TALK ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER IN THE EXPENDABLES 3.
Kellan Lutz: [John Smilee is] a sergeant who came back from a war and lost all his comrades, so he's wearing a heavy heart. He gets himself into underground fights so he can feel any sort of feeling, any sort of emotion...and it numbs the inner demons that he has.
Ronda Rousey: Luna is the only girl "Expendable." She's kind of got her guard up a little more than anyone else because she's in a very male-dominated field and [is] treated a certain way throughout her entire career. But that makes her fit in a little bit more because everybody ends up on The Expendables because plan A didn't work anyway. Being a mercenary was never plan A for anyone.
Glen Powell: [Thorn is] on probation, basically house arrest in Wyoming, after I get put into prison for shutting down a power grid in Seattle. I don't like to follow the rules. I'm basically too smart for my own good and I don't really play along with others.
Victor Ortiz: I play the character Mars...[a] weapons specialist...It was a perfect fit because the character himself plays this role of a tough guy but he's really not. He pretty much protects all his people and his peers, which is usually what I do.
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE ROLE?
Powell: There's no reason you would turn down a project like this. Every guy in the entire world would be like, "I'm in." To work with every single action star alive, I felt like I won a sweepstakes.
Lutz: This is my ideal dream job to work with all my favorite childhood heroes...To have an opportunity to work with all these guys in one movie, I've been trying to position myself for [this] since day one.
Rousey: Acting was always something I wanted to do, but I never thought it was in the cards for me, so I never even let myself hope for it. It just kind of fell into my lap.
HOW DID YOU PREPARE YOURSELF TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTER?
Lutz: John Smilee is known for his motorcycle riding. So I've never done that before...Any day I wasn't working, I'd hit [my stunt double] "Frog" up. I'd be like, "Take me to the track." For me personally, that's why I love action movies. I get to learn something fun [and] that I've never been trained to do.
Ortiz: The moment I found out that I had nailed the part for Mars, and obviously knowing that he was a weaponry specialist, I contacted a great friend of mine who used to work for the LAPD...Guns are scary to me. I'd sit there and shoot them but I'd blink every time and he'd say, "Don't do that man. You have to keep still." It was very interesting.
Powell: When it comes to the shooting guns, that was a no-brainer. I've been able to shoot quarters out of the air since I was a kid. In terms of the tech stuff...I can barely download an app.
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING IN A BIG-BUDGET ACTION MOVIE?
Powell: There was one moment [during filming] where we're going through a hallway and we're about to move out with all these terrorist guys, and I look to my right and it's [Jason] Statham, Antonio Banderas, and Sly [Sylvester Stallone]. I look over and I frickin' forgot my line because I was like, "Holy shit! This is the coolest thing I've ever gotten a chance to do."
Lutz: There's this scene where it's just Stallone and me taking on fire and we're saving each other and just shooting the guys. He throws a one-liner to me and it was the first take—mortars are going off, bullets are flying, bad guys are dying—and I'm sitting there just tagging up these guys with the biggest smile on my face. And Sly turns to me and he's like, "You aren't supposed to be enjoying this you know. And you aren't supposed to be smiling."
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING THE ONLY FEMALE "EXPENDABLE"?
Rousey: I grew up in a gym, so it was always all guys. I was always the one chick...That kind of environment, I'm a lot more used to. I'm much more comfortable filming The Expendables with me and all guys than I would be filming a movie that was just all chicks.
GIVEN YOUR OCCUPATION, WAS IT TOUGH TO LEARN HOW TO FAKE FIGHT?
Ortiz: I do a lot of shadow boxing so that helped a lot for this particular movie. There are a couple scenes where I got about this [he indicates inches] far from grazing some of the stunt doubles. And I'm like, "Don't worry, I'm not going to hit you. It looks like I'm going to hit you, but I'm not. I can pull back. Just don't put your face a little bit forward because then I'm going to break your nose."
Rousey: It wasn't so much the [punching] that was hard to do, it was the defense. Because if I throw a punch, I'm going to have the other [hand] blocking my face...I purposely had to throw punches and leave my face open which I wouldn't do [in a real fight]. That was a hard thing to unlearn.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM STALLONE?
Rousey: Stallone taught me a lot of things. He first told me, "Don't ever feel embarrassed no matter what you're doing. Don't ever feel embarrassed." He told me to always go over the top at first because it's easy to tone it down if you start over the top. It's harder to rev it up. That was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I got.
Ortiz: Meeting the man in itself did a lot for me because when I was a kid I didn't have anything, but [after watching Rocky] I had a dream...He told me, "Vic, I was an actor." I said, "Not to me you weren't. To me that was life in itself." So I did what he did, which gave me a silly little thought and ran with it and became the WBC welterweight champion of the world.
Powell: In terms of film, he is the king of franchises. He's like, "Dude, what you should start doing is find [movies] that you should make franchises out of and becoming the next guy." That's the reason he's stuck around so long.
HEARD THERE WAS A BIT OF BACKSTAGE SPARRING BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU. CARE TO ELABORATE?
Ortiz: I told her [Rousey], "OK champ, let's take it to your world." She says, "OK, are you sure? I can hurt you." And I said, "Bring it woman." I do this trick with my feet. Tricked her. I try to do it again and next thing you know, I'm on my back and she has an arm bar on me. And I said, "No! Time out! You're gonna break my arm! Stop! Stop! Stop!" I don't even know how she did it. I was on my back, I know that much.
Rousey: We were just doing clinch sparring. And by the end of it he was like, "I bet you couldn't throw me even if you wanted to." I had to prove a point to Victor because when he challenged me at that point, I was like, "What?! You don't think I can throw you?" That's like saying my hair looks bad. So I had to show Victor that I could throw him. And that was it.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU'D DO AS A REAL-LIFE "EXPENDABLE"?
Powell: I probably kill 150 men in this movie. I feel confident that I'd take out a few [in real life]. 150 might be stretching it a little bit.
Lutz: It'd be a dream. I'd love to be a real-life "Expendable." Before acting came around, I wanted to become a Navy SEAL. So I think it's right up that alley.
[WORDS: DAVID ECKSTEIN]