As part of our cover feature on The Expendables 2 , we were treated to an audience with Jean-Claude Van Damme, who proved to be one of the most open, philosophical, and, frankly, barmy interviewees we’ve had the pleasure to hold court with.
In the pec-popping, ass-whupping, bullet-blasting action sequel, the Muscles from Brussels joins a host of ‘80s icon to play the villain of the piece, a terrorist with nefarious plans for a batch of stray plutonium.
Here are some morsels to whet your appetite for the full feature.
On working with all those action screen legends, JCVD told us, “I have lots of respect for them, so I felt great. Stallone was very happy about my acting. He was kinda upset because he didn’t know which take to take. So he’s a great teacher in a sense of knowing the character. Very intelligent.
"He’s really making a movie as an Expendable. It’s almost like he has his own world. He’s created a world and he’s in that world. I have a lot of respect for that because he really showed me how much a person can love a film.
“And then being with all those guys was kinda cool because I knew all of them before. I met them on the screen. I met them on my way up when I was just doing movies like Bloodsport , Kickboxer … And then the opening of Hollywood Planet. So it was kinda like a reunion.”
“So I’ve got to say a big thank you to the idea of Stallone putting the Expendables together, and to choose me for the villain. I wanted to play the villain, I said. Which is not stupid. Stallone said, ‘Fuck, he’s giving me the pleasure to kick the shit out of him.’ [ Maniacal laugh ].”
On being starstruck in his co-stars presence, Van Damme added, “They didn’t see me as Jean-Claude Van Damme in a sense. They saw me running and shaking hands to everyone like kind of a cool kid. That’s how I felt. But I didn’t do it on purpose.”
When talked turned to his breakout with Bloodsport , he was surprisingly humble. “You know, I came out from the street with an agent and we stuck together. So now we’ll see, but I think with the karate wave, I came at the right time at the right place. It was Bruce Lee, then it was Chuck Norris, then suddenly Jean-Claude Van Damme came in as a white guy, so... I guess it’s due to my destiny more than my acting at the time. I was a bad actor, man, but the heart was there.”
The Expendables 2 opens on 17 August 2012.
For more from Van Damme, Stallone and co, pick up the latest issue of Total Film magazine , which is out tomorrow!
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