The megawatt cast of Expendables 3 made a spectacular debut at Cannes on Sunday, rolling down the famous Croisette in tanks as a throng of onlookers and media jostled for a better view of its cargo: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, and Jason Statham. And that was just part one of the entourage.
Banderas was hardly exaggerating in the subsequent press conference when he called it the "hall of fame" of action heroes.
"The chance to work with all these guys is very very rare," said Sylvester Stallone, the film's original star and creator, sitting between Arnold and Mel. (Also read:
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Since the first Expendables in 2010, the cast has ballooned to seemingly include almost every star that's flexed a muscle on film. The third edition includes younger stars such as Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey (the only woman in the cast), as well as Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer.
Harrison Ford called joining the cast "a lot of fun," and that was clear from the camaraderie at the press conference (which needed two rows of seats to fit everyone).
There were plenty of compliments: Arnold called Sylvester one of his "great inspirations, while Sylvester gushed about the former California governor's great mind; Banderas said he was honored, as a Spaniard, to be included.
The cast also cracked jokes at the expense of each other, and themselves: Age was a natural target, given the advanced age of most of its top-billed stars.
"I think Lincoln was in the White House when we first met," quipped Sly, 67, about Harrison, 71. (Also read:
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Later, when asked when the stars when know when it was time to retire, Sylvester said, "When you're ass falls off, it's time to retire," before adding: "We're children with arthritis! We're young forever!"
Though much of the cast are senior citizens, Sylvester, is hoping to reach a younger generation with the next film with a PG-13 rating instead of the R-rating of the others to expand its reach.
Sylvester Stallone also said the franchise would return to its action roots; the second one delved "too far" into the comic realm, he said.
"I realized we should get back into dramatic. When the action starts, I don't like to do joke action," Sylvester said. "I feel like we finally got it right on the third one -- kind of like a marriage."