The Expendables 2 Full Press Conference

The Expendables 2 stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Jason Statham & Jean-Clade Van Damme spoke at an exclusive London press conference ahead of meeting fans on he red carpet at the London premiere of the explosive blockbuster action sequel. They discussed what fans can expect from the latest film and shared their favorite one liners. Arnie in particular reveals he almost never uttered his famous catchphrase “I’ll be back” and even fought with Terminator Director James Cameron about saying it.

As an impressive collection of the biggest action movie stars of all time, the cast  talked about what it was like to team up for a second time, setting aside macho egos and historic rivalries. Arnold Schwarzenegger in particular makes his return t the big screen after 8 years as Governor of California and reveals how he feels to be back making films and what he’s learnt form his time in politics. Sylvester Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham also share their tips and advice about training and workout regimes to achieve the action god physiques they show off on screen.

Sly Stallone talks on a more serious note about how the death of a stunt man during filming affected the cats of The Expendables sequel and reveals his plans for the third installment of the action franchise, which may include some ‘odd choices’ and unexpected casting.

Listen to the full press conference below or read our full transcript bellow: 

Q. The first film blew fans away how do you think The Expendables 2 has raised the bar?

Stallone:On a sequel you’ve lost the element of surprise so you have to give the audience more. Usually in the first one you may not got very deep into the characters, in the second one you start to explore the characters a little more. But the odds that you can’t surprise them become more and more heavy like I said, so you have to come up with some creative device to keep the action flowing.

Schwarzenegger:I was happy that I was asked again to be back. For me it was really interesting because you know one day you are making policy and trying to stimulate the economy, fixing the budget problem of the state, talking about education issues and inmates. The next day you’re on a set having a shoot-out with Van Damme, Sly and Bruce Willis and all those guys. That’s been the interesting part of my life; it’s really such an interesting ride to go from one thing to another. I was very appreciative that sly asked me again and I think this movie is really going to blow everyone away because there’s so much great action and funny scenes. You know the movie made me laugh enough. It has a lot of terrific funny scenes in there, which is important when you have an action movie to have some comic relief. I thought that everyone’s performance was great. I thought that the first one was impossible to top, but when you see this one you’ll all agree that this is even bigger and better than the first one . I think it’s going to be very successful.

Statham:Well the bar always has to be raised there’s that expectation there and you have to fulfil that requirement form the audience. But if anyone knows how to make action movies it’s Sly. When you get this crowd together you know you’re in safe hands! That’s very important there are so many people who don’t know how to make action movies and sometimes you come up against it and that situation is never a good one. But when you’re in the company of the greats you feel like we’re going to do something good.

Dolph:It’s always tough; we shot in Bulgaria for four months enjoying the tomato salads and cold chicken but the movie I bigger, badder, better and funnier. That’s what we set out to do and that’s what I like to do. I think in this one my character is funnier I think Sly gave me some great lines and pretty good jokes. Arnold of course had some of the funniest lines in the whole movie; as usual we all tried to live up to his comedy as well!

Scott Adkins:For me as the newcomer it’s just an honour to be asked to appear in this film with all these action legends. For me I grew up watching these guys and they’re the reason I decided to do this for a living. I’m just extremely honoured to be part of it.

Jean Claude Van Damme:You know when I walk on the street or in the airports, people come to me and say ‘Hey when is you’re next movie?”  You have to say something so I have different answers for theatrical, DVD and then both. Because of Sly, like lots of us, I’m going back to the big screen. So I’ve got to say thank you for Stallone for putting be back there on the big screen, because I’ve got those good eyes, and a good face for the acting. We don’t see that on DVD, you have to over exaggerate there, so thanks to the Expendables and Mr Stallone. You understand why I call you Mr Stallone?

Stallone:Yes… because I’m your grandfather! Don’t rub it in!

Q. Sly this is a physically demanding role after your bad injury on the last Expendables film did anyone tell you not to risk another film? Did you have your own concerns?

Stallone: Yes the doctors! I had my neck fuse don the last one due to a stunt that went bad. I had two back operations, a shoulder operation and an Achilles operation. The last movie took its toll. The doctor said don’t take any rough falls, you have to let the stunt guys do it. But sometimes you just have to do it yourself. I don’t know why I just throw common sense out the window. Yes there were some tough injuries on this one but I’m just can’t help myself. It’s a fool’s paradise for me.

Q. Was there any competition on set given your past history of rivalries on screen?

Stallone: It was very competitive and nobody wants to be second. So that’s why everyone pushes very hard. It’s why these people have all established the reputations they have, it’s because they want to be the best. They usually are.

