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Round One With Sylvester Stallone Q&A!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I just got off the phone with Harry, who tells me that there have been over 40,000 questions sent in so far from pretty much every corner of the globe. For every one question we’ve gotten from an American reader, we’ve gotten six from people overseas, which definitely speaks to Stallone’s enduring stardom around the world. Harry’s going to be continuing this every day between now and the 20th, and there’s still plenty of time to get your question in. You need to make sure to send it to the right e-mail address with the subject line "I Have A Sly Question For Stallone", and Harry’s reading all of them, cherry-picking the very best ones. There are some uber-geeky questions in here, questions about filmmaking, and I know Harry’s even planning to throw Sly some really tough ones as this continues. The point is... anything’s fair game, and we want you to participate. As we kick it off today, we wanted to give the first question to perhaps the single most impassioned Stallone fan anywhere... the one and only AB King:

Question: Are you gonna use the bow and arrows to blow things up in Rambo IV; will you be more bulked up in Rambo IV than in Rocky Balboa; will you make Rambo V if IN THE SERPANT'S EYE is a huge hit? A.B. KING

SLY: The answer to the first part of the question, whether I’m going to use bow and arrows to blow things up in RAMBO IV is no, because in all the years that have passed, Rambo lived in the remote part of a jungle in Thailand and would not have access to fresh explosives nor does he want part of that life style anymore, but he will use a bow. Yes, I’ll be more bulked up than in Rocky, because Rambo is living a very secluded life and this life includes a great deal of hard labor in the jungles, which has kept him in excellent condition. It won't be bodybuilder-ish, but more like the body of a lumberjack or someone that is prone to heavy lifting and bullish labor. If RAMBO IV, which has been re-titled PEARL OF THE COBRA, works, I'm not sure if RAMBO would proceed, that all depends on the fans’ reactions.

Your fans have been debating the merits of each ROCKY film for years. Would you mind going through all SIX films and reflect about how you feel they rank alongside each other? In other words, if you honestly had to RANK would you compare the films? I assume the first film gets the # 1 ranking... THANK YOU! Jeff Dyer Dubuque, IA

The ROCKY films have been part of an incredible journey that has taken me to some great heights and depths, but overall I feel incredibly grateful to be associated with such a noble character. As for ranking them in order of personal preference, that is going to be difficult. I know everyone assumes the original ROCKY would be my favorite, but I have to say that the last ROCKY, ROCKY BALBOA was the most emotional and fulfilling journey of all the Rocky films. Maybe it's because I learned to appreciate what is really valuable in life, which is the love of others and what is the most terrifying, which is the prospect of a life filled with loneliness. So I rank ROCKY BALBOA my favorite, then ROCKY, then ROCKY II, ROCKY III, ROCKY IV, and ROCKY V rounds out the series.

I Look forward to watching the new film, but from the trailer, Rocky looks fitter than ever.. my question is; (if this is not revealed in the film itself), how he has seemingly recovered from the brain damage, which seemed to be quite debilitating and serious in “Rocky V”? Torben Rølmer Bille Aalborg, Denmark

When Rocky was diagnosed with brain damage, it must be noted that many athletes have a form of brain damage including football players, soccer players, and other individuals in contact sports such as rugby, etc. Rocky never went for a second opinion and yielded to his wife's wishes to stop. So with the advent of new research techniques into brain damage, Rocky’s was found to be normal among fighters and he was suffering the results of a severe concussion. By today's standards Rocky Balboa would be given a clean bill of health for fighters. In the film, Rocky is told that he has to train differently because he has lost a great deal of flexibility and mobility so hence the heavy weight training and power lifting that built Rocky into the shape that makes him a worthy opponent. P.S. he's still not in the same shape as he was in ROCKY IV, he's just stronger. Thank you.

What ideas do you have for POE regarding cinematography, textures, shots ? Do you keep a log/notebook for these ideas as they come? Thank you. Peace & Blessings, Jazz Fall River, MA USA

For POE I'd like to focus on a muted color texture for the present day scenes and when we delve into the recesses of his mind, which I will do quite often to see the creations of his extraordinary stories as they unfold in his sub-conscience, they will be portrayed in muted colors and with vivid contrast. The whole point is to show Poe as a normal struggling artist who had highs and lows like all of us and not portrayed as he usually is as a somber, morbid, introverted alcoholic with flashes of brilliance.

Your mother, Jackie Stallone, has led a very colorful life. It's been written on the internet that she was a trapeze artist in her youth and that she invented "rumpology" (which is similar to palm reading except it involves examining rear ends instead of hands). Do you have a close relationship with your mother? Would you allow her to read your butt? Adam Boyle Sarnia, Ontario

My mother has led a very colorful life. Besides being a one time trapeze artist in her youth, she is the first woman I could recall that had a televised body building show in Washington DC in the 50's I believe. She is a world-class astrologist, palmist, and did invent "Rumpology." Yes we do have a close relationship and no I did not allow her to read my butt because the story may have a down ending.

