Lionsgate and Millennium Media are bringing back their gun-toting, testosterone-slathered action franchise The Expendables for another go-round.
Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Sylvester Stallone, who have appeared in the previous three installments, are set to reprise their roles for the fourth.
Joining the quartet in the feature to be directed by stuntman-turned-helmer Scott Waugh (Need for Speed) are Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox and Tony Jaa, with production scheduled to begin October.
Spenser Cohen wrote the script, with revisions by Max Adams and John Joseph Connolly. Details are being kept in the lockbox, but the plot will once again focus on a group of veteran mercenaries. And while the initial movies from in the early 2010s had Stallone as the focal point, sources say in this outing Statham will be the one with the biggest gun. Fox is the female lead.
Statham is also producing along with Kevin King Templeton as well as Millennium’s Les Weldon, Yariv Lerner, Jeffrey Greenstein and Jonathan Yunger.
“It’s so much fun to bring these stars together for a no-holds-barred action film,” said Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions for the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement. “The new film will raise the stakes and be the biggest, most badass adventure yet.”
“Popcorn entertainment is guaranteed,” said Millennium president Jeffrey Greenstein, noting that the new additions to the roll call were meant to “keep it fresh and fun.”
Stallone directed the first movie and wrote the script with David Callaham (now one of the big action scribes in the comic book realm), focusing on characters with names such as Lee Christmas (Statham), Gunner Jensen (Lundgren) and Toll Road (Couture). The initial movie, released in 2010, gathered up the biggest names in action movies from the 1980s — Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger –—and paired them with wrestling stars, international martial arts stars and newer action stars. It was a formula that worked, with the three movies (the others hit theaters in 2012 and 2014) generating more than $829 million worldwide. A sequel had been in the works since the mid-2010s, but hard targets proved to be elusive, with changing writers and directors.
Executive producing for Millennium are Avi Lerner, Boaz Davidson and Trevor Short with Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman on behalf of Campbell Grobman Films. Co-producing is Abby Mills. Eda Kowan and Jonah Leach are overseeing for Lionsgate.
Statham has appeared in all three Expendables outings and is also a player in the Fast and Furious franchise. He recently starred in action-thriller Wrath of Man and is due to reteam with director Guy Ritchie for an untitled thriller. He is repped by Patrick Knapp of GGSSC.
Stallone, repped by CAA, can currently be heard as the voice of scene-stealing DC character King Shark in The Suicide Squad and next has superhero thriller Samaritan for MGM.
Lundgren is shooting Aquaman 2, reprising his role as Atlantis’ King Nereus, and will be heard in the upcoming Minions: The Rise of Gru. He is repped by Gersh, Wonder Street and Patrick Knapp of GGSSC.
Couture, also repped by Gersh as well as Xtreme Couture Management, has several action flicks in post, including one called Blowback.
As for the newcomers, Jackson is one of the big names in the roster of Lionsgate division Starz, where he and his G-Unit Film & Television are one of the executive producers of the network’s top show, Power, and its many spinoffs. The rapper turned TV mogul also has hit For Life on ABC and is developing a feature horror slate with Eli Roth. Jackson is repped by APA and attorneys Eric Feig and Stephen Savva.
Fox, a recognizable worldwide figure whose films have grossed more than $1 billion, recently starred in thriller Till Death, which proved to be a hit on iTunes, and next stars in Netflix thriller Night Teeth as well as indie Big Gold Brick opposite Andy Garcia and Oscar Isaac. She is repped by ICM Partners and Jackoway Austen.
International martial arts master Jaa recently starred with Milla Jovovich in Monster Hunter as well as the Chinese blockbuster Detective Chinatown 3. He is repped by Gersh, manager Michael Selby, Wonder Street and Brecheen Feldman.