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The Expendables 2 - Jean Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins interview

The Expendables 2

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JEAN Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins talk about playing the villains in The Expendables 2 and being given the opportunity to work alongside Sylvester Stallone and company.

Scott also talks about getting into shape, while Van Damme suggests why a look can sometimes work better than a one-liner. They were speaking at the UK press conference for the film…

Q. How much did being a part of The Expendables 2 mean to you?
Jean Claude Van Damme: You know, when I walk along the street or through an airport, people come up to me and they say: “Hey, when is your next movie?” So, I now get to say I have one coming to DVD and one coming to theatrical. It’s because of him [points to Sylvester Stallone] I’m going back to the theatre and the big screen. So, I have to say thank you to Stallone for putting me back on the big screen because I’ve got those good eyes and this good face, and we don’t see that so much on TV screens. We have to over-exaggerate it [laughs]. So, thank you Mr Stallone! You understand why I call you Mr Stallone?

Sylvester Stallone: Because I’m your grandfather!

Q. And Scott, how was being a part of The Expendables 2 for you?
Scott Adkins: Well, for me as the newcomer it’s just an honour to be asked to appear in this film with all these action legends. For me, I grew up watching these guys. These are the guys that made me decide that I wanted to do this for a living. So, I’m extremely honoured to now be a part of them.

Q. In the old days, there used to be quite a bit of competition between you guys. How was it working together? Was there a lot of competition on-set?
Jean Claude Van Damme: No, it was a great team. When I see those guys, they were an inspiration to me so I felt like following their example and trying to be as good as them.

Q. For action fans, the finest moment in any action film is the one-liner. There are so many great ones in this film but I wonder when you look back on your careers what you think the best and worst one-liners you’ve ever uttered are?
Jean Claude Van Damme: Sometimes you can send something back without having a good line or a bad line. Sometimes, the eyes will just go [gestures indifference]. So, sometimes the eyes in movies can say a lot more [laughs].

Sylvester Stallone: So, it’s good gesture/bad gesture?

Q. Scott, were you able, or did you dare, to teach any of your co-stars a trick or two about training and keeping in shape?
Scott Adkins: No, I was always picking the brains of Arnold. I got to train with Arnold and Jean Claude. But for me, at the young age of 36, I starting to feel the joints starting to go and I’ve started to re-evaluate the way I train. I try and go down that more scientific route. But as long as you train hard, you’re going to get results.

Q. With a film like The Expendables 2, the bad guys are equally as important as the good guys. Scott, did you feel pressure about over-egging it or not doing enough?
Scott Adkins: Sure, I was nervous. I’m nervous to be in the presence of them now! But I’ve played a character like this before when I did a couple of films, Undisputed 2 and 3. The character I play is called Yuri Boyka and he’s a Russian MMA fighter and he’s very intense. There were a lot of fans out there for that character. It’s an underground movie, so you have to seek it out. But I knew that it worked.

So, for The Expendables 2 and being on a big stage like that, I took what I did with that character, which was very intense. And because we were in Eastern Europe, it made sense to make the character from Eastern Europe and add that different flavour. Hopefully, I’ve got the audience to love to hate me, which is what you want. And finally, I got the big fight scene with Jason, which is what the audience was expecting really.

Read our review of The Expendables 2

Read our interview with Sylvester Stallone

Read our interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Read our interview with Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren