ok I’ve been quiet cuz I’ve been working on my own project – but more about that later. First things first, the neck…Sly did indeed have a very serious surgery a few weeks after we wrapped The Expendables. He did it under the radar and kept it out of the press…I love that! Arnold went to visit him in the hospital and I saw him a couple of weeks after the surgery. From what he told me it was complicated and involved moving his trachea, putting in a metal plate and some very delicate maneuvering by the surgeon – the slightest mistake could have resulted in paralysis. As for how it happened – I don’t exactly remember because Sly had several injuries over the course of the film – he did so many over the top stunts and rarely used a stunt double for the fights. After one fight blood was pouring out of his ear. I do know the fight between him and Steve Austin was brutal – took place in a cave with jagged walls and a hard dirt floor – stunt pads were rarely used as that would prevent Sly from getting the full frame shots he loves so much. They both got their clocks wound in the scene that day.
As for JCVD, it is clear that during the pathetic excuse for a press conference he exhibited a real case of sour grapes. JCVD was disrespectful, insulting and showed he has no character. But then again most of us knew that. That doesn’t mean some of his movies aren’t good, he isn’t in good shape or that he isn’t a martial arts expert – just that he clearly created a mythology about what happened to make it look like he turned down Sylvester Stallone for creative reasons. Bull@#!%. I’m not going to get into a he said/he said dialogue here since I wasn’t present for the conversations. But again, my understanding is Sly really wanted JCVD and was writing a part for him – just as he did for Jason, Jet, Dolph, Mickey, etc. Doing this film was never about the money for Sly so I find it completely implausible that he tried to lure JCVD with the promise of riches. A rewarding experience, a chance to get back on the big screen in a big film and a role that would allow him to show his chops? Yes. The promise of money money money. No. Anyone who knows how NuImage operates knows that getting money out of Avi is like milking a hummingbird – he has a formula that he sticks to which is why he is successful. Sly had x amount of $ to make the film and he wanted to get the most out of it. Giving bundles to a marginal screen draw makes no sense. John Wright is right (heh heh) – the script went through over 100 rewrites…JCVD’s character was not fleshed out completely but Sly had an outline for who he was. As with the other actors, JCVD would have the opportunity to develop the character. I think it came down to how much of a team player would JCVD be – remember this was an ensemble piece – everyone had to click – ego on set would not be tolerated. My thoughts – JCVD was perhaps the architect of his own demise in terms of the film because of ego and perhaps a little feeling of intimidation. That’s my take and it is filled with a lot more truth than any speculation I’ve seen here. Get it? Got it? Good.