We put our hands on the latest BADASS issue of Total Film Magazine that have published an exclusive piece on EX2. Here's a summary of the article and all the pictures that go with it.
Interview with Stallone conducted on the set of The Tomb:
Stallone on Arnold : we've grown closer over the years. Actors don't normally bond, not beyond the movie they are making, but we really have. We put the competitive stuff to one side. It's like Ali & Frazier becoming friends, & it's what people want to see. Now we can appear in a movie together & bring all of our baggage.
Stallone on EX1: The first movie I was trying to figure out what it was. Was it Rambo or an action-adventure... How hard was it? It was kind of a feathered fish. This one [EX2] we had a lot more money so the scope is a lot bigger. Just the amount of real estate we get through... And the first 15 minutes is a non-stop action scene where we throw everything at it, on water, in the air, every kind of stunt. We do the whole A to Z.
Interview with Simon West:
West: When I got the script, there were things I wanted to do. We had to invent all the action sequences. I'd say, 'OK, here's a fantastic cave, we have to write a sequence with that big cave.' We were constantly writing the script around what I could find in Bulgaria: forest, lakes, caves... I also tried, obviously, to preserve the characters. But everything has been multiplied. There are more big action stars, and they do more. For instance Bruce and Arnie do real action in it rather than having a cameo conversation. We traveled a lot. It's a big Hollywood movie but Dolph is Swedish, Jean-Claude is Belgian, Jet Li is from China.
On teaming with Stallone and potential artistic clashes:
West: I brought that up at the very beginning. I had a meeting with Sly and he was very gracious. He said 'you're the director, I like your work'. When he came in to shoot, he said 'where do you want me to stand? what do you want me to do?' Every day he'd say 'this is 10 times better than the first one...' He was very relaxed & mostly kept the other actors entertained with old war stories.
Not that Stallone took a backseat: with any wolf pack there is an alpha male. No matter how tough the wolves are, there is always an alpha male. and Sly is that alpha wolf.
Lungren on the subject: I think we are all competitive in a lot of ways but there is hierarchy on the film based on experience. Nobody challenged that or had issue with that. Stallone is heavily involved with every aspect of the film. Every weapon, every knife, every killing. But Simon did a good job because Sly is a tough customer and knows what he wants. Stallone was relaxed in this film.
Statham on the topic: Sly's the big chief, he knows what he wants.
Stallone himself on the topic: there's a lot of alphas here. no one wants to be outdone. They're there on camera, bringing their A-game. What I can bring to the table is advice, because I wrote these characters. I can say 'try it like this..'
West further adds: there's a lot of confidence in this sequel. I think we have one of the biggest opening sequences ever shot. In an early draft I heard they had the expendables in tuxedos at a fancy party, sneaking around. I did the opposite, I wanted to see them at full throttle, with screaming guns, screaming vehicles. And the ending is big. The shootout happens in an airport. It's a battle between everybody.
I've got Willis, Stallone, Schwarzenegger standing shoulder to shoulder with giant machine guns. even they were saying 'it's weird for us', because normally they are in the center of the frame, but here they have to share it. We choreographed this intricate gun battle where it's a long Steadicam shot and they're having to shoot behind them, from side to side...It's almost like a ballet. After all these years in action films, it's actually the hardest they've ever worked.