With 2010’s action mega-star team-up The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger officially deaded a long-dormant rivalry. Sly wrote Arnold a cameo; Arnold, then still the Governator, graciously appeared for free. Last year, they went for Round 2, with Schwarzenegger playing a bigger role in the sequel, The Expendables 2. And today comes Escape Plan, the first-ever proper tag team from the '80s action gods. So how come it took so long?
Well, back in the prime days, as Stallone explained to David Letterman, he had a "violent hatred" for Schwarzenegger. "Have you ever had that ever? Competition where you really had an archenemy that kind of brings out the best in you. As Arnold would say, it really pushed you to accelerate." Stallone hated "that [Schwarzenegger] was on the planet, basically." Then, "After a while, I started to like this competition, this one-upmanship. He'd get a bigger gun. I'd shoot more people. He'd shoot more people. But then, he went into science fiction, which kind of left me behind."
The thaw in the relationship came when Arnold began his political career. "He started inviting me to events," Stallone has said. "I said no, then my wife says, 'Come on, he’s extending the olive branch,' and next thing I know is I’m on the campaign trail, then we just hit it off."
Last week, I broke my hands writing about Miley Cyrus's SNL double-duty hosting gig. Electric currents ran through my fingers from my very soul, and I typed 580,000 words without blinking. I thought, I should scale back. I told myself, Shut up, you're on Page 95. I couldn't stop, and I wouldn't stop, and some gigantic cosmic force had to step in my path and holler CEASE, BLOGGER. That force was Bruce Willis. Brevity is now my friend.
It's not that I have anything against Bruce Willis. I like Willis so much that I own a copy of his 1987 R&B album, The Return of Bruno, and have listened to it more than twice. Was I skeptical of this hosting choice? Maybe. Willis has nothing to promote at the moment, with Sin City: A Dame to Kill For lingering in post-production and Red 2 disappearing in the rearview mirror. A host without a vehicle doesn't necessarily spell disaster, but it seemed like weird timing. After SNL wakes up from its hiatus nap on October 26, Edward Norton — another actor with no current merchandise — is set to headline, which is strange enough that I have no choice but to assume that the government shutdown's ripple effect has extended to Hollywood like a butterfly flapping its wings in the Congo. The unfortunate casualty of employing an emcee with nothing to shill is that everything seems strangely post-dated (I see you, Armageddon reference), and the episode seemed like it dropped out of a wormhole, a mediocre object with no spatial or temporal relevance.
Yesterday, Sly Stallone took to Twitter to announce Bruce Willis was out on The Expendables 3, in dramatic fashion: "WILLIS OUT … HARRISON FORD IN!!!! GREAT NEWS!!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!" Stallone and/or his Twitter valet wrote. "GREEDY AND LAZY … A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE." So what the hell was he talking about? Well, according to THR, Willis ended up getting bounced off the movie because of one very small, very specific, totally reasonable demand: He wanted to be paid a million dollars a day to shoot it. I mean, yes, totally, of course. Who wouldn't?!
Forget all the eye-rolling surrounding the release of A Good Day to Die Hard this Valentine's Day weekend — no cynical money grab of a fivequel can change the fact that Bruce Willis is an undeniable gift to American cinema.
On today's Hollywood Prospectus Podcast, Andy and I are united in the studio but divided on the subject of Rian Johnson's new sci-fi mind-bender, Looper (2:15). It's not like oceans of time separate us, but let's put it this way: The order of people who love this movie definitely goes like this: (1) China, (2) me, (3) Andy. How did we feel about the dizzying narrative, JoGo's eyebrows, or Emily Blunt's pantomime smoking? Listen and learn.
Editor's note: When the first Expendables came out in 2010, the general consensus seemed to be "this is great seeing all these perfectly aged action stars come together for one preposterous, over-the-top testosterone explosion, but how could they have left out Liam Hemsworth?" Luckily, The Expendables 2 comes out this week to right its predecessor's wrongs. Join us as we celebrate the careers of the most illustrious ensemble cast to hit the big screen since New Year's Eve.
Kristen Stewart Cheats on Robert Pattinson: The story absolutely nobody saw coming to knock Tom and Katie off the tabloid covers. "From the start, Robert Pattinson longed for more in his relationship with Kristen Stewart. Anything that would prove the guarded actress loved him as ardently as he loved her." I love how this story is written like Wuthering Heights. It's so perfect. Pattinson was planning to propose. "He wants to spend the rest of his life with her." Or at least, he thought he did until "photographers captured Stewart in a series of steamy rendezvous with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, 41. Like a pair of hormone-addled teenagers, the actress and the dad of two — married to British Vogue model Liberty Ross, 33 — spent the afternoon driving around L.A. in search of secluded places to make out."
Except when you're the star of a film franchise, there's no such thing as seclusion from the wily paparazzi.
Yesterday 20th Century Fox set Valentine’s Day 2014 as the release date for the fifth installment in the truly unkillable Die Hard franchise. While the opportunity to watch Bruce Willis wheeze his way through yet another impossible situation in A Good Day to Die Hard (for realsies) is appealing — do they make gunpowder-stained wifebeaters in size X-AARP? — the real potential of the project, at least according to Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming, lies in the co-star role. Having learned their lesson from Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s rocket-ride to superstardom after her turn as John McClane’s daughter in 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, the producers are promising big things for whoever fills the so-far undescribed shoes of John McClane Jr. With the rebooting craze in full swing, it’s clear that Fox hopes that whoever takes on the part will have broad enough shoulders to support the future of the franchise. Since this decision is critical, we thought it’d be in everyone’s best interest, including our own, to make some helpful casting suggestions — as well as try to stop that terrible title before it’s too late.
50 Cent’s output in the last few years has been remarkable: While still releasing major-label albums and occasionally acting in studio movies, he’s managed to fund, produce, star, and sometimes even write a steady string of nearly indistinguishable B-movie crime thrillers. But the really amazing thing? The quality of his co-stars. 50 isn't satisfied playing guns and robbers with guys whose best-known work was a two-episode arc on Party Of Five. Somehow, some way, he lands actors you not only recognize but also might actually like. Set Up, the latest in the 50 Cent assembly line of schlock, arrives on DVD today with both Ryan Philippe and Bruce Willis on its cover. How does 50 pull this off? Below, we look back on his recent filmography and speculate.
Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger only had cameos in the first Expendables, and that movie made $275 million worldwide. But they've both signed on for “substantial” roles in the sequel (also returning, most likely: Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, and Jet Li), so expect The Expendables 2 to make $20 kajillion. Grade: B+ [Deadline]
Just as we requested, Eddie Murphy will indeed be the host of the Oscars this year (it was confirmed shortly after the rumor went out yesterday morning). In a statement, Murphy said “I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others.” “Also, just to put the speculation to bed: Yes, I will be doing the entire telecast as Donkey from Shrek,” he did not add. Grade: A [Deadline]