Sylvester Stallone was not available to discuss the sequel to his ultimate action movie mashup, The Expendables 2, due to the tragedy in his family. However, his Expendables team was there to represent him and the action hero world he created from his own experience in the ‘80s. 

Jason Statham was Stallone’s new addition to bring the world of the classic action heroes together with the world of the new. Now Statham considered Sly a friend.

“I spent a lot of time with him already,” Statham said. “We made a movie and then we did a big press tour and we went to many places, so I’ve shared a lot of stories and a lot of time with him.  He’s a good friend. I’m not going to try and spill any secrets because he doesn’t have any. He’s just a regular guy who happens to be a great film maker and a brilliant actor. It’s nice to know someone like that.”

Jean-Claude Van Damme joined Expendables 2 as the villain. Stallone’s big note to him was to pump up those arms for their final fight scene. “I know how to kick today as good as Bloodsport but mass wise I lost weight again for another movie,” Van Damme said. “He said, 'Your arms, your guns, they are too small,' because he saw me in a photo shooting in Thailand. He was huge and he said, 'They're too small. They look like toothpicks.' I said, 'I can go to the gym.' I went to the gym every day and did light, light, light weights because if you don't take the juice you can not go big. So, light weights you can get big naturally. You have to eat and bring lots of blood, eat and blood, eat and blood. So, you have to do lots of reps, long reps for a long, long time. You're doing arms every day. So, I was concentrating on the arms only and he put me with that black T-shirt. So, you don't see the chest. You look like a crab, you know. It was missing that. He wanted me to have those big arms.”

Dolph Lundgren was Stallone’s discovery in Rocky IV to play the Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Lundgren had his own career as an action hero and now he’s back on the Expendables team with Sly. “He’s got that sort of innate instinct where most people wouldn’t go for that,” Lundgren said. “He’ll pull out this ‘Dolph. I’ve got this knife and I like it.’ And he’ll whip something out this big. Who’s gonna think of that? Like this is the Navy SEAL knife, this is the Russian commando knife, which one do you want? But he’ll take it and manufacture something like this! Like he’s thinking in a different league! That’s kind of why he is who he is. That’s why he has a special talent for that.”

The Expendables 2 opens Friday.