Why Jean Claude Van Damme Turned Down a Part in ‘The Expendables’

Because director Sylvester Stallone could not tell him what it was about

Come 2010, Sylvester Stallone will be back on the silver screen in yet another action-packed war movie, deemed to be twice as good and more challenging than the last “Rambo.” Jean Claude Van Damme was also supposed to star in “The Expendables,” joining an already impressive cast of action stars, but for some reason he turned the offer down.

In a new interview with Total Film magazine, Van Damme explains why he refused a part that could have potentially put him back on the map. It wasn’t because he wasn’t happy with Stallone’s offer, he says, but because the director could not tell him what the movie would be about. In doing so, Van Damme proves once more that he is, indeed, a changed man, an actor no longer willing to make compromises in terms of his career.

“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie. But I ask him about the subject, about the story.” Van Damme tells the magazine. “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.” the actor further points out.

While turning down a part in a movie that will presumably be the hottest action flick of the next year could be interpreted as a bad career choice, it is nothing more than Van Damme’s way of showing that he is done with putting out films for a quick buck and nothing else, it has been said.

Just recently, the former action star has revealed, also to Total Film, that he is thinking of going back to his roots by making a sequel to the flick that made him what he is today, “Bloodsport.” Even back then, Van Damme stated that he was considering bringing more depth to the character and thus make a film that would truly mean something, as opposed to many other productions in which he starred in the past.

As of now, Van Damme is pitching “Bloodsport 2” around Hollywood, but, as per his own admission, he’s having problems with wanting to play a father abusing his son. In the meanwhile, the Sylvester Stallone written and directed “The Expendables” (also starring Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Forest Whitaker, and Stallone himself) is scheduled for a tentative release in 2010.

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