According to Twitch, if Hong Kong’s current “It” boy wants it, the role is his. And what role would that be, you ask? Word is, it will be “tailor-made” for Yen, whatever that means.
This wouldn’t be the first time Yen’s tried his hand in Hollywood. He’s played a kung fu villain in “Shanghai Noon”, an sword-swinging immortal in “Highlander: Endgame”, and a vamp with a sword in “Blade 2”. But those were all background roles, not leads, and Yen has played nothing but leads in the last few years thanks to his meteoric rise in Asian cinema. Would/could he really go back to playing second banana to a bunch of Hollywood muscleheads after achieving the pinnacle of stardom? I guess it’ll depend on how much he wants to break back into Hollywood, though there’s no doubt that a role in a sequel like “The Expendables” would certainly expand his career even more beyond Asia.
Besides adding yet another credible cinematic asskicker to the film, Yen would also fit the double bill of catering to Asian audiences. Jet Li was featured prominently in all the promos for the movie’s Asian advertising, and I suspect the filmmakers realized this played a big part in the movie’s $171 foreign box office take. Yen would more than make up for unconfirmed reports that Li has taken a flyer on the sequel.
Simon West will step in to direct the sequel, with Sylvester Stallone deciding to concentrate more on the acting aspect of things. Which is probably for the best. As much as I think Stallone did a good job on the first movie, let’s face it, there were times when you couldn’t tell what the hell was going on in that film.
Whether it becomes Yenfull or Yenless, production on “The Expendables 2” commences this October for a August 17, 2012 release date.