Why Did Van Damme Turn Down a Role in Stallone’s The Expendables?

One upcoming movie that I’m starting to get more and more excited about is Sylvester Stallone’s next action flick The Expendables. It won’t be hitting theatres until 2010, but the cast is turning into a veritable who’s who of both current and former action stars including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, and of course, Sly himself. The only people missing from this thing are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. But wait a minute… apparently Stallone did actually offer Van Damme a role in the movie, and he turned it down!

In a recent interview with Total Film, JCVD had this to say about his new “artistic requirements” for signing onto a project:

“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie, but I ask him about the subject, about the story. He said, ‘You’re gonna make lots of money.’ I don’t want to hear that, I want to hear what was my character. He was unable to tell what it’s going to be.”

“[Stallone said:] ‘You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.’ [So I said:] ‘Sly, what is my character?’ So I didn’t do the movie.”

You know, I thought JCVD was a decent flick and a great way for Van Damme to bring himself out of the direct-to-video doldrums, but let’s not kid ourselves here: he’s not going to be winning any Oscars anytime soon. More to the point, people still want to see him in action movies. If Rambo is any indication, The Expendables has the potential to be one of the best action movies in a long time, and if he thinks he is too good for such a thing, he is sadly mistaken. Mark my words Jean-Claude… you’re going to regret passing this one up!

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  • Diana

    Dude, actors need to control their image. Every actor has a right to see the script and understand their character before they say yes or no. It would be unprofessional for him not to know.

  • I would agree, except this is Van Damme we’re talking about here. It’s a pretty big opportunity for him.

    It seems like Stallone was asking around before he had fully written the script, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe he wanted to know who he would be writing the various parts for.

    Either way, Van Damme said no before he actually saw the script. I guess if he had to give a definite yes before knowing anything at all about his part, that would be a stretch, but it just seems like he wasn’t even giving the project a chance.

  • Bob The Slob

    i agree sean…he is sooooooooooo going to regret this, and it really seams like he is making up those quotes in a very high and mighty way “he just want to makes mindless action, i want a good story and characters to work with”….story and characters are extrememly important…but you are Van Damme…if you truly do have a total comeback, it wont be in the next Sam Mendes movie…your comeback will be you kicking ass, and you passed up the chance to kick ass with the best of them.

    Also sean…i think you forgot to mention Bruce Willis being missing as well…oh yeah and Clint Eastwood in a like a father figure Army General capacity as well.

  • swarez

    He might be trying to get out of action flicks.

  • I wouldn’t have asked what’s my part, only what time do I show up to work!


  • Bob The Slob

    get out of action flick? this is van damme we are talking about right?

    plus he is trying to make bloodsport 2.

  • i think he just dont want to play second fiddle to sly.

  • Henry

    think about it, JCVD’s movies are all about him…JC knew that if he went into Sly’s movie, he will be “not a main MAIN character”. he would’ve been a sub-main character. the main character of the movie is (actually) sly. The others like jet li and dolph lundgren are sub-main characters. JC wants to be purely in the spotlight. I don’t blame JC because that’s just the way he is, but know for sure that since JC put this movie role down…it’s a big mistake ‘cos the movie is gonna be a huge action blockbuster!…and it will hit cinemas without a doubt (lol).

  • Memo

    JCVD does not need fame or money. He has chosen a career path and he is pursuing it. He has the luxury of rejecting role which he knows nothing about.

  • rouge

    who the hell jcvd think he is ! he is so wash up even if his role was just a extra he should of took the role beside ever body sly cast can beat the hell out of him jcvd havent had a good flick since blood sport this film may have open him up to a new generation who never even heard of him

  • I would like to see Van Damme in the sequel whatever if
    this movie becomes successful and who will survive in the film.

  • Don’t forget Chuck Norris. Oh and even maybe Cynthia Rothrock.