By Luiza Moscoso, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Sylvester Stallone, legendary star of Rocky and Rambo franchises, is in Brazil shooting his new action film, “The Expendables”, set to premiere in world theaters in 2010.
The feature tells the story of an elite military squad secretly put together by the US and other nations to kill a South American dictator who has spread devastation for over 20 years.
Stallone, 62, is the writer, director and lead actor of “The Expendables”. The cast also includes Jason Statham (“Death Race”), Jet Li (“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”), Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”), Brittany Murphy (“Sin City”) and the Brazilian actress Gisele Itié, best known for her work on local soap operas like “O Profeta” (2007) and “Pé na Jaca” (2006). The governor of California and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to make a special appearance on the film. Not all the cast will be involved in the Brazilian shootings though.
In Rio since March 31st, Stallone visited all the locations selected by his team and co-producers O2 Films, local production company owned by Fernando Meirelles, director of “City of God”. Locations include the coastline city of Mangaratiba, Niterói, Baía de Guanabara, Parque Lage and the favela Tavares Bastos. The Carioca production of “The Expendables” started on April 2nd with second unit shootings.
On April 6th, a crowd gathered at a Mangaratiba pier trying to take a sneak peak at the film’s first day of shooting in Brazil with the main cast. Five cameras rolled simultaneously to catch the action, which included an hydro plane Albatroz and big explosions on the pier.
Though most of the outdoor scenes will be shot in Brazil, the storyline won’t identify the country where the action takes place. “We needed a place with a latin look and with a sophisticated film market, and Brazil has that”, explained Stallone during a press conference in a Copacabana hotel where the cast is staying.
Gisele Itié is the only Brazilian among the cast. The actress beat famous Brazilian TV stars like Juliana Paes and Cleo Pires after meeting with Stallone himself. However, the actor/director demanded that Itié lost ten pounds to better suit the character, a woman called Sandra who fights for human rights in the South American country and joins the military group. According to him, Sandra is “the heart of the story” and Itié “is wonderful, perfect for the part”.
The Brazilian actress returned the compliment: “Stallone is an amazing person. He looks tough but he isn’t, he’s very sensitive”.
Production is scheduled to wrap in Rio early in May, when cast and crew go back to the US to shoot scenes in studio.