Schwarzenegger: I have to say that for me it was the opposite. I felt that everyone on the set was very helpful, because they knew I had been out for the movies for 8 years. So they actually went a little bit overboard, thinking I don’t know how to hold a gun anymore. But everyone came together and helped which was really terrific, but at the same time we were very competitive like you said. I think if you grow up and try to be the best then you have to be competitive because  the more you compete and the more there’s someone there who’s a challenge then the more your performance improves. I think because of watching them with their action movies I tried to step it up. So we were always competing about who has the most defined muscles, the best body, the lowest body fat, who has the biggest gun, who kills the most people and who kills them in the most unique way. So we competed about all this stuff all the time.

Van Damme: No, I mean it was a great team and when I see those guys it was a great inspiration for me so I didn’t feel like competing. I felt like following their example and to be as good as them.

Stallone: Good answer!

Van Damme: Thank you. Thank you in Flemish… by the way I felt something… do you have something under the table touching you? I felt something touching me… that was a Belgium joke.

Stallone: See what I mean… Unpredictable!

Q. The film carries a poignant dedication to the stunt performer who lost his life during the filming, how hard was that for the cats and crew to bounce back from?

Stallone: It was incredibly hard, especially with the members of the stunt team. They took it very very hard and shut down for quite a while. It’s still something they’re going through. It’s happened twice before on film’s I’ve been working on and it’s never easy so. It’s on-going, I’m sorry.

Q. Arnold have you found parallels between politics and acting?

Schwarzenegger: I think there are a lot. You know you’re always as good as your last movie and I think that’s the same with politics. If you’re successful with a certain policy then you’re hot, if you’re successful with the economy or bringing down the unemployment rate then you’re hot! But if you’re not successful then things go south very quickly. I think that in communication and how to talk to the people politics is the same as show business.  In acting class they always used to tell you to be real, don’t act be real, connect with the people and connect with your partner. The same is also in politics; you have to connect with the people. There are some politicians who act like they’re talking to a wall and they cannot penetrate. One thing that I think is extremely important is to connect with the people and bring the people in to become your partners in. That’s what you need to do in order to be successful. So there are a lot of similarities, but then there are a lot of differences also.

Q. For fans the finest moments of many action films is the one-liners and there’s some fantastic ones in this film, but looking back over your illustrious careers , could  you share what you consider to be the best and perhaps worst you’ve ever had the privilege to utter on screen?

Stallone: I guess my best is “Yo Adrian”. It’s one thing you just can’t criticise. And some of my worst would have to be… all my dialogue in Stop or my Mom will shoot! Probably every line would be immortally bad.

Schwarzenegger: I think that one-liners are very important and sometimes you don’t even know when you make the movie that this is going to be a great line. I remember when we did Terminator and we did the line “I’ll be back”, I had no idea this is going to be an important line or something people are going to repeat. In fact I had an argument with Jim Cameron about saying it “I Will Be Back”. He said no! I wrote it “I’ll be back”. I said I don’t like the way the I’ll sounds… the I’yalll… it sounds a little soft. I said maybe it’s more machine like to say “I will be back”. He said No I wrote it I’ll be back so just do me a favour and say I’ll be back!! We shot it ten times, with ten different versions and then we just picked one.

So anyway, I did say the line “I’ll be back” and when the movie came out I had people coming up to me saying “Oh say the line! Say the line!!!”  I said what line? They said “I’ll be back” so I said “I’ll be back” and they were like No, say it like you do in the movie. So I said “I’LL BE BACK” and they were like yeah yeah yeah that’s the way!  I realised that lined clicked with the people and it was a big line, but you know I didn’t realise it when I shot it.

But then sometimes you do know, like on Commando when I held the guy by his feet and said “I lied” then I dropped him… I knew this was going to be a funny line and was going to get a big laugh. So sometimes you don’t know.

I’ve never had a bad line!

Lundgren: I’ve never had a good line! Except for the “I must break you!” I didn’t argue with Sly at the point because I was a kid. He said say it that way and I just said alright I’ll say it that way.

Statham: You need to have a movie that people have seen and I don’t think I have, apart from this one. So it wouldn’t be relevant.

Van Damme: Often you can send the ball back whether someone’s giving you a good line or a bad line by just looking with the eyes. (gives dramatic stare) Sometimes it’s enough you know the eyes in movies can say a lot, it’ relaxed to have no dialogue, why read my boards behind the camera.

Stallone: It’s good gesture… bad gesture!

