Olympic gold medalists Conor Dwyer, left, and Ryan Lochte, right, with… (Jordan Strauss / Invision )
After Sylvester Stallone's whirlwind week of promotion that included appearances on both coasts, one could only imagine the energy it took for him to put on a cheerful face at"The Expendables 2 " premiere Wednesday night in Hollywood. The actor, whose eldest son, Sage, died just over a month ago, looked exhausted.
But the 66-year-old who appeared dapper in a dark suit flanked by his supportive family did not shy away from his adoring fans who lined Hollywood Boulevard opposite Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Stallone was joined by his wife, Jennifer Flavin, and their daughters, Scarlet, Sophia and Sistine. Sly's younger brother Frank also appeared, as well as their 90-year-old mother, Jackie, who garnered a lot of buzz with her ever-changing pout.
Also on hand were a few gold medal-winning Olympic action heroes, including volleyball player Danielle Scott-Arruda, water-polo player Jessica Steffens and swimmers Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte, the latter of whom posed with Stallone.
Though Sly skipped interviews on the carpet, he spoke in the theater before the screening.
"We took an idea [to make the sequel] that made no sense on paper, but somehow I just knew that if we can get together and mix it up maybe we could do something a little different and nostalgic," he said, and then credited his friends — the very manly "Expendables 2" cast — for their help.
"I couldn't have done it certainly without all these men from Arnold [Schwarzenegger] to Bruce [Willis] to Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Randy Couture … everyone … Dolph Lundgren. Without them I would not be here, and without my wonderful family I certainly wouldn't be here."
The movie, which hits theaters Friday, centers on Mr. Church (played by Willis) who enlists the team for a seemingly simple job that of course goes wrong, compelling the Expendables to seek revenge in hostile territory with the odds stacked against them.
Though Stallone directed the first installment, he pretty much wanted to be an actor the second time around, according to Simon West of "Con Air" fame, who helmed the sequel.
"Sly came in and wrote the script, but he was very good at giving the other actors their voices, because each of them has a particular character. He was great at providing the one-liners, and he was very happy to be an actor in this movie," West said.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was there with sons Patrick and Christopher, said making movies is similar to politics. "It's about who has the biggest muscles, who has the best punch and the biggest scandal … crazy stuff. But it's great to be back. I'll be back … like I say in the movie, and I am back!"
So who could take the hardest hit? Sly got the consensus nod. "It comes with the territory of sharing a movie with Sly. You get dirty, injured and banged around, but we share the pain," Statham said.
And his recuperation technique after a big fight? "A cold beer and a nice massage!"