Movies In Focus has been championing The Expendables 3 for a while now (read why it’s the most anticipated movie of the summer). It’s great to see a bunch of old-style movie stars getting together to have a good time on screen. Franchise godfather Sylvester Stallone has assembled an incredible cast for this third movie: Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes. Kellan Lutz and Antonio Banderas join series stalwarts Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li in the actioner this time around.
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I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the press conference for the film at the Corintha Hotel in London that was attended by Stallone, Banderas, Lutz, Statham, Snipes and producer Avi Lerner. It was a relaxed event and everyone was in good spirits, joking around while they were answering questions. It’s funny – journalists from different publications come with set questions to suit their own agendas, be it someone from a health magazine questioning about their work-out regimes, or someone interested in the last time Stallone had a manicure (a real question). I’m someone who is interested in the mechanics of making a movie, developing it from script to screen. To me, the Expendables movies have always appeared to be developed and then cast in a way that must be difficult to nail down – therefore it was a pleasure when I asked Sylvester Stallone how he balances the script with getting the cast onboard.
You’re the godfather of The Expendables franchise, how do you balance working the script and then getting these wonderful actors to join – how do you tailor the script to suit their skills?
“You just hit it. There’s really just a finite number of actors that bring a certain about of cache or personality that blends – so you try and not get two of the same if you know what I mean. I have long-term relationships with people that I didn’t realise how far they go back.
I thought we’ve done Expendables one and two and now you’ve got to up your game. I think Antonio…Antonio hasn’t done an action film but he’s very physical, he can do it. To answer your question, it’s very, very time consuming. It takes a long time to convince some people, a lot, literally a year. You’re calling them on your birthday – you’re there for like four hours going, ‘You know it’s my birthday…do me a favour – say yes’. You do a lot of begging and cajoling. It’s wild, some just…immediately. You call Harrison Ford, ‘I’m in’. Then Mel Wants to know about the part. Originally I wanted Mel to direct, but no, he’s such a great director and everything is so personal, it has to come from him. He goes, ‘I wouldn’t mind playing a villain?’ Sold! Sold.”
Later in the evening I had a spot on the red carpet for the world premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square. Luckily, I was able to speak with Antonio Banderas about what it was like returning to action movies and joining The Expendables team.
It’s been a long time since you’ve done an action movie – what attracted you to the role?
“I don’t just do a movie for the action, I try to forget about genres. I look at my character, what is the tone and the tone of the movie and try to fit in there. I see what I can bring that is slightly different and in this case the possibility of doing a lot of comedy and bring humour – so that is exactly what I did.”
You seem to enjoy that.
”I did – a lot.”
Is this your first time seeing the movie?
”No – I haven’t seen it. As soon as we present here I’m out of here and on the plane to Malaga, where we have to start the circus again.”
Sounds like a busy time.
”It is, but that’s our profession. That’s what we do.”
The Expendables 3 opens on August 14.