Follow Us on Twitter

The Expendables 2 - Sylvester Stallone interview

The Expendables 2

Interview by Rob Carnevale

SYLVESTER Stallone talks about upping the ante for The Expendables 2 as well as throwing himself into stunts, against the advice of doctors.

He also talks about his best and worst one-liners, the possibility of an Expendables 3 and why it’s important to always treat people with respect. He was speaking at the UK press conference for the film.

Q. How has the bar been significantly raised with The Expendables 2?
Sylvester Stallone: Well, obviously on a sequel we’ve lost the element of surprise so you have to give the audience something. On the first one, you may not go very, very deep into the characters, so in the second one you start to explore the characters a bit more but you also have to work more and more to come up with some creative device to keep the action going.

Q. This is a physically demanding role and I understand you suffered quite a bad injury while you were making the first one. Did that put you off? Or did anyone advise you against doing it again?
Sylvester Stallone: Yes, my doctor. I had my neck fused in the last one. And I had two back operations, a shoulder operation, another operation… the last movie took its toll! And the doctor said: “Don’t take any rough falls, let the stunt guys do it.” But sometimes you just have to do it. I don’t know, I guess I just throw common sense out of the window. But there were some injuries on this one as well but I can’t help myself. It’s a fool’s paradise.

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?
Sylvester Stallone: It’s very competitive. No one wants to be second, so that’s why everyone pushes very hard and why these people have established the reputations they have – it’s because they want to be the best. And they usually are.

Q. The film does carry a poignant dedication to the stunt performer who sadly lost his life during the filming of The Expendables 2. How hard was that for the cast and crew to take at the time?
Sylvester Stallone: It was incredibly hard, especially for the members of the stunt team. They took it very, very hard and shut down for quite a while. It’s still something they’re going through. It’s happened twice before on films that I’ve been on and it’s never easy.

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?
Sylvester Stallone: Well, I guess my best is: “Yo, Adrian!” It’s one thing that you just can’t criticise. And I think some of my worst would have to be perhaps all my dialogue in Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot! [Laughs] Every line!

The Expendables 2

Q. Were there any clashes of ego?
Sylvester Stallone: Well, I’d like to say that there was because it makes for a more interesting story. But no, there was ultimate respect. I think everyone knew what to do with their job. The key with men like us… it’s very, very simple. If you give out respect, you get respect. If you dis-respect, you’re going to get that too. It’s very, very simple. But I think you also have to give credit where it’s due because this could have been perceived as a very risky film. People could have said: “I don’t know if this kind of thing will work anymore.” But [producer] Avi Lerner created the kind of atmosphere where, as a producer and a financier, he has a personal relationship with everybody. So, everyone doesn’t feel just like they’re hired hands; they feel like they’re friends. So, there was no ego clash whatsoever.

Q. Are there any plans for The Expendables 3? Would you consider any Olympians?
Sylvester Stallone: We are thinking about different concepts because the third one is the hardest… by far. The second one is a natural progression. But the third one… that’s where the hard work begins. We’re thinking equally ambitiously about it. And an Olympic athlete would fit right in there because we’re going for odd choices. Now, you have to give the audience something they don’t expect at all… maybe go in a different sort of genre and get out there a little bit. Maybe rip off one of Arnold’s!

Q. You’re obviously in great shape for this film. But have you had to adapt how you train to stay in shape?
Sylvester Stallone: Mine is going lighter and more scientific and using the equipment that they are actually using with the Olympians today and plyometrics. Actually, it’s more fun than just the regular iron game. Arnold is an expert at just ground and pound and going old school. But I think he’s changed a little bit too.

The Expendables 2

Q. You kind of invented this kind of genre but growing up, did you have any role models you aspired to?
Sylvester Stallone: Growing up, I of course admired Hercules… something snapped in my brain. I was very, very thin and I had all the usual adolescent insecurities, so from that point on I had a real role model. Of course, aspiring after Hercules is kind of a difficult thing when you’re skinny [laughs]. But that was it. And then, of course the actors at the time… I was just drawn to the heroes, like Kirk Douglas in The Vikings. Primarily, that was it. But when Arnold and I got into the action genre, there really wasn’t an action genre. There’d be car chases and maybe a fist fight. But the actual genre is something that just grew up around us and we were pretty instrumental in it. But that just happened.

Read our review of The Expendables 2

Read our interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Read our interview with Jean Claude Van Damme