If 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