originally approached by Stallone to appear in the first Expendables flick, but turned the offer down as he did not consider the role to be properly fleshed out and developed. So either Expendables 2 screenwriters David Agosto and Ken Kaufman (Space Cowboys) have crafted a more substantial (villainous) character for Van Damme to (metaphorically) tackle - or the star decided he doesn't want to miss out on the party this second time around, so to speak.
Even though he won't be calling the shots as director on Expendables 2, Stallone is said to be (as Willis put it) "going for all the marbles this time" by drawing in every aging action icon he can for the second installment. That list almost definitely includes the likes of JCVD and recently reactivated full-time star Arnold Schwarzenegger - and even a fellow whose character was left in a less-than-healthy condition after the events in the first Expendables.
Expendables 2 seems to be shaping up well so far, what with the change-ups both in front of and behind the camera. It could be fun to watch Willis and Van Damme get their villain games on in the film - and by not having Stallone co-write the script, sit in the director's chair, AND star in the second pic, that should help prevent the next Expendables flick from being too close an imitation of actual 80s action movie sequels (which were often just forgettable franchise cash-ins).
The Expendables 2 is slated for theatrical release on August 17th, 2012. How is the sequel looking to you so far?