In what I can honestly say is much more positive news than the trade headlines are spinning, Sylvester Stallone has exited the “Expendables” franchise.
Though “The Expendables” franchise offered the Oscar winning ‘legend’ a chance to headline a big-time action series again, long after his ‘Rambo’ success, the movies were an insult to the victorious back catalog of the Italian Stallion – cold, hollow and rather pointless B-movies that were more about brawn than badass fun. If Stallone has walked, he’s done himself a favour – particularly after the awards, and comeback, that followed his turn in “Creed” a couple of years back.
“The Expendables 4”, which likely would’ve teamed Sly with his usual companions Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham and Randy Couture, was due to lens shortly. Seems the big guy and veteran producer Avi Lerner have had a spat, resulting in the “Rhinestone” star serenading an exit door.
According to Deadline, who broke the news, Stallone knocked back 203,000 protein bars or 20 million dollars to reprise his role as ‘most muscliest’ in the new film.
“The reason? He and Nu Image/Millennium chief Avi Lerner could not find common ground on a new director, on the script and on certain qualitative elements of the film. That went right down to the selection of the CGI house to handle visual effects. The franchise has used Lerner’s own VFX house, Nu Boyana in Bulgaria.”
Stallone, thankfully, decided that he didn’t want to be involved in another underwhelming “Expendables” movie that wasn’t just going to be a poor imitation of anything he’s done before but an exercise in cost-cutting.
Deadline says, Stallone “was concerned about potentially underwhelming results of another franchise with which he is indelibly linked. Stallone wrote the first script with Dave Callaham, co-wrote all the sequels, and directed the first film. But knowledgeable sources said that Expendables team leader Barney Ross has led his last mission.”
Apparently Stallone and Lerner have had big-time disagreements before, suggesting they might still kiss and make up over roasted horse-ass sandwiches in Bulgaria.
“We’ve got disagreements with Sly, but we’ve had them for over a year and a half,” Lerner told Deadline. “Right now, each one has an opinion. We agreed on 95% of things, but there are certain things in production we don’t agree on. I don’t think it’s over, but write whatever you want. In my opinion, it’s not dead.”
If Stallone has indeed left “The Expendables”, I think it pretty safe to also assume some of his big-name co-stars, in particular Statham and Lundgren, might also pack their bags – they’re a loyal bunch, particularly because Stallone gave them a shot back when they weren’t working as heavily as they are now.
Watch this space. No, not that close.. you’ll go blind.
Maybe Bruce Willis can handle “The Expendables” series from hereon out? He seems happy to work for typed turds, unmarked brown paper bags full of ingots, and that hankered-after target market of stoned tourists looking for a good VCD to rent in Kuta.
Maybe with Sly free of his “Expendables” commitments he can do something else with Marvel (he’s in the new “Guardians of the Galaxy”), do that long-gestating ‘final’ “Rambo” movie he’s always wanted to do, or start seeking out some meaty dramas, the likes of which he nearly won some statues for two years back.