Well, it's official. We have another Dante's Peak vs. Volcano on our hands.
Last August, a production company called 1984 Private Defense Contractors announced their plans to make an action movie like The Expendables, featuring an ensemble cast of action stars comprised entirely of women. It was a project that many have wanted green lit since Sylvester Stallone's original action hit was released, and interest in the such a project only grew once The Expendables 2 cemented that franchise's reputation as something of a "boy's club."
The project, playfully referred to online as The ExpendaBelles, at least until an official title comes along, has progressed quickly, with Dutch Southern writing the screenplay and Gina Carano (Haywire) and Katee Sackhoff (Riddick 3) already announced as officially cast. Though not the high-profile stars we were hoping for, it seemed a fine start to the casting process, legitimizing the production and hopefully encouraging a few Angelina Jolies, Milla Jovoviches or Kate Beckinsales or Jessica Biel's to join the project.
But now, they have some competition.
Deadline (via Coming Soon) has announced that Millennium Films, the production company behind the original Expendables, is now planning their own, presumably official spinoff of their original franchise, giving the first all-star female action movie a run for its money, and serious competition for the interest of top tier female leads. With name brand recognition and two hit movies already on their hands, it would seem that Millennium has the edge in this fight, although they may raise some critical eyebrows over their proposed title, The ExpendaBelles.
Yes, they took the name we've all been using online. But when we used it, it was just a pun. Actually releasing a major picture under that name could arguably be called a little sexist. They also have a pair of screenwriters with questionable action credentials, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, who previously wrote such hard-hitting action spectacles as Legally Blonde, The House Bunny and She's the Man. That's not to say that they can't write a fine action screenplay, and credit goes to Millennium for giving a female action franchise to actual female writers, but it's not a slam dunk "holy crap this is going to be awesome" announcement.
Time will tell if The ExpendaBelles eats into the production of the first female Expendables production, but we imagine 1984 Private Defense Contractors is taking some solace in the fact that they're months ahead of the competition and already lining up talent.
CraveOnline will be back with more ExpendaBelles news after Marvel Studios finally gets cracking on The Avengettes.