Simon West

IntroFirstTimeDir

People don’t just get handed million-dollar blockbusters, nor do studios go door-to-door looking for someone to direct the next Jurassic Park. That’s why the following list of first time directors – while seemingly out of nowhere – certainly had backgrounds directing stuff like music videos or commercials.   Still – they were untested in feature filmmaking, and to the un-obsessed public it would appear that studios simply plucked a dude off the street. Like giving a small child a semi truck, the results were mixed.

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The first clip from The Expendables 2 is sticking to the formula of rapid squibs, snarky one-liners and people being fine after getting shot because they’re mas macho. In other words, it’s very cool. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham zipline in the most exposed-to-bullets way possible only to end up surrounded by a small group of well-armed baddies. How do they escape? By stealing a gag from The Losers, of course. Check it out for yourself:

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True-life American military tales are gunning for a real resurgence lately – what with Ben Affleck’s Argo, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, and the Robert Pattinson-starring Mission: Blacklist – and it looks like that means we’re not safe from a 3D take on such projects. A morning press release out of the Cannes Film Festival (oh, and heads up, get ready for a metric ton of these in the coming days) reveals that Freedom Films and Paradox Entertainment have made a deal to produce the “epic action pic Thunder Run,” based on the book “Thunder Run – The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad.” In case that title doesn’t quite clue you in on the film’s subject matter, it will detail “the untold story of the dangerous and bloody capture of Baghdad by American Forces at the onset of the Iraq War. In April 2003, three battalions and fewer than a thousand men launched a violent thrust of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into the heart of a city of five million, igniting a three-day blitzkrieg, which military professionals often refer to as a lightning strike, or ‘thunder run.’” Despite the fact that the film’s producers are already flashing about its 3D bent and terming it an “epic,” Thunder Run is coming at us (really, right at our faces) with a solid action pedigree. Simon West (The Expendables 2, Con Air) will direct from a script by Robert Port and Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), who are adapting from the book […]

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Like a pit bull that gets his testicles removed right out of the womb, The Expendables 2 is aiming for a PG-13 rating, even though the first film was a smash success despite being stamped with an R. According to an email to Aint It Cool, Sylvester Stallone is confirming that they’re headed for that rating, saying that “The PG-13 rumor is true, but before your readers pass judgment, trust me when I say this film is LARGE in every way and delivers on every level. This movie touches on many emotions which we want to share with the broadest audience possible, BUT, fear not, this Barbeque of Grand scale Ass Bashing will not leave anyone hungry…Sly” The problem is that there just aren’t many great action movies of this kind with a PG-13 rating. You’ve got to see some blood in order to give a damn, and it’s hard to take Stallone at his word that everything will be bigger except for the stuff that makes an action movie an action movie. The bottom line? This is a movie for adults that’s just been shoved into a Happy Meal box. Is it Chuck Norris‘s fault? Who knows. What’s probably happening is an increase in budget to cover the new additions and the new “bigness,” and with great money comes a greater need to hedge bets. “Many emotions which we want to share with the broadest audience possible”? Really? Now there’s no cursing, not much blood, and we have to […]

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David Varod is the CEO of a Bulgaria based film studio called Nu Boyana. This is notable because Sylvester Stallone and his new director pal Simon West are filming scenes for their upcoming sequel to Stallone’s team-up movie The Expendables in Bulgaria. This is newsworthy because Varod is claiming that some big names, not previously confirmed as being in The Expendables 2, are on their way to Bulgaria to film for the movie. When speaking to Novinite, Varod first confirmed that shooting was taking place in September, and then hinted that a lot of Hollywood stars would be moving into the country to do work, “Yes, we are definitely going to do that project. It is going to be a sequel the (sic) The Expendables. The shooting is going to take place the second week of September. The movie is on, definitely. It will be a very good thing for Bulgaria, since there are some very big stars coming.” Big stars, that makes sense. It’s long been assumed that the stars from the original film like Stallone, Jason Statham, and Mickey Rourke would return. There was even some notion that guys like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who only made small cameos in the first film, might return in larger roles this time. But when pressed to name off the “big stars” that would be making their way into the country, Varod named a few that could potentially be huge casting announcements.

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The prospect of Robert Rodriguez teaming with Rose McGowan for Red Sonja was an interesting one. Here’s a better one: Simon West coming off of a great, sleek bullet-based action movie The Mechanic and teaming with Amber Heard, fresh off of Drive Angry 3D and whatever awards she wins for Best Daisy Dukes ability. According to Empire, producer Avi Lerner claimed that Simon West had already gotten the gig, and that Amber Heard was at the top of Lerner’s list for the lead. Picture that. A veteran action director taking on the swords, sandals and sweat of Amber Heard in a chainmail handkerchief (that’s trying to pass as a bikini). Go ahead. Keep picturing it. It’s potential to kick several thousand cubits worth of ass is high, but at any rate, it seems like it could make Robert E. Howard fans happy.

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statham-1

In 140-characters via Twitter, Production Weekly is giving us all the relevant details this afternoon about a new project in development involving awesome action guy Jason Statham and Con Air director Simon West.

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