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All-Women 'Expendables' Movie Is A Go! Director & Writers Attached. Who Should Star?

by Tambay A. Obenson
February 11, 2014 6:42 PM
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Lupita, Angela

It's been 1 1/2 years since the announcement of an all-women Expendables movie was made, and about the same amount of time has passed since our last update on the proposed project.

Expendables 2 director Simon West got the ball rolling in 2012 when he expressed interest in an all-female spin-off of the The Expendables franchise, telling E! Online, "I like the idea of the Expenda-Belles where it's seven or eight women mercenaries. It would be Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich, the list goes on. Helen Mirren, Jamie Lee Curtis would be great... It would be running parallel. They would meet up and then they would fight and they would join up and save each other."

Our man Terry Crews, who plays Hale Caesar in the Expendables movies, was vocal with his support of the idea, adding "I would love to see Charlize Theron. She would be a sweet badass just doing some crazy stuff!"

At the time, it all seemed like just wishful thinking on their part, as nothing concrete had been announced at the time. 

However, it didn't take very long after that for an all-female Expendables movie to get a greenlight, when executive producer Adi Shankar (the man behind movies like The GreyKilling Them Softly - the upcoming Brad Pitt project- the Judge Dredd reboot, and Allen Hughes' Broken City) hired newcomer Dutch Southern to pen a screenplay for an all-female take on the Expendables movie franchise.

Shankar was to produce the film, via his 1984 Private Defense Contractors production company (interesting name for a production company), which was to also fully finance the film.

At the time, the news was that the production company was already "in talks" with several well-known actresses who aren't strangers to action films, although no names were mentioned.

1 1/2 years later, after I'd completely forgotten about the project, Robert Luketic has reportedly been hired to direct what is being titled The ExpendaBelles (no word whether that'll be its final title), from a script penned by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah.

Who is Robert Luketic, you ask? He directed films like Legally Blonde, Monster-in-Law, The Ugly Truth and more. Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah scripted Legally Blonde, so this is a reuniting of that film's writing/directing team. 

Unexpected choices to write and direct an all-women version of The Expendables, given what they've done in the past.

We also have an official synopsis for the film, which reads:

The Expendables universe has a new team. An elite group of highly trained female mercenaries are brought together for a covert hostage rescue mission. Once they are behind enemy lines, the women discover that they will also need to topple an evil dictator bent on world domination. It becomes clear there there is no such thing as the right man for the job. The Expendabelles is the ultimate story of female empowerment and kick-ass teamwork.

Principal photography is set to begin this summer, although no actresses have been cast yet. That should change very soon.

Sylvester Stallone and Kevin King will produce. Heidi Jo Markel, Julie Kroll, Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson and Mark Gill will exec produce.

So, once again, given what we now know about the project, who would you cast in it? I'm quite sure that at least one of The Expendabelles will be a black woman. I'd be really surprised otherwise. I say cast Angela Bassett and Lupita Nyong'o and call it a day! Just check out the guns in the above photo (we can't really see Angela's here, but we've seen them before. Plus she's no stranger to action films). No it's not award-winning material, but it could be fun and entertaining for both the actresses and the audience who'll be seeing them in an altogether different light.

Who would you cast?

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More: Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett

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  • tom | August 21, 2014 7:48 PMReply

    Cynthia Rothrock, Alison Carroll, Yancy Butler, Hudson Leick, Jennifer Garner, Eliza Dushku, Sybil Danning, Linda Hamilton, Sandahl Bergman, Laurene Landon, Jennette McCurdy, Kathy Long, Renee O' Connor, Victoria Pratt, Shannen Doherty, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Any combination thereof.

    For a villain, Morgan Fairchild, Sharon Stone, Camilla Sparv, Senta Berger, Luciana Paluzzi, Dawn French, or Lauren Hutton.

  • Duncan Yates | August 4, 2014 7:28 AMReply

    I think if you make this film you really need to have Cynthia Rothrock in it. She is fantastic.

  • Dennis Friday | August 2, 2014 10:45 PMReply

    Mila Jovovich, Kate Beckinsale, Gina Carnaro, Michelle Rodriguez, Pam Grier, Natasha Henstridge, Lucy Lawless, Drew Barrymore (YES, DREW BARRYMORE), Linda Hamilton, Sigourney Weaver, just to name a few.

  • Ramey Haliburton | July 29, 2014 1:46 PMReply

    gina davis
    long kiss good night

  • viper | June 18, 2014 1:03 PMReply

    Oh and Demi Moore. Rhona Mitra. Grace johnson

  • viper | June 18, 2014 12:16 PMReply

    Zoe bell
    michelle Rodriguez
    Katee sackhoff
    renee oconnor

  • brendan | June 17, 2014 8:14 PMReply

    so we have to give sally hers cuz johnny got his? to be fair and feminist?
    not if its gonna blow!

  • Kurt | June 4, 2014 7:53 PMReply

    Cynthia Rothrock bitches she did movies in HK a lot different movies from the US

  • Vishnu | April 21, 2014 2:29 PMReply

    Love to see Michelle Rodriguez,Zoe saldana and Charlize theron,.!!

  • Claire | March 13, 2014 8:58 AMReply

    Excellent idea, except the name. Expendabelles is so cringeworthy it hurts.

  • Formerly From Tokyo | February 20, 2014 4:39 PMReply

    Uh, Pam Grier is one of the original female action stars!

