After Sylvester Stallone backed out of the fourth and final Expendables sequel back in March, the actor had a big hole in his schedule, which has now been fillled. The actor will be teaming up with international action icon Jackie Chan on a new action-thriller entitled Ex-Baghdad, which is said to be one of the biggest movies ever to come out of China. After Expendables 4 fell apart, Sylvester Stallone looked to this project to take on next, although it hasn't been confirmed when filming will begin.
Deadline reports that Scott Waugh (Need for Speed) has been set to direct, from a script by Arash Amel (Grace of Monaco). The story follows a Chinese private security contractor (Jackie Chan), who is assigned to extract the Chinese workers of an oil refinery in Mosul, Iraq. When the contractor learns that the attackers plan on stealing a fortune's worth of oil, he teams up with a former Marine (Sylvester Stallone) to stop them.
Jackie Chan has often been rumored for the Expendables franchise, and it was thought that he might appear in the final sequel. Ex-Baghdad is interesting in that it's very similar to roles Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan took on in their first big screen outing together. They first united for what is considered one of the biggest bombs ever produced, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. In that movie, they played parodies of themselves as a pair of aging action icons who decided to team up for a big budget action movie that proves to be a complete disaster. In this film-within-a-film, they are also saddled with a very smart-mouthed Whoopi Goldberg. The real movie was so bad that director Arthur Hiller replaced his name with that of Alan Smithee.
Jackie Chan will produce through his SR Media company, alongside Qi Jianhong, Talent International's Esmond Ren and Hans Canosa. SR Media and Talent International will also provide financing for this action-thriller. It hasn't been confirmed if production will actually take place in China, but it seems likely, and it could also become a U.S./China co-production as well, but that has yet to be confirmed. The film doesn't have a US studio attached at this time, but with two of the biggest action stars in the world now attached, it may not be long before an American distributor has been lined up.
Before Sylvester Stallone left Expendables 4, it was said to be the final sequel in this action franchise. Now that Sylvester Stallone has backed away, the project's future remains in doubt, with Arnold Schwarzengger even stating that he won't come back unless Stallone returns to the sequel. Still, even without Expendables 4, Sylvester Stallone has been staying plenty busy. The actor just recently wrapped production on Escape Plan 2, with a third Escape Plan movie already being greenlit for the actor and director Steven C. Miller. He can currently be seen on the big screen as Stakar Ogrod in the box office hit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Jackie Chan most recently starred in Skiptrace, an action-comedy where he starred alongside Johnny Knoxville. He also provided the voice of Monkey in the animated comedy sequel Kung Fu Panda 3, which hit theaters last year, along with appearing in Railroad Tigers and Gong fu yu jia. He is also attached to a number of sequels, including Shanghai Dawn, a follow-up to Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights, starring alongside Owen Wilson, and the long-awaited Rush Hour 4 with Chris Tucker, but that project has been in development for several years. He also lends his voice to a pair of animated comedies, voicing Mr. Feng in The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature and Sensei Wu in Ninjago. Hopefully we'll learn more about Ex-Baghdad very soon.