Q. Arnold this is your fist film in 8 years, what were you’re feeling the first day of shooting?

Schwarzenegger: The interesting thing is when I was governor I would visit a movie set, which I did quite frequently in Hollywood because I wanted to thank people for shooting in California. It’s a huge help for the economy and a lot of states have gotten smart and started offering tax incentives so now productions go outside the state of California. So I always wanted to go and thank them.  When I walked away my assistant or aide would always say “Don’t you miss all that?”

One time I was coming from a set where Tom cruise was filming. He was hanging upside down in a harness doing some fight scene and I said “No, I’m so happy I don’t have to hang in this harness upside down and do that fight scene over and over. I’m happy being governor and I could not imagine doing that again.” The all of a sudden a few years after I said that I’m on a movie set and I’m having the greatest time. I think this was just the ideal movie to be in while coming back.

First of all because you’re working with the top action heroes, everyone works together, the spotlight doesn’t go on me its spread among all the action heroes. So it was a safer way to come back. I was very fortunate that Sly liked what I did in the first film, the little cameo I did and then this time he asked me to come back for bigger role. I had the best time from when we got to Bulgaria and started filming, all the way to the end. It was difficult for me to leave because I knew that those guys were going to go on to have fun there for a few more months. I had to leave to go to my next film The Last Stand. But it was a perfect way to get into the movie business again.

Q. Where there any clashes of ego on set?

Stallone: Well I’d like to say that there was because it makes for a more interesting story. But now, there was ultimate respect.  Think everyone just knew how to do their job. The key with men like us is very very simple. If you give out respect you get respect. If you disrespect them you’re going to get that too. It’s very simple. So I have to give credit to the guys though, because not everyone would do a film like this. It’s a very risky film; people were saying I don’t know if this will work anymore. But Avi Lerner created this kind of atmosphere; it’s very very important where the producer and the financier have a personal relationship with everybody. People don’t feel like they’re hired hands, they feel like they’re friends. So there was no ego clash whatsoever.

Q. Are there plans going ahead for an Expendables 3?

Stallone: That would be an interesting choice. We are thinking about different concepts. The third one is the hardest by far. The second one is a natural progression. But with a third one, that’s where the air gets rare. We’re thinking very ambitiously about it. We’re going for odd choice, you have to, to give the audience something they don’t expect. Maybe even going into a different sort of genre, if you read between the lines. Maybe rip off another one of Arnold’s old films. Something like that. Why Not!

Q. Jason what would be your top tips for training, recovery and nutrition?

Statham: I’m in amongst people who have been a lot fitter and in shape than myself. I’m down the list but I’ll still answer the question because I’ve trained a little bit myself. It’s having the focus and dedication, having that restriction against eating the wrong foods. It’s a state of mind really. If you can be good with your diet that’s the first point and then the rest comes easy. The exercise, the commitment and having a good environment. That’ll take you to a certain level. Obviously if you’re looking to achieve great things like some of the Olympians I can’t answer that because I never quite made it. But we’re in great company and I’m sure Arnold can enlighten us on how to take it to an extreme level.

Q. Arnold and Sly how have you adapted your workout regime as you’ve gotten older?

Stallone: Mine is obviously going lighter and more scientific. Using the equipment they’re using with Olympians today and plyometric. It’s actually more fun than just the iron game.  Arnold is an expert at just the ground and pound old school. But I think you’ve changed your routine a bit now as well haven’t you?

Schwarzenegger: Yeah, I do the curls first now. I do the squats last… (Chuckles loudly) No but I think Sly always used more scientific way of training and what I remember was you were always hunger for what is the latest method and the latest findings. All of that stuff. I’m come much more form the old school, I believe in reps. To just do it every day for an hour a day. I do the same exercises I did 50 years ago. They still work. I eat the same food I did 50 years ago, it still works. I have a great time. I’m addicted to exercising. I have to do something every day. Also some cardiovascular training here in London has been fun. They have the Boris bikes here all over London and we’ve been going around everywhere cycling and sightseeing at the same time. I’ve been having a great time! For me exercise has always been part of my life as well as watching what you eat.

But it is without any doubt tougher as you get older, your metabolism slows down, your muscles don’t respond the same way anymore. You do action scenes, fight scenes, you’re running around and you take longer to recuperate. But so what it doesn’t matter. It’ not like we don’t get paid for it, it’s not like we don’t have a good time or that we’re not passionate about what we’re doing. It’s all terrific no matter what age you’re in we have a great time. It’s a great time working with all of the action stars that were in the movie. I had a great time working with Jason Statham, It’s my first time working with him and he’s such a talented actor so believable on the screen and he really shines in this movie again. So I’m happy about that. Everyone was terrific to work with.

