Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Van Dammage: Peace or Piece?

I was in a club on Sunset and a guy came to me who represented the business side of Steven.  
He says: "I want to tell you something.  Steven wants to make peace with you."  
I said:  "A piece of what?"
     Jean-Claude Van Damme

While establishing themselves as the heirs to Arnold and Stallone's action movie kingdom, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal were anything but friends.  Van Damme has always been complimentary of the Aikido master, claiming to be envious of Seagal's strong face and cool mystique.  In 1991, Seagal went on Arsenio Hall's late night show and more or less said he thought JCVD was a fraud.  A couple years later, Joel Silver wanted to cast hero Seagal opposite villain Van Damme in Demolition Man, a futuristic action thriller.  Van Damme turned down the role as he didn't want to lose to Seagal.  That film was later produced starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes and is fucking great.  Be well and go watch it.

By 1997, with Van Damme's ego and cocaine habit at an all time high, it was no more mister nice guy.  At a party at Sylvester Stallone's house in Miami, Van Damme challenged Seagal to a fight and went outside to wait for him.  Seagal brushed it off then fled to a club.  Van Damme followed and again issued the challenge.  Seagal again came up with an excuse and declined.  In Stallone's opinion, Van Damme would have wiped the floor with Seagal. 

Cut to 2008's JCVD where mockumentary Van Damme is losing parts to Steven Seagal because the supposed former CIA agent agrees to cut off his ponytail.  During Expendables II promotion in 2012, Van Damme was still being asked about Steven Seagal.  As always, Van Damme claims to love his work but thinks he should lose some weight and get back into the game.  When asked about the near showdown of that evening in 1997, Van Damme chalks it up to being a crazy guy at the time and that he lost because Seagal stayed inside and ate a nice dinner while Van Damme waited outside and didn't get to eat.

In his own (French) words:

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