Talk a little bit about who you get to play in the movie. You’re part of a “younger” Expendables.
LUTZ: My character, John Smilee—we went back and forth with creating a bunch of backstory with our characters because introducing so many of us, it’s hard to capture who they are and what their essence is within a couple pages of dialogue and scene coverage. Going back and forth, it was really imperative to see where John Smilee and all the characters start from. So they have kind of this up and down roller coaster development of the character throughout the script and with the other characters, and with the older guys. You see them budding heads just as a young guy will come in the older guy don’t like it. The younger guys get a bit cocky and then you see towards the end of the movie—no one really likes each other at the beginning and they’re forced to. Then at the very end everyone’s saving everyone else’s ass. Everyone shows that respect. The young guy showing respect for the older guy, the older guy showing respect for these new cats.
My character doesn’t smile much, I really wanted to make sure he stayed kind of true to his last name—the Smilee. Where you would think, this character has come from the shit. He was overseas fighting for his country, some shit went down, he was like, “What’s the point of working for the government, working for anyone.” He probably was probably the head of some recon division team and got his team blown up. So really he has all this guilt on him, throughout the movie I never wanted to smile. It was kind of like our hook where they call me “Smilee” and nothing could get me to smile.
Toward the end you see him kind of come out of his shell because Sly’s character, Barney, sees a lot of younger Barney within Smilee. He’s able to break through Smilee’s walls and really gets Smilee to move forward with his life and not just search after pain and pain just to feel something but to actually do something good or make amends. He has all this talent that’s just going to waste because he’s so depressed and so hurt on the inside. It’s just nice to have that father figure who can speak his recon language or rebellious language as Barney does. You see a great transition with my character and Barney. Smilee is an essence of Barney’s character back in the day, so Smilee is kind of the leader of these young Expendables and he really just keeps them in mind and tries to keep all the guys in line and be that mediator between the two as Barney would be.
Talk about off set hitting the gym. Did you guys all go together at any point? Is there like a competition between who can lift more?
LUTZ: No, there was never really competition on set. I’m a tall guy, but Terry Crews is a monster of a tall guy. He was doing his TV show, so when the young guns got to set, Terry had already shot out all his scenes. I really would’ve loved to have worked with him but hopefully there’s a next one, that’d be great. For me, working out with all the guys, we would work out on set. Sly has all these little gimmicky, really badass workout devices, like these long bars that are 8 pound bars, about 3 feet in length that he would use for his forearms. He would always had it on set and everyone loved it. So, he had the prop department build these forearm bars. Sly is awesome because he’s like, “Kellan, all you gotta worry about is your silhouette, how you look, how your silhouette looks. If you can get your traps big, your chest big, your back big, then you’ll look big.” He had all these cheats for looking big and he looks massive.
For us, working out together, we had Victor Ortiz, we had Ronda Rousey, who are professional fighters. We had Randy Couture and Jason Statham, everyone just wanted to workout with everyone. There was no competition. Ronda would invite us for running up the mountain because she was in training. Victor would go to the boxing gym, Randy would have us come to the gym and run with like 40 pound weights, like a weighted vest on. Jason would be doing his weights at the gym as well and we’d all spot each other. There was no competition at all, it was actually like the best frat party I could think of. I was never in a frat and having these guys who are just fun and funny and their own characters on and off screen but they’re all boys at the end of the day. We would all go out or we’d all go to dinner, everyone came along.
Read the full interview here