IAR INTERVIEW: Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer Talk 'The Expendables 3'

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 22:59 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR INTERVIEW: Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer Talk 'The Expendables 3'

Academy Award-winner Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, and Kelsey Grammer are now Expendables! The three iconic actors have joined Sylvester Stallone’s crew of action stars in The Expendables 3, which is the latest installment in the popular action franchise and opens in theaters on August 15th. 

Gibson has appeared in such popular movies as the Mad Max trilogy, the Lethal Weapon series, Maverick, Conspiracy Theory, Payback, The Patriot, We Were Soldiers, Signs, Edge of Darkness, and Machete Kills. He won two Oscars for producing and directing Braveheart, as well as writing and directing The Passion of the Christ, which is the highest grossing non-English-language film of all time. Snipes made his first onscreen appearance in Wildcats, and went on to appear in a string of successful films including Major League, New Jack City, Jungle Fever, White Man Can’t Jump, Passenger 57, Rising Sun, Demolition Man, The Fan, U.S. Marshalls, and the Blade trilogy. Grammer is probably best known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Dr. Frasier Crane on both Cheers and Frasier, but he also appears in two of the most successful films of the summer - X-Men: Days of Future Past (reprising his role as Dr. Henry McCoy/Beast from X-Men: The Last Stand), and Transformers: Age of Extinction

In The Expendables 3, Barney Ross (Stallone) augments his team with new blood to take down Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates. Snipes plays Doctor Death, a former medic and one of the original Expendables, while Grammer portrays Bonaparte, a retired mercenary that helps Ross recruit his new team. In addition to Gibson, Snipes, and Grammer, new additions to the franchise include Antonio Banderas (Haywire), and Harrison Ford (Paranoia), as well as younger actors Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules), and Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), professional boxer Victor Ortiz, and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. Reprising their roles from the previous films are Stallone, Jason Statham (Homefront), Jet Li (Unleashed), Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning), Randy Couture (Red Belt), Terry Crews (The Single Moms Club), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Sabotage). The movie was directed by Patrick Hughes (Red Hill), and written by Stallone, who penned the previous films.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Los Angeles press conference for The Expendables 3 and hearing what Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, and Kelsey Grammer had to say about their new film. Gibson discussed his first reaction to the script, how he helped improve it, and when he will direct again, while Snipes talked about why he chose this film for his cinematic comeback, and Grammer discussed why he’s always wanted to work with Sylvester Stallone.

Gibson began by talking about his first reaction after reading The Expendables 3 screenplay. “When I first read the script I thought it was very involved. There were a lot of characters,” he explained. “I didn't know how they were going to jam it all in, but somehow they managed to do it. Everybody got a fair shake and there are a lot of people in it, so hats off to Sly for enabling that to happen. When I read it, I didn't read it thinking I was the bad guy,” he continued. “In fact, I didn't know I was the bad guy until I saw it. I thought Dolph Lundgren was the bad guy,” Gibson joked. “It's a surprise to me. I'm kind of shocked and a little offended. I wanted to be the love interest, but there was no one to love, really.”

The Oscar-winnerr has a fantastic monologue in the film that he helped write, and the actor explained how that process worked. “Well, I kind of worked on the script a little bit and then came in and hammered out. I handed out the pages to Sly and Patrick (Hughes). They looked at it and went, yeah, it's cool. It was just a theme of somebody who was subcontracted by his government and then thrown under the bus, but is a real person.”

Gibson, who has not directed a movie since ‘2006s Apocalypto, was asked if he has any plans to get behind the camera again soon. “Oh yeah. I think the most fun you can have standing up is directing a film,” he explained. “It's like my primary want. That's my gift, direction. I'm going to pursue that. I've got a few irons in the fire. It doesn't pay to talk too much about it because of industrial sabotage. The minute you say anything somebody swipes the idea. But I'd direct TV. TV is getting amazing. I definitely have my sight set on that and will do. Yes.”

Since the first film, The Expendables model has always been to bring together the biggest action stars of all time with the action stars of today. However, many fans were skeptical when the actor who played TV’s Frasier Crane was announced to join the franchise and Grammer addressed this issue. “I know that it spurs a kind of surprise that Kelsey Grammer would be on this ride, but I’m tougher than a lot of people think,” he assured the audience. “If you know anything about my personal life you’ll realize that. I think it was an interesting part of the story to explore. It was a presumptive joy to do that. I had a great time, and we fleshed out Bonaparte to a point where I hope he comes back and maybe he can kick some ass next time, because I’m ready to. I’m working out at the gym, and I’m punching people in the streets,” he joked.

Grammer also talked about why he was so excited to appear in The Expendables 3 and have a chance to work with Sylvester Stallone. “I’ve always wanted to work with Sly. I never knew if it would happen. I’d think; I wish I could find a way to work with this person.  We have a good mutual friend, director John Herzfeld (2 Days in the Valley). I kind of went after this in a way,” he explained. “I called John and said, can you get in touch with Sly and tell him that I’d like to be in the next Expendables. Something worked out and my agent became a bit of a pest. I had to get away from Transformers 4 for a week so I could fly to Bulgaria for Expendables 3, but Michael Bay was great about that. I flew in and they told me that they had organized four days for my character, Bonaparte. I had the best time. It was a revelation to me just how smart and improvisatorial Sly is, as well as generous with his time, and generous with his acting. Except when he changes the camera angle a little bit to make me look shorter,” Grammer laughed. 

“I just had the best time with Sly,” the actor continued. “What happened was that I discovered this real sense of fondness for the man and I figured that Bonaparte had the same relation to Sly’s character. They had a history, a kindness, and a love for one another that had to be reflected in those scenes. I just had the best time ever, and Wesley and I have known each other for years off and on but still haven’t had a chance to work together. I think he’s fantastic. I was thrilled to be in this film with all these extraordinary actors, but mostly I was so happy to finally work with Sly and find out how fantastic he really is. I’ve been impressed ever since, and I hope we do something else together soon.”

The Expendables 3 marks Snipes first major film appearance since being released from a two and a half year prison sentence for tax evasion. The actor was asked why he felt this film, and his role as Doctor Death, was the right project and character for him to play in his return to the big screen. “Well it was a great opportunity to work with some of the actors I’ve always admired,” Snipes explained. “It was great to get up close to them and see what they are like off screen versus what you see them like on screen in the characters that they portray. Also I liked the chance to act a little crazy. My character is a medic but he’s been away for about 8 years. He was quite lonely. He had to spend a lot of time talking to himself and telling his own storylines to himself. So he comes out crazy.”

Finally, both Snipes and Gibson were asked which of their past film characters they think would make fun additions to the Expendables team. “Blade,” Snipes replied confidently. “The obvious one is the crazy cop from the Lethal Weapon series,” Gibson answered. “But I don’t know, maybe that whack job from Conspiracy Theory.”

The Expendables 3 opens in theaters on August 15th.

To read our interview with Sylvester Stallone about The Expendables 3, please click here

To read our exclusive interview with Terry Crews about The Expendables 3, please click here

To watch our exclusive video interview with Kellan Lutz about The Expendables 3, please click here

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