Charisma Carpenter is adored by audiences for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Veronica Mars. Carpenter gets to flex her movie muscles alongside an action movie all-star team from the last several decades in The Expendables.
Charisma Carpenter appreciated the opportunity that The Expendables mastermind Sylvester Stallone gave her resulting in Carpenter’s first big budget film experience and she talks to SheKnows exclusively about wanting to make Sly proud. The mother of seven-year-old Donovan also shares insight into her time bonding with the only actor in The Expendables with whom she shared screen time: The action hero with a heart, Jason Statham.
Charisma Carpenter exclusive!
SheKnows: How did you get involved in The Expendables?
Charisma Carpenter: A good friend of mine recommended me to Sly. She worked on Rambo and was having trouble casting the part. Sly and I met at Lionsgate. I think he liked me enough, but he said, “You still have to audition.” [Laughs] I auditioned and got the part!
SheKnows: You’ve met and come across some big names over your career. What were your thoughts before you met Sly versus the actual experience of spending time with Mr Stallone?
Charisma Carpenter: He is certainly an icon. He’s done a movie or two in his lifetime [laughs]. I don’t know what my expectation was, but I certainly — I don’t know why — but I didn’t expect him to be so creative and so artistic. At his office he has all these amazing paintings and sculptures, and he writes and he’s a speed reader. I gave him a book called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man — the concept of The Expendables reminded me of that book. I had another meeting with him the next day and asked him about the book and he said he loved it. He finished it in one night! He’s a speed reader. There are so many anecdotes that surprised me.
Charisma jams with Jason
SheKnows: You spend much of the film with Jason Statham, how did you find him?
Charisma Carpenter: The thing is, I was on set when I wasn’t working, just sort of to be there and see what they were shooting. I was really amazed how there were so many of these huge stars and absolutely no drama. There was no ego or attitude. That could be attributed to Sly because he was definitely the alpha dog on the set. Because he has such a strong work ethic he inspires everyone to do their best. So, everyone would hit harder, take hits harder.
SheKnows: You must have really wanted to please someone like that.
Charisma Carpenter: Yeah, Sly gives you a feeling that you want to make him happy, you want to please him. This is my first major motion picture ever. It meant a whole lot to me to do my best and make Sly glad he gave me the chance. I think that’s why there was no drama. Everybody got down to business.
The Expendables: A woman’s perspective
SheKnows: You were one of the only females on that set. What was that like and did you feel overcome with testosterone?
Charisma Carpenter: It was interesting to be on the set with Jason and Sly. Jason has done big budget movies, he’s well established. He’s done work, but much of his work wasn’t necessarily love and emotion and all kick ass. I think the goal for our scenes was to see this character of Jason’s really well-rounded out. Not only is he a tough guy and dangerous, but he’s also got a heart. That was why it worked.
SheKnows: Speaking of Jason, we spoke to Amy Smart and Bai Ling who starred with him in the Crank movies and they thought he was such a great, giving actor. You really touched on some of those things, too. What was it like acting opposite Jason Statham?
Charisma Carpenter: I loved it! I really enjoyed it. I just wish there was more [laughs]. I think he did a great job throughout. He’s really exercising verbally everything he’s feeling with this girl. Women give men heart. It’s an important aspect to any action film to have heart.