We used to have a few huge action stars like yourself, Arnold, and Van Damme. Audiences didn't expect much from the films but simply to have a good time. Why do you think that whole genre seems to have disappeared? T. J. Brumfield

The action genre has definitely dried up and has become a relic of the past. But I do believe action will re-emerge in a new intelligent fashion that is being led by perhaps Daniel Craig in James Bond. So fear not, everything returns, it's just packaged in a different box.

One of my favorite Stallone films after all these years is "Nighthawks". I always say a great action film needs a strong hero and strong villian. I feel that film gave you a whole new dimension as an actor. Rutger Hauer goes in the villian Hall Of Fame for his role in this film. What memories do you still have from "Nighthawks"? Tim Salsgiver Crestline, Ohio

NIGHTHAWKS was a very difficult film to make namely because no one believed that urban terrorism would ever happen in New York thus felt the story was far fetched. NIGHTHAWKS was even a better film before the studio lost faith in it and cut it to pieces. What was in the missing scenes was extraordinary acting by Rutger Hauer, Lindsey Wagner, and the finale was a blood fest that rivaled the finale of "Taxi Driver." But it was a blood fest with a purpose. The stunts in the film were pretty extraordinary because they were invented along the way. Running through the tunnels of an un-built subway station was very dangerous, but exciting and we were only given one hour to do it. So that made for an interesting evening. Hanging from the cable car was probably one of the more dangerous stunts I was asked to perform because it was untested and I was asked to hold a folding Gerber knife in my left hand so if the cable were to snap, and I survived the 230 foot fall into the East River with its ice cold 8 mile an hour current, I could cut myself free from the harness because the cable when stretched out weighed more than 300 lbs. I tell you this because it's so stupid to believe that I would survive hitting the water so to go beyond that is absurd. So I actually thought the smart move would be to commit hari-kari on the way down and let the cards fold as they may. P.S. Several years later this cable did snap while testing it on a 100lb bag of sand.

In the first Rocky the entire first and second rounds are shown. A montage lasting about three minutes links all the rounds through the fourteenth. We then see the entire fifteenth round. I know you have said in the past that you and Carl went through the entire fight going from the first round all the way through the end of the fight. Considering the slim budget and time schedule, that is very hard to believe. Did you do something called a "Montage Round" or something where pieces were just taken out of it, knowing there was going to be a montage? The fight in the first Rocky flows like poetry perfectly moving with Bill Conti's amazing music. I am hoping the fight in "Rocky Balboa" feels the same. Can you clear this up once and for all? What was it like when you first heard Bill Conti's score for Rocky? Mark

You're right. The idea that every round was worked out punch for punch has been exaggerated. All the punches in the first, second and fifteenth round were worked out, but to have done that for the entire fight would have been so time consuming that it never would have made it to the final cut, so what I tried to do was take sections of 10 - 15 punch combinations or a staggering blow and put it together to tell a story while Bill Conti's great music drove home the emotional elements. The final fight in ROCKY BALBOA was by far the most realistic and painful and again Bill's music is an essential element in the film. The first time I heard Bill's music, I thought it was absolute genius and still do and give him credit for making ROCKY the success it is.

Last year, I wrote my high school US History thesis paper on the relationship that Ronald Reagan's presidency had to the prolific films of the action genre in the 1980's, as well as the surrounding politics during the time. I actually spent one of the parts focusing on your output in 1985, when you did Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV. At the time both were released, the Cold War was still a prevalent issue between American and Soviet politics. Do you think that the sizeable box-office receipts for these movies proved that not only was America unafraid of the Soviet Union by 1985, but it had a sort of pop-culture effect on the collapse of both the Soviet Union and the Cold War? Michael Flynn, Oceanport, NJ

It was just a coincidence that both these films came out at a time when Russia and America were reaching a cross roads in their relationships. What made the film work is that it really wasn't the soldier or the fighters that were the enemies, but the unseen government leaders and yes the climate at that time was very responsible for the successful box office receipts of these movies, but by no means do I think the simplistic approach of both these films had an effect on the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, but thanks for making me feel important.

Dear Sly, Your friendship with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger is legendary. There have been many hilarious tales told over the years of the camaraderie you share while playing practical jokes on each other etc. Considering the extraordinary success of your careers, a large portion of the public assumed that you all had closed the door and moved on from the film series that solidified you as the Box Office Gold Action Hero Trio. So recently, when it was announced that not only have you been making Rocky VI, but Bruce Willis is also making Die Hard 4, a theory has developed. Did you and Bruce lose a bet with Arnold that stated if he won the election to be Governor of California that you two would have to revive your movie series? With much respect, Bride of Caller from LA

No that is hearsay, but Bruce has a strong relationship with his character in DIE HARD and this is basically what he is known for likewise myself so we consider it a privilege and stroke of good fortune to be able to revisit these characters every few years. Our only danger is providing a sub-par performance that will damage the memory of these characters and disappoint the loyal followers. The hard part is coming up with something fresh and emotional and not just visual and dull. Not so easy to do. Best, Sly

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