Producer Avi Lerner, the man behind more than 200 movies since 1984 including the action-star-reuniting Expendables series, announced to Bulgarian press that he is planning an all-female led version of The Expendables called (hopefully tentatively) The ExpendaBelles – and he is reportedly in talks with Meryl Streep to join the cast that may also include Cameron Diaz and Milla Jovovich.
While I have no doubt that Streep can pull off the role of a bazooka-toting mercenary (I’m assuming), would the three-time Oscar winner sign on for a movie written by the team responsible for Legally Blonde, The House Bunny and The Ugly Truth?
Lerner is also eying a female director to lead the project, but if his quest is unfruitful, I think Robert Rodriguez has had a great track record in directing women who kick major ass – Planet Terror, Machete, Spy Kids, some of Sin City.
Here is my ExpendaBelles dream team – budgets and scheduling notwithstanding. (Realistically, I see Jovovich, Rose McGowan and Kate Beckinsale in roles.)
Kathryn Bigelow: The Oscar-winning director of The Hurt Locker is no stranger to serious and more campy action flicks (Point Break, Near Dark) and has already directed smart, strong, gun-wielding women (Jamie Lee Curtis in Blue Steel, Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty). Bigelow would lend boatloads of credibility to the project.
Lynne Ramsay: She often directs movies for which she writes the screenplays, so she can probably fix the mess writers Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith will come up with. Ramsay directed Tilda Swinton to a Golden Globe nomination for We Need to Talk About Kevin.
LEADS (the veterans)
Meryl Streep: No explanation required.
Helen Mirren: She has a funny bone and really held her own in Red and Red 2. I see her character and Streep’s as friendly adversaries, competing to see who kills the most bad guys (like Legolas and Gimli did in The Lord of the Rings).
Jane Fonda: She gives the women their missions; Fonda’s character would be a Charlie Townsend that we actually see. Her Newsroom network exec Leona Lansing is ruthless and fiery.
Sigourney Weaver: Her credits include Alien, Avatar, Ghostbusters and The Cabin in the Woods.
Geena Davis: The Long Kiss Goodnight and Thelma & Louise are all I need to convince me; she was also the President of the United States in the TV series Commander in Chief, for which she won a Golden Globe.
Pam Grier and Linda Hamilton: Really, this movie shouldn’t even be made if they can’t score Grier (Coffy, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown) and Hamilton (Sarah Connor herself, Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day). Grier and Hamilton are rumoured to be a part of an untitled Adi Shankar project, due out in 2015 (via IMDb).
Badasses in their own rights, but not legends yet.
Rosario Dawson: Has done action and has dabbled in comedy, but has never really combined the two. Her appearance on Saturday Night Live and her work in Sin City and Death Proof impressed me.
Salma Hayek: Has appeared in several Robert Rodriguez films, including From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Hayek was also in a movie called Bandidas, a sort of less-good Thelma & Louise in which she and Penelope Cruz robbed banks.
Uma Thurman: The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo in the Kill Bill movies.
Natalie Portman: It’s been almost 20 years since young Portman appeared in Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional. Her credits haven’t been actionless (V for Vendetta, the Star Wars prequels), but her roles have been.
Lucy Liu: An actor with a surprising amount of action films under her belt – Kill Bill, Charlie’s Angels, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. They’re not necessarily good action films, but that hasn’t prevented any men in the Expendables series to be a part of it.
Anne Parillaud: La Femme Nikita herself.
They’re the future of the organization – and the genre.
Jennifer Lawrence: She’s landed roles in two action franchises (Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games and Raven/Mystique in the new X-Men films); Everyone loves her.
Alexa Vega: She’s Carmen Cortez in Spy Kids – she’s already received all the training she’ll need; Vega was most recently seen in Machete Kills.
Jessica Lange: She has been the highlight of American Horror Story throughout the show’s three very different and very uneven chapters. She’s the kind of mean you wish you could pull off in everyday life – the villain you would root for.
Tilda Swinton: Narnia’s White Witch has the potential to do some real damage if she were given, say, drones or WMDs?
Sharon Stone: It just makes sense.
Who would you like to see in the movie? Comment or Tweet me your picks!