This Friday’s Expendables 2 adds Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris to the beefcake-geriatric action franchise. Should there be a threequel, producer Avi Lerner has wants to keep expanding the lineup of retro-nostaslgic action stars in every imaginable direction. Lerner tells Total Film he’d love Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford to participate in Expendables 3. (Specifically, he says: “We’ve approached Clint Eastwood” and “We’re talking to Harrison Ford.”) Lerner also says that they’d love to cast Wesley Snipes “when he comes back from prison,” and outright promises that “we’ve got Nicolas Cage.”
Now, keep in mind that Expendables 2 hasn’t even opened yet, so it’s probably fair to classify this as “magical thinking.” But hey, the entire Expendables franchise is based on magical thinking. Sure, Eastwood is entirely too dignified for this franchise, and Ford would be a weird fit. But Wesley Snipes hasn’t had a high-profile role since his Blade golden era — and he’s currently scheduled to be released from prison next July, which would be just in time to star in a (purely theoretical) 2014 Expendables sequel.
And then there’s Nicolas Cage, an actor who’s been in the Expendables sniper scope for a long time now — at one point, Stallone was claiming that Cage would appear in Expendables 2. That didn’t happen, possibly because Cage was busy filming The Frozen Ground or Ghost Rider 2 or Seeking Justice or a couple of other movies which were conceived and filmed and released in Bulgaria in the time it took me to write this sentence.
But given that Expendables movies are apparently filmed according to the Robert Rodriguez summer camp method — “Hey, are you free next Tuesday? Wanna film a couple scenes so we can put your face on the poster?” — it’s hard to imagine that Cage couldn’t find time in his busy schedule to take a supporting role. I mean, all he has to do is put on a wig — let’s say red dreadlocks — and then deliver a crazy improvised speech, at the conclusion of which he fires a rocket launcher into the air. (Total Film says that Lerner wants Cage to play a character whose name sounds like “Hunter Grimlenson.”)
There’s a much bigger question here, though: What does Steven Seagal gotta do to get cast in these movies? It makes you wonder if, back in the early ’90s, Seagal did something that his fellow action movie heroes can never forgive him for. Like, maybe he refused to eat at Planet Hollywood. Or even worse, he ate at Planet Hollywood, but he loudly declared, “Frankly, I prefer the burgers at the Hard Rock.” Scandal!
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich