Fourteen years after the box office smash hit The Expendables, Jason Statham and Sylvester Stallone are reuniting for the fourth, and possibly the last, run in action-packed glory.
The Expend4bles is due to hit cinemas on September 22, with producers Kevin King-Templeton and Les Weldon revealing to Daily Express what the next 14 years may hold in store for the iconic franchise.
Both producers have been with the project since the very start and insist that “as long as there’s an appetite for it”, they’ll keep making more according to Kevin who adds: “ Nothing is off the table. We don’t know. It’s all about the fans.”
Les agrees, jokingly noting that Sylvester “wasn’t going to be in the second one” referring to the 2012 hit which did in fact star the Rocky icon and almost proves nothing is set in stone when dealing with the biggest names in action cinema.
As the 77-year-old is still leading in the fourth rendition, Kevin admits they “definitely modified” the stunt and fight sequences, explaining that series newcomers Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and 50 Cent “took the heavy load of the fighting”.
He continued: “You have to change a little because the cast is getting older. We evolved a little bit. We used the Jackie Chan stunt team so there’s definitely a lot of that Asian martial arts influence.”
However, Les is quick to say fans should not by any means underestimate the older cast and points out they aren’t truly like an average 60 or 70-year-old.
He explained: “They are these action guys who stay pretty fit. They’re all in much better shape than I am even if they’re older than I am! I think it’s just that’s who they are.
“They don’t just let themselves go so when a movie like this comes up they’re ready. A lot of them do their own stunts and their own fighting.”
Kevin adds: “Even Jason does a lot of his own stuff. They all pride themselves on it. They take care of themselves because they know they’ve got a job to do.
“They can’t just show up with the script. They have to train. So when people see it, a lot have done their own stuff.”
Thankfully, Kevin noted there were no major injuries reported on set, aside from the odd “strains and aches”.
Technically speaking, the Hollywood blockbuster has been in various stages of production for the past nine years with multiple setbacks in pre-production, dealing with daily dangers like stunt scenes, navigating through ever-changing Covid protocols and doubling up on already stringent safety measures following the Rust shooting.
However, throughout the long and arduous journey to get to release day, both Les and Kevin easily agree on the hardest part of the entire Expendables franchise: scheduling.
Kevin jokingly declares: “It’s like herding cats sometimes! They’re all big names and busy and doing things in other parts of the world.”
Les adds: “Getting them to commit to a time period and then in that time period one actor may be available for two weeks, another actor for three weeks, another actor for one week.
“Trying to really make sure that when he’s got a scene with this actor who is not available on this date and he can’t do this date… I would hate to have been the first Assistant Director on any of these movies.”
Kevin concludes: “The preparation for that was probably the hardest, that was a struggle. Once we were in production it wasn’t as hard, it was pretty fluid and smooth.”
Expend4bles will be released in cinemas on September 22.