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Round #4: Stallone talks about Dolly Parton, Rocky Balboa, his fave action stars and film, his future as an actor & more!!!

Hey folks, Harry here... I'm here with day 4 of our continuing Q&A saga with Stallone. In my opinion - this is the best one yet. I am getting the feeling that Sylvester is loosening up and relaxing with these questions. We get some really great material here. Let's get on with it...

1. Name three little known facts you learned about Dolly Parton during the production of RHINESTONE (1984). Kevin from Seattle, WA
Dear Kevin, First thing, on a primitive level, I think she’s actually more endowed than she appears to be and what you see is only a subtle representative of what she is. Not that I know first hand, but Dolly always holds something back in reserve. She is an incredible woman. I remember in the early 80s when I was sitting in a hotel room feeling sorry for myself, actors do that a lot, it’s actually considered a sport in Hollywood, self loathing. Anyway, Dolly called and we began a conversation that lasted at least two hours and by the time I hung up I thought she was the most amazing person I’d ever spoken to. She knew something about everything. She’s the kind of woman that 100 years ago would’ve been strong enough to cross the country in a wagon train, fight off Indians if necessary, give birth without any help and then find time to strung a guitar and sing around the campfire. In other words, she’s a classic.
2. Aron, Clermont Florida: Hey Sly, I am a huge fan. I just wanted to ask about Antonio Tarver, how did he do during shooting for Rocky Balboa?? He's a local product from here in Orlando and he looks pretty solid from the trailer. Any thoughts?? By the way please, please make a sequel to Demolition Man, thats one of my all time favorite movies.
Dear Aron, Tarver did great. It’s the first time in any of the ROCKY films where I actually engaged in punching with a professional. The reason I wanted to use a professional like Antonio, who was at the time the Light Heavyweight Champion of the world, is that in sports films actors try to duplicate the precision of a real professional athlete and it looks foolish. In this fight we use the HBO boxing format and the same camera positions so it has the look of authenticity. The second part is I wanted to have a great deal of physical contact in the ring so I wanted to use a professional who could adjust to the ebb and flow of an awkward boxer like Rocky. Tarver, being a great boxer, could adjust and delivers bunches from angles that no actor could possibly duplicate. I was knocked down several times during the fight and we keep those in there. If you want to see some real straight-on fighting and not the usual over the shoulder camera tricks, you might enjoy this fight a little bit more than the other ROCKY fights. P.S. I’d like to make a sequel to DEMOLITION MAN, but I believe that ship has sailed and maybe there are more challenges waiting on the horizon.
3. Sly, I am perhaps one of the biggest fans of the Rocky series but I have never been able to get over the fact that Rocky's son ages about 10 years from when Rocky goes to Russia to when he comes back. Obviously you wanted to have your son play a part in the movie, but did you worry about continuity of character? What was the logic behind such an implausable scenario? I mean, I know Rocky had brain damage and all, but c'mon, he's gotta recognize that his son has been replaced with an imposter. Sincerely, Darren Weissman, MD New York, NY
Dear Darren, You’re absolutely right and I’m laughing right now because I believe I have more brain damage than Rocky to make that mistake. What I should’ve written in the dialog is that Rocky’s son suffers from a genetic defect that causes him to age 3 months every 90 minutes.
4. Question: I heard that you wrote the first Rocky movie in about 3 weeks. Did you do the same for the sequels? How much more time and preparation did you do put in when you directed #'s 2,3,4, and now 6? Darshan
ROCKY was written in 3 & _ days, but 90 percent of it was rubbish. The reason I write fast is even though I know it’s going to be terribly flawed, I’d much rather spend my time doing numerous rewrites rather than spend six months to a year trying to hone down a first draft. Plus I enjoy the rewriting process. The other ROCKYS were also written quickly but not like the first one. You write faster when you’re hungry. I spent a lot of time in preparation because usually I’m in the film and have to have my dialog and character mannerisms down so I can focus on what’s going on around me at the same time. It’s an odd feeling acting but also knowing that you’re on autopilot at the same time.
