Members of the Greek Armed Forces were deployed to act as “supportive crowd” in the production of the Hollywood War Film EXPENDABLES 4 last November in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Now they claim that they have not be paid even one euro for “being used for the purposes of a film production with a budget of 20,000,000 euros.”
The incredible story comes to light after the Greek armed “actors” complained to the Military Associations of the Regional Units of Drama (ESPEED) and Pieria (ESPEEP) through the Panhellenic Federation of Military Associations (POES), associations that strongly protest the fact that “they offered services beyond and far from the purpose of their missions as officers of the Greek Armed Forces for a private company.”
According to documents of ESPED and ESPEP, the Greek soldiers participated to the film production form November 29, 2021 and for 26 days.
Officers and soldiers told the Military Associations that they were not even aware that their deployment meant that they would get involved in the shooting of a film.
Sylvester Stallone and other tough guys…
In a letter dated April 8 to the minister in charge, that is the National Defense Minister, the POES strongly demanded for the compensation of its members stressing that the “Greek military cannot be made available for all kinds of jobs” and thus for free.
“We strongly protest and ask for your immediate intervention so that on the one hand the officers who were involved in any way in the shooting of THE EXPENDABLES 4 during the period from November 26, 2021 until the end of their deployment for the purpose of the filming, be compensated not only according to the provisions within the Armed Forces and the current legislation for those involved in films and on the other hand to call the private production company to compensate the Ministry of National Defense for the disposal and use of an M60 A3 tank and an M / S 290GD vehicle,” the POES underlines.
Listing their duties in the film production, the POES noted that from November 29, 2021 and for twenty-six (26) days, officers of the Armed Forces, were also used as guides/instructions to the film production company for the needs of filming “THE EXPENDABLES 4 M.I.K.E.”
Stressing that the officers were away from home for 26 days and worked beyond 8 hours per day, the POES added that their daily work exceeded the statutory of 8 hours daily work, “they worked for 12 hours on a daily basis.”
Complaining that after the officers returned to their units they did not even receive days off from their continuous daily activities “as a minimum recognition of their overtime work and consequently their physical fatigue, during as filming above action.
They list also that for two (2) weeks, there was morning shooting (from 07:00 to 19:00) and the other days the shooting was at night (from 17:00 to 05:00). It should also be noted that, within the above deployment of the officers, tha same working modus was over the weekends.
POES letter to the Minister notes that the officers would be paid by the Armed Forces that would be apparently be paid by the “EXPENDABLES 4 M.I.K.E” production company.
“The company would pay the corresponding amounts for each one, as the officers involved are not employees of the company itself, so they could not be compensated, as this would not be legal,” POES noted and pointed out that “the compensation may be delayed, because something like this, ie the availability of Armed forces staff and means for filming, is happening for the first time.”
It is worth noting and now worrying the officers that “their units did not send any document or application to the competent economic operators for the above compensation, since there is no specific financial fund for such actions.”
The story and the POES letter was widely posted on websites dealing with military issues, such as armyvoice.gr, and others
To make the long story short:
-The production company of EXPENDABLES 4 made arrangements with the Greek Army leadership to make staff available to the needs of the film
-Most probably an amount as compensation was agreed upon.
-The Armed Forces ordered the soldiers and officers to deployment at the film shooting area.
-Nobody knows how many soldiers and officers were deployed.
-Nobody knows if the production company paid the compensation
…. or the amount is lost under the chains of some heavy tank in the muddy battle field.
PS Maybe the mercenary leader of THE EXPENDABLES 4, Sylvester Stallone, the team’s knife expert Jason Statham, the team’s distressed combat-man Dolph Lundgren and demolitions expert Randy Couture know about the issue.
No one is allowed to be filmed for something public without signing a media release, so this is peculiar. Production houses are usually diligent with this, every “extra”—every person even just walking down the street in a film, signs a media release, and may or may not be given a nominal fee.
What is odd about this case to me is that actual soldiers were filmed as soldiers, if I understand correctly. Normally they would use actors to pose as soldiers. My guess is that the military made some sort of agreement with the production company for their services, and this wasn’t communicated with the soldiers who did the work. Hollywood is used to filming at international locations, they have a process. I think the problem is internal.