Dolph Lundgren is one of the veteran action stars who returns for The Expendables 2 arriving in theaters on August 17, 2012. Lundgren once again joined Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and the rest of the veteran genre actors to deliver to audiences more thrilling over-the-top action scenes.
However, Lundgren's 'Gunnar' in The Expendables 2 is more fleshed-out than in the original film. Moviegoers are treated to a little more of Gunnar's personality and get to know his backstory more this second time around. "You know, any time I’m gonna be on camera, any changes - because Sly improvises, locations change, the script got re-written about 27 times during production - you try to think about the guy. What can you do that particular instant to make it interesting and entertaining? You talk to the director and Stallone perhaps, and you kind of come up with some ideas and see if it works," explained Lundgren at the press day for the Lionsgate Films release. "But my thing with Gunnar is that because he’s such a loser – he’s got problems – that makes him easy to play. He drinks too much, he can’t deal with women, he’s snores, he sleeps through stuff, he’s not focused, he has a lot of problems. I think that makes him enjoyable to mess around with."
That said, this time there's the added idea that Gunnar's actually a smart guy. "Yeah. Stallone did that. It took me 25 years to graduate from the Russian Siberian Express with the [mimicking a Russian accent], 'I must break you!,' with like zero charm with little bit of interest," said Lundgren. They also used Lundgren's own educational background. "[Sly] got that from me, and it was fun. It was fun to do. I suppose it finally paid off after 25 years."
But did the changes make the Gunnar from The Expendables 2 feel like Gunnar 2.0? "There was other aspects of the character that we couldn’t quite do for the first because it was just so hard logistically to get everybody in a scene together. Some other scenes with Gunnar, for instance, the first time I meet the girl, we all met her in the original script. She shows up and we’d all been drinking – especially Gunnar now. He’s really drunk. Not a happy drunk and he ends up having an argument with this girl he just met. He’s coming on to her a little too hard and they wind up having a fight. So he gets kind of kicked in the head by this Chinese chick and that was funny. But that got cut out. There is some other aspects of him, but I thought these are two separate movies," offered Lundgren.
"The first film was what it was – I was supposed to die in the first movie. In the original script I wasn’t supposed to make it but Stallone – or somebody – decided that Gunnar, 'Yeah, let’s keep him alive. He seems like an interesting guy.' I don’t know who, but it was probably Sly."
Staying in Fighting Shape:
Lundgren says that if the actors weren't in shape by the time they got to the set, it was too late to do anything about it at that point. Fortunately, everyone showed up in full-on action mode.
Asked about his own fitness routine, Lundgren explained what it is he now does to keep fit. "I like to break it up and I like to cross train a lot. I like to do weights, do cardio, and swim. I like to do martial arts. I try to break those up so it makes it more fun. I hate doing the same workout two days in a row. I was never one who wanted to do the same thing all the time. So, I try to do that five or six times a week when I can. Sometimes I travel too much and you just try to squeeze in whatever you can."
"In my experience, anything is better than nothing. So even if you can only do 10 push-ups, it’s better than zero. Somehow, the human body will react. On day one, you can do five push-ups. On the next day, you’re gonna want to do seven or 10 and the next day 20. It’s just how the human body is built. Even if I’m dead tired, I’ll do a little bit of training every day."