Though he's been acting for a decade - and appeared in such tv fare as Generation Kill, 90210 and 30 Rock - Kellan Lutz probably got his big breakthrough in the big-screen Twilight franchise. He was most recently seen in The Legend of Hercules with Scott Adkins, but he's joining the veteran faces of the action genre in this week's release of The Expendables III. He plays John Smilee, a cock-sure motorbike rider who Barney Ross (Stallone) drafts into his team when he needs to go after Conrad Stonecross (Mel Gibson)...
Some fans will know you from your role in Twilight, so can you explain a little how you ended up in this very different film?
Kellan Lutz: This goes back to when the first Expendables came around and there was a young 'Expendable' in that one, during my Twilight years. We were just talking about this… I had a black-eye from some stunt I’d been doing and Sly liked that and saw I could take a hit. Due to dates and a rewrite of the script, that character wasn’t there. I was kinda bummed, but now this one came around and there’s a whole legion of new Expendables. I got to meet with Avi Lerner (producer) on Hercules. He kept pushing Expendables 3 during out meeting for Hercules (laughs).
I went up to Sly’s house and we talked about the character and his daughters are Twilight fans, so that always helps. From Day One I wanted to be part of this… I’m a huge action junkie, huge fan of Jason, Sly and Arnie. I mean look… you’ve got Blade, you’ve got Zorro…(laughs)
There must have been some interesting moments alongside a pretty iconic cast, what were the most memorable - good or bad?
I’ve only done a few action movies, but I love them. The one moment that stands out is when we’re all in the helicopter. Everyone I grew up watching in one helicopter together! Cracking jokes. Victor Ortiz farting! We had mortars blowing up in our faces. I didn't really get hurt on anything. I had to learn how to use a motorcycle, though. I kinda dropped that a few times over a tank, but that's about it."
This film introduces your character as one of the younger counterpoints to the older cast. How did you approach that kind of character?
To me there’s a duality between Barney Ross (Stallone) and John Smilee. You never really see the young Barney and there’s an essence of who John is and what he becomes, throughout this script and potentially through Expendables 4 and 5 and 6-thru-10… you may see him develop and open up a bit more. My character doesn’t smile, he has a lot of weight on his shoulders from his past. Barney Ross gets in there, one of the few who can get in there… so my character is a bit more of a drama queen, I’d guess. But he’ll open up…