The Spaniard is one of the newcomers in the third installment of the action thriller franchise, which stars just about every hardbody you can name: Sylvester Stallone, who shares screenwriting credit; Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Terry Crews, for starters.
Despite a supporting role as Galgo, a trigger-happy sharpshooter who joins the crew of misfit mercenaries to take down an arms dealer ( Mel Gibson), Banderas probably has more dialogue than anybody.
Let’s just say Galgo is chatty.
“I was trying to build this character with the premise that he is hiding something deeply painful and in this compulsive way cannot stop talking. If he stops talking, he will think. If he thinks, he will go down,” said Banderas from the Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel on Wednesday. “But in doing so, he becomes unbelievably annoying for everyone involved.”
Fellow Expendables newcomer, boxer turned actor “Vicious” Victor Ortiz, thought Banderas brought a much-needed shot of adrenaline to the sequel.
“Personally, I think this guy makes the whole thing,” Ortiz says. “Sometimes when you’re watching a movie, the plot just kind of stays there. But just when it gets to that point, Antonio reels you back in and you’re like, Whoa!’ ’’
So how did Banderas keep up the nonstop chatter?
“Espresso shots, right?” joked Ortiz.
“I gave them as much material as I could. I was able to improvise,” said Banderas, 54. “I guarantee if you look at different takes, I never did the same thing twice. It was like cooking. I gave them the ingredients and the editors made the dish. I just saw it for the first time and I was pretty surprised myself because I’m not really that type of person. I was filled with this crazy, manic energy.”
Both men found the best way to keep up with the likes of Stallone and Schwarzenegger when it came to bulking up was to not bulk up at all.
“Everyone was like so big and I’m like normal!” said Ortiz, 27. “But I always say good things come in small packages.”
One day, Ortiz made the mistake of training with his costar, retired mixed martial artist/wrestler Randy Couture.
“That guy is a beast! He lifts a lot of weight. I didn’t complain because it’s Randy Couture. But I told him, ‘Don’t bother calling me tomorrow.’ ”
Lean and trim, Banderas maintained his regular workouts.
“Before shooting, I did exactly what I was doing before: practiced yoga and ran a little, but I never did weights.”
Ortiz is still pinching himself that he got to act alongside such Hollywood bigs, who also include Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer and Jason Statham.
“I look at the poster and it’s like, ‘How did I get up there?’ he said. “Though I’m not intimidated anymore. Now we all mess around and joke and pick on each other.”
So how did Ortiz, who had never been in a movie before, get the part? His hypothesis: Stallone’s wife, Jennifer Flavin, noticed Ortiz during his stint last year on Season 16 of Dancing with the Stars.
Though the (relative) youngster had seen such Stallone classics as the Rocky and Rambo movies, he did not know the megastar also went by the name Sly.
“When [my agent] first told me that I was being considered for Expendables 3, I was like, ‘Ha-ha. Don’t joke. That’s not funny,’ ” recounts Ortiz, who will next be seen in the boxing drama Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal.
Then he got a text message saying that “Sly” wanted to meet with him.
“So I’m on the freeway [in L.A.] and my buddy looks at my email and says, ‘You know who you’re meeting with, right?’ ” and I said, ‘I don’t know; some dude with a weird name, Sly or Fry.’ And my buddy goes, ‘Bro! It’s Sylvester Stallone!’ I had to pull over.”
Now that Banderas and Ortiz are part of the Expendables gang, would they be on board for yet another one?
“Let’s just be honest — the audience decides,” Banderas said. “But if [No. 4] happens, I do have some interesting and explosive ideas in mind for Galgo. ”