Expend4bles producer Les Weldon on the R-rating, Sly’s limited involvement and bringing Megan Fox into the fold.
Les Weldon is a name you’ve likely seen in the credits of most big action movies from the last decade or so. Working with Millennium Media, he’s produced The Hitman’s Bodyguard series, London Has Fallen, Angel Has Fallen and all four Expendables movies. With Expend4bles now in theatres, we sat down with producer Les Weldon to discuss the latest film, the future of action, and the passing of the torch from one generation to another.
On Stallone’s lack of screen time in Expend4bles:
Look, it wasn’t so much that we said, oh, we got to pass the torch here, because, you know, we were thinking what is a good story for here? And we say passing of the torch, but that doesn’t mean, you know, that that’s forever the direction we’re going. It just happened to be the best story we had all put together that we had all thought about, and even though there is that element in there, it was a function of the script and the story. We didn’t want to make a mistake of, well, bring in this actor or bring in that actor and try to jam them in here. This story came out organically, and Sly was all up for it, and it gives a good twist to the story and was just something that felt very organic and natural for this Expendables.
Was that always the intention? Absolutely. Look, you know what? One thing you can’t ever do is you can’t ever think that you know what the audience wants or that you’re going to do something that’s going to bring in a wider audience. You need just to give the audience what they want. And perhaps we didn’t on the last one, which is why, some people may not have received it as well and so for this one we said look, let’s get back to our roots. Let’s get back to the real explosions, and let’s get back to that hard R rating. What the fans in the audience love is sitting there and cheering, and suddenly you don’t just cut away from something or just tone it down.
Our audience are true believers in expendables and hardcore expendables action, and we owe it to them. We owe it to them! And if we forget that, we might as well not be making any more of these.
On Megan Fox:
I had done another film with her, and in the previous movie, I was surprised at how good she was with action, fighting with survival, if you will. And on this one, when we were contemplating it, I remember we’re just having this discussion for a while: Well, Megan, is she going to be tough enough? I said, guys, I’m telling you, she will hold her own. She will hold her own with actors, Sly, Jason, and whatever. But she will also do the physical work and is quite good at it. She gets in there, she fights, she falls on the ground, she’s firing, you know, machine guns. She’s actually doing a lot of the stuff, and people were surprised. That’s what gives this a certain authenticity if you will.
Expend4bles is in theatres now!