What’s the story with Willis and Stallone?

Here’s one that will set you back a moment. Apparently Sly Stallone has cast Expendables 3…and Bruce Willis didn’t make the cut. So…is Bruce expendable because he’s not Expendable?

Questions within questions there, but that’s not the real public relations buzz surrounding this story.

Ronn Torossian explains.

Willis and Stallone at a social eventApparently, Stallone announced his plans to cast Harrison Ford in Expendables 3. In a follow-up exchange, he admitted to having a rough experience with Willis in at least the last Expendables movie. We won’t repeat the Twitter post here, but suffice to say it was less than complimentary.

So…is the antagonism legitimate or is all the drama just a clever way to make this announcement.Some background. Tension between Stallone’s and Willis’s characters was actually a running subplot in both the Expendables movies. So, was it art imitating life or life imitating? Are both the on screen and on Twitter animosity real…or could the latter be a clever publicity stunt?

“It’s certainly been done before,” said 5W Public Relations CEO, Ronn Torossian.

Comic actor Andy Kaufman practically invented the move, creating an on-again off-again “feud” with, of all people, pro wrestler Jerry Lawler. The pair brawled for the camera in wrestling promotions and even on late night talk shows. At a time when most of America still thought pro wrestling was (at least mostly) real, everyone thought the feud was certainly a “shoot.”

But, of course, it wasn’t. The entire routine was staged for its intrinsic entertainment value. And this is a format that hardly ever gets old. Since Kaufman, countless producers and promoters have dusted off the “feud” to get headlines.

John McClane PuzzledIs it possible that Stallone and Willis actually don’t like each other? Sure, of course. Not everyone gets along with their coworkers. But isn’t it just a little bit odd that Stallone would be so jacked about it that he would shout his excitement to the Twitter verse? Even knowing the tweet would get picked up and repeated endlessly in the entertainment media?

“Both of these men have had long and prosperous careers in Hollywood. They are well versed in the publicity business.” Torossian added, “While it’s definitely possible the animosity is real, the words used and accusations made were a bit too specific for general discontent.”

Either way, the move – and the movie – got some press. And that is never Expendable. Mission accomplished.

Follow Ronn Torossian on Facebook 08/26/13, 12:32pm

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.