Terry Crews & Randy Couture Interview For ‘The Expendables 2′
‘The Expendables 2’ is the testosterone-filled, action-packed sequel to the 2010 worldwide box-office success ($274 million worldwide) ‘The Expendables.’ From Sylvester Stallone and a powerhouse line-up of the biggest action-adventure superstars from around the world comes the next chapter in ‘The Expendables’ saga. Reunited for what they think should be a quick, in-and-out mission, this tight-knit band of old-school mercenaries are about to find themselves at the brink of global disaster . . . and driven to extract their own brand of up-close and personal vengeance. ’The Expendables 2′ stars Sylvester Stallone (Barney Ross), Jason Statham (Lee Christmas), Jet Li (Yin Yang), Dolph Lundgren (Gunner Jensen), Terry Crews (Hale Caesar), Randy Couture (Toll Road), Bruce Willis (Mr. Church) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Trench), with newest cast members Liam Hemsworth (Billy the Kid), Yu Nan (Maggie), Scott Adkins (Hector), and martial arts legends Chuck Norris (Booker) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean Vilain). ‘The Expendables 2′ is out in cinemas now. My other interviews for the film can be read here (more to come): Sylvester Stallone and Liam Hemsworth.
With both of your backgrounds in professional sports, what disciplines from that have transferred over to help your careers in acting? In particular, with a film like ‘The Expendables 2,’ when you’re a part of a big team, an ensemble….
Randy Couture: There’s a tonne of crossover. First of all there’s being coachable. And then, there’s no other time in my life when I have been more in the moment than when I’m standing in the cage, looking at a cat who wants to kick me in the head. And that’s what acting is: being in the moment. You have to listen to your cues, know your fellow actors, be coachable, know your lines, be prepared, and you have to have the discipline to show up ready to go. I think all of those things, for me, came from athletics.
Terry Crews: For me, when I was a rookie in the NFL, they take you into the locker room and you’re like, “Ooh, this is pretty!” And then you look at your shiny helmet and you‘re like, “Ooh, look at my shiny helmet!” And then you go out on the field and you’re like, “Ooh, the grass is so green!” And then you see the legend that is playing at Quarterback, the super Linebacker, the Running Back that’s a star; who’s been a star for 5 or 6 years, and you’re like, “Wow, that’s him. I’ve got his jersey at home!” And then when they blow that whistle you’ve to hit them in the mouth, immediately (laughs)! And that’s what ‘The Expendables 2’ was, because you’re walking around like, “That’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ooh, that’s Sylvester Stallone.” But the thing is, you soon realise that they brought you here to bring the heat, to bring it. And Sly would tell us, he’d be like, “Hey man, this is your moment, this is your time, you take it!” I was like, “Wo, you don’t have to tell me twice,” (laughs). You realise that to be successful on something like this, ‘The Expendables 2,’ it’s a thing where you will never perform past your own self image, and you have to see yourself like those guys. You have to see yourself as big as those guys – in order to even be around them. It’s not about who’s more important, who’s this, who’s that. But when you know your purpose, you know why you were hired, you understand why you were there, it all makes sense, you can just flow right in there. I’m a fan, just as much as anyone else, but that mind frame allowed me to go right in that mode, and that’s one thing that sports prepared me for.
With all these action legends together for ‘The Expendables 2,’ what was the atmosphere like on set?
Randy Couture: You’d think that rolling onto a set with a bunch of the baddest son-b*tches ever (laughs), the icons in the action genre of films, that there would be a bunch of egos. Like, “Bruce Willis didn’t show up until 12 o’clock, and the call time was at 6,” and we’d all be waiting around because we can’t really start without him….but the opposite was true. These cats showed up ahead of time, and for us younger guys that are learning, they set the stage. Those guys, they’re workhorses, you quickly understand why they’ve had a 30 year career in this – because they are workhorses. They show up ready to go, they’re professionals, there’s no bullish*t, there’s no drama, they’re there to do the job and to make it something special. And that’s what was really cool about ’The Expendables 2.’
How was it filming that action-packed Airport scene, where pretty much the whole cast is there duking it out? Randy, I heard you accidentally knocked someone out while shooting that?