Q. Scott as a newcomer how did you find it working with these action veterans?

Scott: I was picking the brains of Arnold and Jean-Claude, I got to train with them. For me at the young age of 36 I’m starting to feel the joints starting to go. I’m starting to revaluate the way I train and go a bit more scientific. AS long as you train hard you’re going to get results.

For sure I was nervous, I’m nervous to be I the presence of them now. But you know I’ve played a similar character on screen before. In Undisputed 2 and 3 I played a Russian MMA fighter. He’s very intense and there are a lot of fans out there for this character. They’re underground movies you’d have to go and seek them out but I knew that it worked so for the Expendables 2 on the big stage I took what I’d done for that character which was very intense and tried to bring that intensity and eastern European flavour to the part of Hector. Hopefully I’ve got the audience to love to hate me because that’s what you want form a good villain. Obviously Jason and myself have a fight at the end so I think it’s what fans are expecting.

Stallone: Scott is truly by far one of the top 1% in the world at what he does, he’s absolutely extraordinary. I wish we could have used him more. When he’s starred in films on his own he has an amazing body & extraordinary musculature, the co-ordination is just staggering. He really is an amazing talent It’s true!

Q. Sly and Arnold you almost invented the action genre, but who were your idols for this growing up?

Stallone: Yeah I of course admired action stars physically. The first time I saw Hercules unchained something snapped in my brain. I was very thin and had no direction. I had all the usual adolescent insecurities. But form that point on I had a real male role model. Of course patterning yourself after Hercules is kind of a difficult thing when you’re skinny. But that was it. Then of course for actors at that time I was just drawn to heroes like Kirk Douglas in the Vikings. When Arnold and I got into the action genre it really didn’t exist. There’d be car chases and maybe a fist fight but the actual genre was something that sort of grew up around us. We were pretty instrumental in it but unaware of it. It just happened.

Schwarzenegger: I remember when I was around 14 or 15 years old, I got to that age when physical strength and athletics, looking like a He-Man and all that stuff, really started to matter a lot to me. So I also watched Hercules movies. One guy in particular Reg Park, who was a British bodybuilder who became Mr Universe very young, ten won it a 2nd and 3rd time before ending up in Rome doing Hercules movies. So he was my idol. I read everything about Reg Park and followed his footsteps. I trained like him and thought if he can make it then I can make it. It was a blueprint for how to get there. How to win the championships and here was how to get into movies. Become a Mr Universe then make Hercules movies. I though terrific that’s the rout I’m going to go.  Yes he was an idol and a very important motivating factor for me. He gave me a vision of where I could go and how I was going to get there.

Then of course there were American stars like Kirk Douglas, or the one that comes to my mind was John Wayne. I saw a lot of the John Wayne movies that were very heroic to me. It was that age and they were very inspirational to me. I took it a step further than most kids who say I’m going to go and work out a bit. To me it was I’m going to go win the championship, I’m going to get into the movies, I’m going to make millions of dollars like Reg Park, I’m going to get into the gym business. I’m going to have exactly the life he had. That’s what I did and then I took it a little step further.

Q. Arnold you’ve such an amazing career, but what has life taught you?

Schwarzenegger: I think most of the lessons that I learnt were form sports. I think that’s why I always emphasise to young kids to get involved in sports. Because that’s where you learn about discipline and you learn to never listen o people who say that’s impossible or you can’t make it. Because you can! I’ve heard all my life that I couldn’t make it, that things were impossible or that I would fail but I didn’t listen to that and I made it. You also learn how to get up when you fail and when you fall.

When you go through life you will never be successful in everything. I remember the amount of times I tried to lift 500lb on the bench press and I failed and I failed but then one day at the German championships in powerlifting I did finally lift it. After ten times failing! So that’s why I remember in politics when we tried to do a policy like redistricting in California, we failed five times and the press asked me don’t you understand that people said no it’s over don’t try it again. I said look I failed so many times in lifting and I came back and then I did it. Sure enough in this particular instance the 6th time we won. So you learn never to give up. There are a lot of important lessons that you learn in all of this.

You have to have vision, no matter what you do in life you have to first have vision. You have to see your goal and believe in it, have faith in it, and then you can chase it. It is fun to chase it. That’s the most important thing. If you have no goal or no vision you have nothing. That’s what I’ve learned.

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