A Few Things You Might Not Know About The ‘Expendables’ Franchise

The Expendables 3‘s bullet-riddled opening weekend is upon us, and action movies may never be the same — at least until The Expendables 4 The Expendables 5 come out. (Yes, there will be an Expendables 5, I’m calling it now.) This version might not be quite as blood soaked as the first two with its PG-13 rating, but we were lucky to get an R for the sequel.

Sylvester Stallone’s first Expendables and its sequel were the most commercially successful movies he had done in years and of course revitalized our favorite action stars of the ’80s and ’90s, but making the movies wasn’t a cakewalk. The process of getting that many high-profile — and not so high-profile — stars to make time in their busy schedules for the same movie wasn’t an easy process, and it was plagued with injuries and scheduling conflicts. In anticipation of the Expendables’ third mission, here are 12 obscure facts about the making of the first two action blowouts.

1. Mickey Rourke took the role as a thank you to Sly. The ’90s were not kind to Mickey Rourke’s career — or his face. He was doing movies like Exit in Red, Another Nine & a Half Weeks and other titles that you’ve never heard of. He started to make a small comeback with parts in The Rainmaker and Buffalo ’66 and the 2000 crime thriller Get Carter, which Sly campaigned get Rourke a role in (and even offered to pay his salary himself).

Rourke was working on Iron Man 2 during most of the Expendables filming, but swung by the Expendables set for 48 hours to shoot his scenes.

2. Sly is a fan of the Chuck Norris joke. Sly loved the Chuck Norris facts of 2007 just as much as anybody, and wanted to find someway to incorporate one of them into the script for Expendables 2. It was Norris’ wife that suggested they use the one about the cobra. (“Chuck Norris was bitten by a cobra, and after five days of excruciating pain… the cobra died.”)

3. It wasn’t Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis’ first time working together. It was the first film the three action heroes had worked on together, but not their first time doing business as a unit. All three were financial backers in the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain in the ’90s.