Call it mad genius or a stroke of luck, but Sylvester Stallone seemed to have found a cinematic scratch that wasn't being itched when he got together a bunch of aging action stars, put them in a movie he co-wrote and directed, and smiled to himself as "The Expendables" went on and snatched up $275 million in global box office receipts. Not too bad. And while the actor/director/writer has long talked up his sequel to the film -- even before the first one was released -- it looks like for the next entry in the franchise, Stallone is going to take a step back.
24 Frames reports that Stallone will neither be writing or directing the follow-up and is currently meeting with various helmers to take the reins. Last year, Stallone tweeted that he wanted Bruce Willis to return as a "super villain" in part two and while it remains to be seen how the story will play, we don't doubt that Stallone is whispering in the ears of David Agosto and Ken Kaufman ("Space Cowboys," "In The Army Now") who are tasked with writing the film.
So, is the integrity of "The Expendables" now ruined with Stallone letting others take control of two the biggest creative elements of the film? Nah, not really. Let's be honest the "writing" on the first film was pretty abysmal (the "plot" that was there was barely coherent when it was ripped without any inspiration from a Cannon-video catalog title; and no, that wasn't an homage, just laziness) and the directing was purely functional. For all the fights and explosions in "The Expendables" the only memorable sequence, really, was Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li squaring off (and really, how could anyone forget a matchup like that). Otherwise, it'll probably do better for the film to get someone with a bit of flash and verve directing -- though we don't have much faith the script will be any more improved this time around.
So far the only cast member confirmed to return (other than Stallone) is Randy Couture but Bruce Willis and Jean-Claude Van Damme are rumored to be joining the film, but nothing is locked in just yet. No news on when this shoots, but it is expected to roll in front of cameras sometime this year.
No word yet on potential directors, but as these things tend to go, we're sure names will start leaking left and right within the next few days.