Last Friday, some selected Brazilian outlets where invited to a press conference with actor, writer, director and producer Sylvester Stallone, who’s in Rio de Janeiro to shoot his new movie, “The Expendables”. The interview was quick, around 15 minutes, and showed an apprehensive Sly, that did not lose the chance to crack some jokes at a Copacabana hotel.
If you haven’t heard of “The Expendables”, the film is about a team of mercenaries that head to South America to overthrow a dictator. According to IMDB it stars Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Giselle Itié, Charisma Carpenter, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Jet Li. Also, shooting started today in Rio de Janeiro.
Here are the best parts of the press conference:
Why did you decide to shoot in Rio?
Sylvester Stallone: Because the movie is situated on a tropical country. We needed a place with a very well developed movie industry and with local talents, cameras and facilities. Brazil has it all.
Does this movie represent a reboot to the action movies from the 80s, with jungle, soldiers of fortune, etc?
SS: Yes, it’s a 1980s movie with today’s technology. But in those days, the female leading character was a helpless girl, waiting to be rescued by the hero. Now we have a very strong female character that evolved to this form while I was writing the script. But except for this, yes, it’s a 1980s movie.
This movie is about dictatorships, I’d like to know where did you get the inspiration to it, if it was any Latin America country specifically and when are opening your set?
SS: We’re all very nervous about it. This is just the first week of shooting. I like to open my set, but only when everything is working properly. And about the dictators, they’re fascinating fellows. They’re mad people. At the beginning they might have some king of philosophy, but then they show how insane they really are. And to build’em I’ve got inspiration in North Korea, Uganda, Cuba, El Salvador, Russia and some Central America Countries. I made a blend of them all. What you see in this movie is a mixture of real dictators.
Where are you shooting here in Rio? Are you going to Tavares Bastos’ favela? And how’s to act and direct at the same time?
SS: It’s not a problem if you know the script very well, which is the case, once I wrote it myself. It’s an insane challenge that I love because you know exactly where to be and what to say. It’s very exhaustive work, but it’s totally worthy. About the locations, there’s Parque Lage, Mangatiba, that’s one and a half hour from here, and Tavares Bastos’ favela. We’re doing a lot of action. Some of the scenes are huge as I’ve never done before. Today we shot the port with those giant ships and some Somalian pirates. It’s a great location, and that’s kind of a problem to the imagination. Every day we see different stuff. This movie could last for two to three years to be done, just by adding more and more and more…
Usually Brazil is shown in foreign movies as a massive jungle, with monkeys on the streets. I’d like to know what’s the risk of having that in your movie and what are your first impressions about the country.
SS: I’m loving it here. I’m really loving it. And economically speaking it was also very good to come and shoot here because there are very good financial incentives. You have place to work here. We need to do things that we can’t do in America no more. Action scenes. It’s not allowed, there’s no place to do it there. We needed the jungle environment. We need the actors and the extras to have a very specific look. And also we were very lucky to have Gisele (pictured on right). That was the most difficult part of the casting process because she represents the heart of the movie. She’s the reason why the guys come back. It’s not for the money. It’s important to these guys to keep alive what she represents, protecting civilization. Although they had sold their souls, there’s a time in your life when you say: “You know what? You have to give it back, to do something without expecting something back, a cause that’s worth fighting for”. It’s a redemption movie. My character hates the world, but when I see what she does and she’s been through, my character wakes up and, once more, feels alive. It was very important that the female leading was someone very special, not just a beautiful face. That would be too easy. But have the skill, beauty ant talent to express all her feelings is something rare. That’s why it was so difficult to find the right person. Gisele was born for this role.
In your movies you’re always fighting. Are you having Brazilian fighters in the movie?
SS: I don’t fight no one. (laughs). I just fight in my movies, never in real life. Gisele Itié (Mexican-born Brazilian actress who has a part in the movie) is the tough one who likes to fight. I’m getting too old for that, hurting myself all the time.
But did you know we have a MMA fighter here, Rodrigo Minotauro, who’s known as Brazilian Rocky Balboa?
SS: Seriously?! (laughs). Oh god, just hope he hasn’t been beaten as much as I did.