EXCLUSIVE: ‘Universal Soldier 3’ Moves Forward With Jean-Claude Van Damme, But No Dolph Lundgren?

I report the following with a mixture of sadness and pleasure. After years of rumors and suspect IMDB updates, Jean-Claude Van Damme, hot off an honest to goodness fine piece of acting in “JCVD” (check it out if you want to watch the “Bloodsport” star cry and I mean a lot) just told me he’s in for the third “Universal Soldier” movie. Er, or is that DVD?

“I don’t know if they want to make it a video release or theatrical,” he said. Actually there are a lot of question marks, like is he really starring in the film or is this a glorified cameo? “I’m just going to do 10 days.” Hmm, so what about Dolph Lundgren? He’s back, right?!? “I told them, guys bring in Dolph! They said there’s no more value [to cast him]. I said, ’it will have value with me!'”

So much for that reunion. But there will be a familiar Van Damme collaborator joining the franchise on this go round. As has been rumored in the past “Timecop” director Peter Hyams will serve as director of photography for the film. In fact, that confirmation just happened. “Peter Hyams just yesterday called me to say he’s going to DP my film,” Van Damme said excitedly.

“I said, ’are you crazy? You’re going to DP? You’re an excellent director.'” Helming the film will be “Unitl Death” director Simon Fellows, the muscles from Brussells said. Van Damme has a lot of regard for Hyams professionally and personally saying, “He was the only who visited me in the clinic when I was there years ago. All the agents and managers who made a fortune with me never came.”

So we’ve got a cast and crew in place. Now how about a story? Asked about the plot, Van Damme said “It has to do with something in the past.”

Here’s hoping that last quote is the tagline for the movie. Is Van Damme making a mistake by going back to the “Universal Soldier” well one more time? Let us know what you think.