‘I was just crazy at the time’: Jean-Claude Van Damme recalls throwing a papaya at producer’s head as ‘Double Impact’ turns 30

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·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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Jean-Claude Van Damme certainly paid his dues — and got creative — in his determination to make it as a Hollywood action star. As he discussed during his Role Recall interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the “Muscles From Brussels” worked as an extra on films like the '80s hip-hop classic Breakin’, briefly played the Predator (as in the stunt performer in a costume) and once snuck onto Sylvester Stallone’s property hoping to pitch himself to the Rocky and Rambo icon.

This was all before 1988’s Bloodsport turned JCVD into an in-demand newcomer. By the time 1991’s Double Impact (which turns 30 Monday) rolled around — the actor, now 60, was a legit Hollywood sensation, and so much so that the film gave him both lead roles, playing twin brothers separated at birth who reunite 25 years later to avenge their parents' death.

“I always wanted to impress people with the acting,” Van Damme said of the actioner inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s The Corsican Brothers and directed by Sheldon Lettich (watch our full Role Recall interview above, with Double Impact beginning at 2:56).

Though it wasn’t that easy from the get-go. Van Damme claims his own agent and lawyer were conspiring behind his back to cast a different client of theirs, Dolph Lundgren, as his twin so that they would earn twice as much money from contracts.

Maybe that’s why Van Damme was on high alert during filming.

The actor says that an unnamed producer on Double Impact came onto the set about five weeks into filming and attempted to redirect some of the movie’s budget to another project his production company was working on at the time, the 1991 Brian Bosworth vehicle Stone Cold, which was in dire straits and bleeding money.

“He said, ‘That’s a big movie, that’s gonna be a big film,” Van Damme recalled. “There was a papaya [on the set]. I don’t know why. But I took the papaya and I just threw it at him. Thank God he ducked. [It splashed all over the wall.]”

The producer, Van Damme says, “just ran away to the airport.”

“I was just crazy at the time,” he explains. “Don’t touch my movie.”

The actor felt vindicated. Double Impact went on to become the biggest hit that company — Stone Group Pictures — ever had. It grossed over $30 million, twice its budget.

The reception for Stone Cold was cold indeed. It flopped badly with a $9 million gross on a budget of $25 million.

Stream Double Impact on Amazon.

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