Something of a catfight special this week – what with Bill Giles' book on the infighting weathermen – with further handbaggery emanating from the production office of Expendables 3.
In case you're unfamiliar with this Sylvester Stallone franchise, it functions as a sort of action stars' benevolent home. Each iteration thus far has seen the Rocky star assemble a dream team of 80s and early-90s action stars, with results sadly less than the sum of their parts. Still, most of the big names have done it, including Schwarzenegger, Willis, Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Chuck Norris, as well as 21st century cinema's Jason Statham, who probably fancies himself spiritual heir of those guys. But isn't.
As far as Expendables 3 goes, there's a confirmed part for recovering tax felon Wesley Snipes, and even Mel Gibson is rumoured to be lined up – along with the big kahuna himself, my beloved Steven Seagal. Clearly, this is a mistake. As both a formally recognised reincarnated Buddhist lama, and Russia's first-choice pick as the face of its arms industry – among many other things – Steven should absolutely not be involved in ensemble work.
But we haven't got time to get bogged down in that one today, because the chat is all about Bruce Willis, who has parted company with the production and been instantly replaced by Harrison Ford. The news was announced by Sly himself, in a tweet:
And followed by another missive:
But what on earth could have caused this froideur between the former maitre d's of Planet Hollywood? According to the Hollywood Reporter, Willis had been offered $3m for four days' shooting, but was demanding $4m – at which point Sly unleashed a PR jihad on his ass. Quite rightly: the only person on that kind of dough is Stallone's beard colourist, who has bizarrely now been twice overlooked for a technical Oscar.
Meanwhile, sources close to the production whisper loudly: "I think [Bruce] was pretty surprised he was replaced in 72 hours by Harrison Ford – a better actor, a much nicer person and a more interesting direction for the film." Gosh. Thus Mr Willis is cordially reminded that he was only required to PLAY a mercenary, not act like one.
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