  • Donella | February 14, 2014 12:44 PMReply

    FLOTUS, Lupita, Danai Guirra, and Angela Bassett have been giving this world quite the gun show.

  • Geneva Girl | February 13, 2014 3:24 AMReply

    Pam Grier!!

  • burgundybrazil | February 12, 2014 9:05 PMReply

    Angela Bassett is a must for this film!

  • Monique A Williams | February 12, 2014 11:47 AMReply

    I was excited about this project until I saw that the women are playing undercover call girls. Because that's a job "only a woman could do." That's gross. There are plenty of other ways women can star in an action movie without resorting to sex-as-a-weapon. smh

  • @JayTeeDee | February 12, 2014 10:54 AMReply

    Well considering the fact at the offensive and sexist premise of this film wherein this female team of mercenaries are supposed to infiltrate the targets by posing as prostitutes I don't want any Black women or WOC in this film! In fact I hope that this doesn't get made at all.

  • Dave's Deluxe | February 12, 2014 4:27 AMReply

    I would personally like to see NO black women in this movie. The poor black girl they hire will probably have to be cast as the "freak" of the bunch.

  • Accidental Visitor | February 11, 2014 11:52 PMReply

    Are you serious by suggesting Alfrie and Lupita for this nonsense?

  • Mich | February 12, 2014 12:09 AM

    That's Angela Bassett not Afre Woodard, please stop mixing up these great actresses thanks.

  • Mich | February 12, 2014 12:07 AM

    That's Afre Woodard not Angela Bassett, please stop mixing these great actresses thanks.

  • Miles Ellison | February 11, 2014 10:39 PMReply

    A crappy female version of a crappy male franchise. Yay.

  • brendan | June 17, 2014 8:15 PM

    i wouldnt claim its as much as a classic as 80s ones are but its not crappy either

  • lol | February 12, 2014 10:40 AM


  • Daryl | February 11, 2014 10:17 PMReply

    I didn't like the all male version now we can look foward to an all women garbage expendables. Hollywood just keep recycling the same ideas over and over or they keep coming up with gimmicks and the sad thing is the audience goes along with it and don't challenge them to make better films. So who cares who they cast when you know this is just a money grab.

  • CC | February 11, 2014 11:49 PM

    "the sad thing is the audience goes along with it and don't challenge them to make better films"

    Is that right... who says they don't? If you'd care to notice, excellent films are made EVERY year. What is being made is directly related to the mission/goal/objectives of the filmmakers. For instance, did you know in some years the box office take of one tentpole/gimmick/"brand" film was more than the combined return of all the films nominated for an Oscar in said year? Now what was this about the audience? Please explain.

  • C. | February 11, 2014 10:11 PMReply

    Eternal ... Grace Jones

  • Daryl | February 12, 2014 5:45 AM

    CC I didn't say excellent films are not made every year, I'm saying they don't get the push or love like these gimmick films. Look at the comments section when Shadow and Act does a story on a small indie film that's excellent, hardly anybody comment on it or show the film love, but when they do a story on these hollywood gimmick films the comments section is long. CC to say it's the mission/goal/objectives of the filmmakers is a half truth, it's a lot of filmmakers that want to tell other the stories but they can't get the financing, so they go the route of making the gimmick films because they get frustrated with the moviemaking process of trying to tell different stories with no backing. Also don't bring the oscars in this because we both know how political that is, but that's another conversation.

  • Justin D. | February 11, 2014 9:22 PMReply

    Milla Jovovich, Pam Grier, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Yeoh/Kelly Hu/Xiyi Zhang/Lucy Liu/Maggie Q (either of those Asian actresses will do), Jamie Lee Curtis, Cynthia Rothrock, Zoë Bell, Uma Thurman, Gina Carano, Michelle Rodriguez, Carrie-Anne Moss, and of course, Linda Hamilton.

  • brendan | June 17, 2014 8:17 PM

    as long as it has no resemble to bs like charlies angels and stuff like that i dont mind.or they dont go all hunger games or divergence with it either.

  • jiml | February 11, 2014 8:41 PMReply

    Pam Grier, Nancy Allen, Sybil Danning, Sigourney Weaver, Lucy Lawless, Cynthia Rothrock, Linda Hamilton, Jamie Lee Curtis and maybe Brigitte Nielsen. If the Expendables can have a bunch of old action hero guys why can the female version bring back 80's faves!!!!

  • Kev | February 11, 2014 8:35 PMReply

    Milla Jovovich, Michelle Yeoh, Helen Mirren, Kate Beckinsale, and Angelina Jolie

  • HL II | February 11, 2014 8:09 PMReply

    An all woman Expendables movie MUST include Pam Grier!

  • Thias | February 11, 2014 8:04 PMReply

    "Killing Them Softly - the upcoming Brad Pitt project-"
    Am I reading the sentence wrong? Killing Them Softly has been out for a year and a half.

  • JMac | February 11, 2014 7:50 PMReply

    Whoever is tackling this project(s) should change the name. "Expendabelles" sounds like a 60s all female singing group. I guess there will be plenty of complaints about broken nails and slightly mussed hair :gag:

  • No | February 11, 2014 8:38 PM

    How about The Bitchez? For as Tina Fey once said, "Bitches get things done."

  • Tom Haverford | February 11, 2014 7:35 PMReply

    What you're talking about are actually two different projects, both of them all-female takes on The Expendables. The Adi Shankar one has a cast, but no director, and has Pam Grier attached to star in it. Nobody's been cast in the Luketic project yet.

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