Norris, 71 years old, has proven to be a world-class martial artist, and had brief success in the 80s with a run of low-brown actioners like "Delta Force" and "Invasion U.S.A." that, honestly, were not without their charms. In his advanced years, he has sadly become a political Tea Party mouthpiece, contributing columns to WorldNetDaily, a website known for spotlighting right wing punditry. Not counting a cameo in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," this will be his first big-screen role in more than fifteen years.
Van Damme, 51, famously turned down a role in the first "Expendables," though it appears he won't make the same mistake twice. While Van Damme had similar big screen success as Norris, he also entered a punchline phase of his career, ended by his humanist, semi-autobiographical turn in "JCVD." While neither Norris or Van Damme's roles have leaked, the rumor right now is that Van Damme would play a villain.
Millennium also has the synopsis of the film which, weirdly enough, reads just like the description that was leaked earlier this year that Sylvester Stallone has since debunked, revolving around the death of a major Expendable, the arrival of his daughter and, you guess it, a dictator trying to squash a resistance movement. Stallone and company are nothing if not reliable.
The cast list confirms the return of each major actor from the first film, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, but they added one more surprise in direct-to-DVD star Scott Adkins (who recently co-starred with Van Damme in "Assassination Games"). But none of this should be set in stone until the film sees release: Stallone was constantly re-writing the original film, and there were even casting decisions announced, then jettisoned (wherefore art thou, 50 Cent?). In whatever shape it takes, "The Expendables 2" is slated for release on August 17, 2012.