Randy Couture: You see the guy in the film, he’s the guy who comes at me with a pistol and I take him and bring him around and throw him over my back, and he flies up and lands on his head. Well, he landed on his head. He wasn’t supposed to land on his head, he was supposed to land on his back, but he kind of got hung up on the shelving unit that I threw him against with his boots. To credit the stunt guys we worked with, they were remarkable guys, amazing guys. It seemed like the higher you threw them, and the harder they landed, the bigger the smile was when they came up (laughs). They are that crazy! And this guy, he was so worried that he ruined the scene because he got knocked out, I was like, “You were supposed to be dead….you looked dead, I‘m pretty sure that’s the take they‘re going to use!” (Laughs) He ate it up, he loved it.
And then you had the likes of Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, how was it having those two guys – especially since Van Damme wasn‘t keen on joining the first ‘The Expendables‘ movie? I thought Van Damme was fantastic as the lead villain….
Terry Crews: Chuck Norris, he’s a man that fought Bruce Lee in ‘Way of the Dragon,’ this ain’t a throwback to just 80s action, that’s 70s action, we’re talking way back – you can‘t throwback that far (laughs). And Chuck, he was so cool with everybody on the set. I mean, you realise that this man….the business is about longevity, you see so many people who are stars and whatever, and they just fall away for whatever reason. The reason that Chuck Norris jokes work is because he’s still here (laughs), he’s still at it, he was amazing. I thought it was a great piece to bring him back.
And then the little beef that Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme had, which was from the last movie, because Sly asked Jean-Claude to be a part, and Jean was like, “There’s no story Sly, this is ridiculous.” And Sly was like, “Oh yeah, well f*ck you too,” (laughs). It started a war of words, for real! And now, Sly’s so smart, this is what’s so beautiful, he realised, “Wait a minute, who would be the perfect villain?” He never lets his own desires or his own little beef or whatever stop what would be the absolute best thing for the movie. And when people see Jean-Claude Van Damme in ‘The Expendables 2,’ that sh*t was real (laughs)! When they’re looking at each other like, “What!” It’s on, and you couldn’t bottle it, it goes beyond what you can quantify. Jean-Claude Van Damme is a star, by all means, and let me tell you, he was great as the villain, he was amazing. And the way that him and Sly buried it and moved on, it became something even better – it’s an example for everybody. It was like, “Wait, lets do something together and make this beyond a fight between you and I could be.” I thought that was an great example. Both great guys.
Terry, how can you let Arnold Schwarzenegger take your gun?
Terry Crews: (Laughs) Hey man, Arnold Schwarzenegger can take anything he wants (laughs)! You know what, I was a little concerned, believe me, I was like, “This is my baby!” But you understood, it was funny because even Sly had to write in the script, “Go on Caesar, you’ve got another one.” Even still it was like, “Alright, alright…..DAMMIT!” (Laughs) But I was so happy to be there with him, because in the last movie we weren’t with him, he was the Governor, he could only film on Sunday, it was him, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, they done that one scene in one day. We weren’t even around for that day. And then to have the chance to be all together in ‘The Expendables 2,’ I was ecstatic man, I was happy.
Randy Couture: He wasn’t acting when he was like, “You ain’t taking my gun!” (Laughs).
Did you have a favourite scene to film on ‘The Expendables 2′?
Randy Couture: I think it was the same scene for both of us, because we’ve talked about this together before. But the Pizzeria scene, it was like that scene where all of us got to really expand on our characters and show our flaws, show who we were as people. Him cooking the rigatoni, that scene was a really cool scene. That was in Bulgaria.
Terry Crews: Yeah, in fact it was in an old Communist training facility where they had it set up to look like New York, so when they invaded they would know where to go in New York. Bulgaria is 20 years out of Communism, that was a real city. That whole set was real.
I have to ask, who was the biggest prankster on set?
Terry Crews: Sly, by all means. He’s the funniest guy ever. All the jokes in ‘The Expendables 2,’ any time you laugh in that movie, that’s Sly, Sly wrote it. We didn’t ad-lib, that was all Sylvester Stallone.
Randy Couture: The guy on set telling jokes, that was Jason Statham. But the guy who was funny and made that sh*t happen on the screen, that was Sylvester Stallone. He’s a funny guy. He comes up with that stuff on the fly. You’re like, “You really want me to say that?” (Laughs).
Terry Crews: He’s a great writer, he wrote ‘Rocky,’ people forget!
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