Jan 30, 2020

A Christmas Story

From theilluminerdi.com: We have uncovered that an offer went out to director Duncan Jones near the end of 2019, however the negotiations never materialized. Where the studio went next is equally intriguing. Apparently an offer has been made to D.J. Caruso (XXX: Return of Xander Cage) to direct the Jason Statham-led spin-off tentatively titled, The Expendables: A Christmas Story, which has been written by Max Adams.

The decision to extend an offer to Caruso has a cosmic quality to it, as he was rumored to be in contention to direct the original Expendables film at one point. Furthermore, Jason Statham and Sylvester Stallone are already set to return for the spin-off. The catch being that Statham is now the lead and Sly will be supporting character. In addition, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tony Jaa, are attached to the project and are simply waiting to see how the pieces come together.

We were also informed that Stallone’s role will be an emotional one for fans and despite not having many scenes compared to previous installments, his presence will be felt throughout the film.

The spin-off is leaving room open for supporting roles for many of the other well-known Expendables including Toll Booth, Gunner, and Doc. We assume that they are trying to bring back Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, and Wesley Snipes, to their corresponding roles. However, we couldn’t get a reliable confirmation on their return. It’s possible that their roles could also be placeholders pending their involvement. It’s still unclear if they would consider recasting the roles if they don’t return.

The project has been in a holding pattern for the past few weeks, as details continue to get worked out, but they are looking to shoot in the first half of 2020. There’s also a South East Asian vibe, as there are many characters who are from that region, which leads to speculation that some of the movie will take place overseas.

We also got our eyes on other characters in the script, The other large supporting role is for Gina, Christmas’ love interest and a tough-as-nails member of the Expendables, who’s lethal in her own right. Marsh is the dapper leader of the reformed squad. Suharato Rahmat is weapons smuggler who has a military past. Bok is one of Rahmat’s deadly henchmen. While they are still casting for Janice Russo, the head of the military compound that houses the CIA.

It makes sense why Millenium/Nu Image would want to produce this spin-off. You have to look no further than last year’s spin-off of the Fast and Furious franchise, Hobbs and Shaw, which grossed more over $750 million dollars at the worldwide box-office. The budget for The Expendables: A Christmas Story is set in the $70 million dollar range, so there is legitimate money-making potential in the Statham business. Add to it the success of Bad Boys for Life and it seems that there may be wisdom in this unlikely project.

An EX Spin-Off?

A new story on the development of EX4 initially reported by this website has been picked up by several smaller movie news outlets. The story insinuates that EX4 will be a spin-off a la F&F moving Statham to the  front and center, pushing Sly to the background in a supporting role. Arnold and some of the key cast members are expected to be back but not confirmed. The spin-off should also see the introduction of new and more international members not seen before.

The authenticity of the story has not been verified and should be taken with a grain of salt until further official statements are made by producers or cast members.

If true, I find the idea quite appealing and refreshing. Given the length of time it has taken this project to develop, I was actually thinking how challenging it would be now to have Sly at his age take on the lead role for the franchise, and continue the same formula over again with a group of very aged actors, noting that the formula of introducing younger actors had miserably failed in the 3rd installment.

Statham is a more secure bet as a lead surrounded by less prominent famous supporting actors who have seen their peek passed since a decade ago. His popularity has been quite strong since his introduction into the F&F franchise, and the spin-off formula has already paid off with the latest Hobbs & Shaw and to some extent with Xander Cage by introducing a more international cast roster.

The saga continues?