Stallone talks Expendables casting
Sylvester Stallone has written to a few internet sites with details of the casting for The Expendables, and he reveals the entire list and character names. While it's a great reveal and the list looks really exciting, there's a notable exception, a name missing that we hadn't already heard was replaced, and it looks like there's no replacement either.
He also waxes about how we shouldn't be negative about the project and only positive, and while I agree with some of his comments I think he's pitching it as us being unfair if we criticise anything in the film even though we're the audience and indeed the customer.
The letter was sent to a couple of sites and I picked it up from AICN who reprinted the whole thing, however I'm going to give you the relevant sections. First the casting, and the surprise missing name:
“Hale Caesar is Curtis Jackson
Toll Road (new character) is Randy Couture
Monroe is Eric Roberts
Tool (an ex-Expendable) is Mickey Rourke
Bao is Jet Li
Lee Christmas is Jason Statham
Lacy is Charisma Carpenter
Sandra is Giselle Itie (famous Brazilian actress)
Barney 'the schizo' Ross is Yours Truly.”
Cool, Sylvester Stallone is playing a schizophrenic, now whether that's just a nickname or he truly is in some way I'm not sure, but if he turns crazy during battle that might be a nice little quirk to his character!
However have you noticed something on that casting list for The Expendables that isn't down to my cut and pasting? Where's Dolph Lundgren? Of course Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't on that list because his cameo has yet to be fully confirmed (although he has been talking about it), but there's been talk about Lundgren for ages, and where is he?
Then Stallone goes on to say that we shouldn't be negative about the film at all, although I think he's actually more referring to the 50 Cent casting.
“Please tell the loyal followers to be positive not negative in their feedback. I am not self-destructive. The anger of the casting of 50 Cent is understandable, but not fair. A player is only as good as his coach. If a man can communicate in one medium, he can communicate in another if his strengths are brought out and he has the support of well-wishers. So, trust me, the change of Forest Whitaker to 50 Cent AKA Curtis Jackson is a good one.”
He goes on to point out some key casting in his other films that have been hugely criticised and turned out with time to be really strong, and I get that, but I still think 50 Cent hasn't really proven himself. Having seen two films of his he appears to be a mumbling actor who is usually just playing his rapper character. However I'm willing to give him a go, but come on, he's no match for the excellent Forest Whitaker who could play anything – imagine a bit of that Shield character pulled into this?
Anyway I get it, that's the choice we have and with the guidance from the writer and director in the guise of Stallone we might get a good performance out of him, and we have to trust the guy.
However I don't wholly agree that we should be totally positive with the film and not say anything against it, something Stallone tries to drive home in the rest of the letter. If we did that we'd blindly accept anything from Hollywood and they wouldn't get any feedback in return – not that they seem to care about it half the time.
In his final paragraph he uses a casting example from The Expendables itself as a comparison to the 50 Cent casting:
“Nobody wanted Eric Roberts over Ben Kingsley, but I believe it's a vastly improved casting.”
What? Sure Ben Kingsley is a really good actor, and he's more than willing to throw his all into roles that aren't the high brow dramatic stuff that he excels at, but Eric Roberts is an excellent actor too and just highly underrated. I'm not disappointed about that change, in fact I think I'm rather happy about that one. Roberts is a much better fit for the film than Kingsley.
However I still think that Whitaker would have been better than Cent, and where in the world is Lundgren? Hopefully that's just an oversight on the email typing.