This time, he won’t be back. (Sorry.)
Hot on the heels of Sylvester Stallone’s shock departure from the planned fourth instalment in ‘The Expendables’ series, the Italian Stallion’s noted co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared that he will not return to the franchise without Stallone on board.
The former Governator tells Entertainment Weekly, “There is no ‘Expendables’ without Sly… I would never do the movie without him, no.”
The Austrian-born action icon also stated, “I have not seen the script; I don’t even know if there is a script, even though they want to shoot in August again, like they usually do.”
The revelation that Stallone was quitting ‘The Expendables 4’ came as quite a surprise, given the 70-year old veteran of the ‘Rocky’ and ‘Rambo’ franchises was very much the figurehead of the ageing action hero ensemble series. On top of playing the team’s leader Barney Ross in all three existing ‘Expendables’ movies, Stallone also directed the original, and co-wrote all three screenplays.
However, it was mentioned in the first reports that Stallone may have been “concerned about potentially underwhelming results of another franchise with which he is indelibly linked;” not an unreasonable concern, as all three ‘The Expendables’ met a somewhat lukewarm critical response and only moderate box office success.
2014’s ‘The Expendables 3,’ which attempted to lure a bigger audience by toning down the content for a PG-13 rating, was met with particular scorn – and, perhaps not unlike Stallone, Schwarzenegger (who co-starred in all three films as rival mercenary Trench) does not wish to repeat those mistakes.
“You know, I think the first and second one were terrific. But, the third one, I thought my part was not written well. It was also not playing well in the movie, as far as I was concerned. Maybe other people believed differently. But I didn’t believe that I had any value in the movie.
“I love the franchise, by the way. I think it’s a spectacular franchise, ‘The Expendables.’ I think that Sly has good ideas, what he wants to do with it, and I think if they write a really good script [in] which my part is very well-developed, I would do it. If not, then I won’t do it.”
The fact that Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis shared screen time was arguably the key selling point of the first two ‘Expendables’ movies (although Willis missed the third, allegedly after demanding more money). The other action stars enlisted to appear in the series include Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford, as well as series regulars Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren.
Will the team get back together again with neither Sly nor Arnie? Time will tell.
Schwarzenegger – who recently hinted he may yet make more ‘Terminator’ movies – will next be seen in ‘Aftermath,’ opening in the UK this Friday, 7 April.