Stallone: Expendables Cast Are “Children With Arthritis”

France Cannes The Expendables 3 Photo Call

Even Brad Pitt’s surprise appearance for lunch on the front-facing terrace of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes yesterday couldn’t match today’s turnout from fans, press and affiliated onlookers for the biggest stunt of the festival: the entire cast of The Expendables 3, all of them atop full-size tanks, tramping down the Croisette.

For those lucky enough to nab a coveted seat for the hour-long press conference inside the hotel, the biggest panel assembled by Cannes to date included stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz, along with director Patrick Hughes, and producer Avi Lerner.

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They told us to expect a tamer version of The Expendables for a PG-13 audience, while Sylvester Stallone joked that, since the old cast act like big kids on set, they were basically “children with arthritis.” Added Schwarzenegger: “That should be the tagline.”

In fact, a lot of the press conference hinged on how much older the cast were getting. Stallone responded to a question about how you know you’re too old: “I think once things start falling off, that’s when you stop. If your ass drops off, give it up.”

But the other recurring theme was the rivalry between the 80s action legends, and how it’s been – almost – set aside for the cause of assembling a cast even greater than the Expendables series has managed in the past. Asked about which roles Stallone and Schwarzenegger would like to swap with one another, Stallone said he’d have liked to have been the Terminator, but, “they don’t make robots with my droopy eyes and squashed mouth, that talk with a slur.”

The rivalry emerged when Schwarzenegger joked that he’d like to be in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Stallone shot back that Schwarzenegger couldn’t make fun of him after the Austrian Oak played a pregnant man in the movie Junior. “We used to call each other up and say, ‘How many guys did you kill in this last movie?’” said Schwarzenegger. “’Who has bigger muscles? Who’s using bigger guns?’”

[First look at Mel Gibson in Expendables 3]

Mel Gibson said the group’s competition in the 80s was stiff. Enjoying the double entendre, he laughed: “I think we can all agree that in 2014 it’s not so stiff anymore.”

Yahoo! asked how the new cast was settling into the group – Gibson, Snipes, Ford and Grammer join the vets this time. “It’s a great bunch of guys to work with,” Ford said. “The work was concentrated and skilful and we had a good time together.”

“I think Lincoln was in the White House when I first met Harrison,” laughed Stallone. “The beauty of this movie is you get to work with guys that have directed their own movies and starred in their own movies.

"Mel is one of the great talents of all time, and for him to be in Expendables was fantastic and drove the movie. And they keep saying it’s retro and 80s, but actually it’s not: we’re all just adult children, so we put a lot of energy into this and try to keep it fresh and contemporary.”

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This’ll be the first of the Expendables movies to go out with a PG-13 rating in the States rather than the harder R rating of the previous films, which prevents under-17s from seeing the movie unaccompanied. “We want to reach as many people as possible with this one,” said Stallone. The film was right up against the line for an R, he said, but it was time to introduce a younger audience to the muscle-bound action team.

How tough this rag-tag group of arthritic children will be on their third outing remains to be seen. The Expendables 3 hits cinemas in August.

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