Yes, The ExpendaBelles is exactly what you think it is. The Expendables producer Avi Lerner is producing an all-female version of Sly Stallone’s macho-man action franchise, replacing testosterone with estrogen and buff badasses with, well, sexier, female badasses.
While Adi Shankar is attempting to cash in on the same idea, putting together an untitled project with Gina Carano and Katee Sackhoff mentioned to potentially star, it looks like Lerner will beat Shankar to the punch. With The Expendables 3 currently shooting in Bulgaria, Avi decided to talk to the local press about destroying their country yet again with explosions and manliness, but also confirmed his plans for The ExpendaBelles – along with a list of actresses currently in negotiations for roles.
According to Lerner:
“The action movie will be spectacular – and in nothing inferior to the three male movies of the “The Expendables” There will be battles, special and visual effects and stunts – the spectacle will be equivalent to what Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis and Jean Claude van Damme have done … Two excellent screenwriters are already working on the picture. Now we are in search of a female director.”
The two screenwriters referenced are Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, known for films like Legally Blonde, The House Bunny, and The Ugly Truth. Before you get your undies in a bunch, it’s been mentioned that Lutz and Smith are planning to move far away from the previous territory they’ve covered, and could attempt a rip-roaring action flick – but I completely understand reservations you might have. I’d expect The ExpendaBelles to be more silly and light-hearted, maybe showing the struggles of breaking your favorite pair of Manolos in the heat of battle?
While there’s no talk of a director just yet, Lerner said the spinoff “will be made by accomplished women on both sides of the camera,” so he’s currently on the hunt for the perfect female director. I’m not sure, but is anyone else smelling the potential signing of Kathryn Bigelow?
As for the prospective cast Lerner mentioned, he revealed Milla Jovovich, Meryl Streep, and Cameron Diaz are all in talks to be the first members of this fabulous team. Jovovich and Diaz have both proven themselves as solid action candidates, Milla moreso with her zombie-bashing antics in the Resident Evil franchise, but I’d assume Streep would be more of a seasoned veteran turned leader. Think of Meryl as Mickey Rourke’s character – no, not Mickey Rourke wearing a dress. Stop that.
Comparing The ExpendaBelles to The Expendables, I’d say that audiences can expect more of a comedic vibe, with a little less gritty action (hell, just look at the title). I’m finding it hard to imagine Lutz and Smith scripting some balls-to-the-wall, female centric action extravaganza, but maybe the writers will embrace the challenge of staying FAR away from their comfort zone. Milla Jovovich can certainly assert herself as a certifiable badass on the same level as her male counterparts, but it’s harder imagining that same vicious level for Diaz – even though she was an Angel. Looks like we’ll have to wait and see who else gets attached to this project before making any assumptions, because the next few names might dictate just what direction this wild spinoff is taking.
So what do you guys think, is The ExpendaBelles going to be an insane celebration of female empowerment – or a goofy, misguided attempt to cash in on an idea better left on paper?