As the Expendables franchise dodders with stubborn muscularity towards its third instalment, the casting options seem to be dwindling. By our back-of-an-envelope calculations, the only remaining '80s action stars still mobile and capable of wielding weaponry are Michael Biehn, Mel Gibson and Jet from Gladiators. Well, Showbiz 411 is reporting that one of them has got the call on the Stallonephone. It's not Jet.
It's Gibson who's said to be in talks to play The Expendables 3's big bad. If this comes together it'll represent a possible first step on the long road to public rehabilitation for Gibson, adding Martin Riggs to a Planet Hollywood-esque cast roster that already boasts John Rambo, Ivan Drago, John McClane and John Matrix (there were a lot of Johns about in the '80s). Also on board are Nicholas Cage, Steven Seagal, Milla Jovovich and possibly Wesley Snipes and Jackie Chan.
Gibson, long seen as something of a pariah in Hollywood after a series of PR catastrophes, would be the man standing between Stallone's Barney Ross's soldiers of fortune and the cause of general righteousness and hand-grenade tossing. Australian director Patrick Hughes is directing with the whole shebang scheduled for US release on August 15, 2014.