As a member of a star-packed cast of action heavyweights in “The Expendables 2,” the actor is quick to compare his latest project to today’s crop of action films, saying that he and co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are straight out of the era where action heroes were naturally made.
“When you look at the superhero movies, there’s nobody that looks like we do. Period,” said Crews, who was on hand at a recent press conference for the film with his “Expendables” castmate Randy Couture. “You look at Sly’s forearms. Those are earned. That’s not something that you can paste on and put in a suit or whatever. The way we look, I got my body from hitting guys at 20 miles an hour on a football field. There’s only way to get it.
“This man [Couture] has beat people down in an octagon, in a cage and in wrestling for years. He’s a legend in what he does…Arnold was the biggest superstar bodybuilder in the world. No one looked like him until he created it,” Crews continued. “I love comic books and I love the whole thing, but…they put the muscles on and you rip ’em off. And it’s kinda like ‘uhhh.’ There’s a place for that, but I think there’s a place for us.”
In addition to Crews, Couture, Stallone and Schwarzenegger, “The Expendables 2” features Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Jason Statham as well as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Yu Nan, Liam Hemsworth and Chuck Norris.
For Van Damme, the experience was a win-win as he relished his role turn as the film’s main bad guy, Jean Vilain, and rediscovered his love of making movies. While the chance to work with Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis was a dream come true, it also became a double-edged sword as the entertainer fully tapped in to his bad side to make his character a believable nemesis.
“As much as I love them, I came on the set and I stayed away from them to have that coldness,” recalled Van Damme. “The only way to be that way, since I like them already, I wanted to create a distance, a coldness between me and them…you’re gonna to think I don’t like you if I do my job as Vilain, but I was looking at them like they were nothing to me.”
Like Crews, Couture enjoyed being able to work on a film that incorporated the spirit of a classic action film.
“That’s what I dig about it…everything has kind of got that retro flavor now and this movie is exactly that. It captures that essence and I think that’s one of the things I like about it, that I think it makes it look cool and it’s fun to be a part of,” he shared. “To get to actually really grab a hold of stuntmen and have to know how to throw them around and do the things that we do in a real stunt capacity is what makes it fun.”
Loading up for another “Expendables” isn’t the only thing fans can look for from Crews. The former NFL star is set to return to the small screen on the new NBC reality show, “Stars Earn Stripes.” Although it’s different from “Expendables,” Crews saw similarities between the two opposites while his respect for America’s servicemen and women increased.
“The big thing was, more so than anything, on the TV show, they teamed us up with actual Special Ops and it made me really realize how true the “Expendables” action is to real life whereas in movies, we have the superheroes and you, you know, you jump and you fly and you got a super shield and you got all this other stuff,” Crews stated. “One reason I did the show was to really bring light to these heroes, these real, real heroes that are doing this stuff so that we can sleep good,” he added. “I’m an actor. That’s the whole thing. When they do my thing and they yell ‘cut,’ I kind of disappear and go to my next scene. But doing that show, we jumped out of helicopters. We fired live ammo. We did all that stuff and it gave me a total new respect for how serious this stuff is… the level of just professionalism you need and calmness to actually aim a gun and do everything correctly. You have to be a pro.”
“The Expendables 2” will invade theaters on Friday (Aug. 17).