Van Damme Turns Down Stallone, Cites Deficiencies in ‘Story’

Van Damme in The Eagle Path

You know the apocalypse must be on its way when Jean-Claude Van Damme turns down a part because he hasn’t been provided enough information about the story or the character. Yet that’s precisely the reason he tells Total Film he rejected Sylvester Stallone’s overtures and refused to join The Expendables, Sly’s upcoming action flick.

“Stallone gave me a part in his next movie,” Van Damme says. “But I ask him about the subject, the story. He said, ‘you’re going to 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.”

The Muscles from Brussels goes on to add that Stallone could only guarantee that “the fighting will be good,” which is somehow different from the pitches that sold Van-Damme on The Shepherd: Border Patrol, Wake of Death and Replicant.

This news, if taken at face value, becomes even more inexplicable when one considers the other names attached to the project: Mickey Rourke, Forest Whitaker, Jason Statham and Jet Li, not to mention Van Damme’s old rival Dolph Lundgren. In turning down Stallone he’s both throwing away the chance to appear in only his second theatrical release of the decade and robbing genre fans of a key component in what’s shaping up to be the greatest bad movie of all time.

Seems like a stupid move to me. How do you feel about it?

Robert Levin has written dozens (if not hundreds) of reviews for Film School Rejects since his first piece in 2009. He is the film critic for amNewYork, one of the most widely circulated daily newspapers in New York City and the United States, and the paper's website He's a Brooklyn resident who tries very hard not to be a cliche.

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