The cast of Sylvester Stallone's upcoming Brazil-set ensemble mercenaries movie The Expendables features pretty much every eighties action star who's ever roundhouse kicked an ethnic villain — save for one. Last year, Jean-Claude Van Damme told a reporter he'd opted not to appear in the film for artistic reasons, namely because Stallone "was unable to tell me what [my character] was going to be." Today, though, Stallone tells the Times' Michael Cieply it was because Van Damme's socially conscious rewrite of the movie's screenplay did not meet with his approval.
Rounding up the cast, Mr. Stallone said, was not especially difficult, except for Jean-Claude Van Damme, who declined a role that was eventually taken by [Dolph] Lundgren. "He told me, you should be trying to save people in South Central," Mr. Stallone recalled of a conversation with Mr. Van Damme.
"I knew I'd lost him."
To conclude: Jean-Claude Van Damme is awesome.