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.

Apparently, 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.

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Is 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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.