5. Honestly, what does it feel like to have an entire city take pride (aside from rocky V) in you? I mean this city still plays the theme during sporting events, remembers scenes that were shot in their back yard. So many people identify his series of films with this city....did you ever anticipate it? btw, apparently you went to High School(St. Joe's Prep) with my uncle (Walt Wienrich) he says "hi" Andrew Pope Philadelphia, Pa
It’s truly amazing to be identified and embraced by the city of Philadelphia. Philly is a real working class, tough, no-nonsense city. Philadelphians will tell you where to get off if they don’t like you. They would even hit Santa Clause with ice balls if they thought he was faking it, so I’m flattered to be considered a Philadelphian and Rocky really does belong to the people of the city and no, I never thought this would happen. Actually, when United Artists made ROCKY, I was told it was being done for the second part of a double feature that would be shown in drive-in theatres. Remember drive-ins? Half my generation was conceived in drive-ins. Sorry Andrew, I went to many schools, 13 to be exact, but I never went to St. Joe’s Prep.
6. I read somewhere that you were working on a Tupac / Biggie Smalls project entitled "Notorious," could you shed some light onto this project and perhaps how you became involved? Also along the same lines, where do you see your career going in terms of acting and directing. Which do you plan to focus on more in the coming years? nyNightengale Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
I became involved in the Tupac/Biggie project about 4 years ago. Gathering all the data, these two giant rap stars were murdered in front of numerous witnesses and no arrests have ever been made. This, on the surface, said to me some very important people had to be involved. Police Chiefs? The story was like a modern-day noir written from the point of view of a detective Poole, who basically was railroaded out of the police department because the more he investigated, the dirtier the high rollers in city hall and police commissions and DA offices all appeared to be part of a conspiracy to squash this case. I don’t think it’ll ever be done because of the amount of lawsuits that would be filed. So I plan to focus on directing and writing more in the future, even though I enjoy acting, there’s a part of my manhood that says putting on make-up and prancing around in front of hot lights when you’re my age is a little foolish. I was talking with Arnold Schwarzenegger about this a few weeks ago. He said during TERMINATOR 3 it got real old being pulled out of your motor home at 2 AM to do part of a stunt and then roll around trying to act out some director’s instructions. I have to agree with that.
7. Dear Sly, what is your favourite action movie...and action star?? john,
Truthfully, this is going to sound horribly vain, but I liked the kind of action that is in FIRST BLOOD, which I think is my best action film because the action is believable and accomplished without any high-end technology. Now as for my favorite action star, it’s hard to beat Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Jason Statham. It’s a different kind of action, but nonetheless, I respect the kind of work and pain it takes for these people to accomplish these stunts. My favorite action movie…actually, one of my favorite action films is a Korean film entitled THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR, directed by Kang Je-gyu.
8. Hey Sly, I heard that you were working on a new Rambo film and that it was getting guff because it had Christian undertones....Is this true about the plot and if so why the flack? NYG Fan
Yes, it is and we’re not getting any blowback because of the Christian plot. It’s just a dangerous, dangerous movie overall because of the subject matter and hostile locations.
9. How and why did you get involved with the 1983 movie "Staying Alive"? Looking back at it now, what would you change about it if anything( it was rated #1 in Entertainment Weekly's Top 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made)? How much influence did you have on Travolta's look for the film? - Jay Of Orange, CT
I have to disagree that it’s the worst sequel ever made. It was definitely a lot better than my version of GET CARTER, which caused many people to run out and perform self-inflicted lobotomies. If I could do STAYING ALIVE over I would make it grittier, more hand-held, John’s clothes baggier, and ban all pastel tank tops. I would’ve added much more of the Bee Gees. But the Bee Gees were very angry with me and refused to do more songs because I put a couple of songs by my brother in the movie. So they basically told me to get lost, but one has to take care of family. By the way, three hours into that film I knew it was a bad idea for me to direct it. It’s a subject I know very little about and don’t care to learn more about. Dancing is definitely not my strong suit. But I love directing actors in practical locations around New York. That was great. Also, I didn’t know what to do everyday when the actors would come up and say the Bob Mackie-designed costumes are chafing their erogenous zones into “crotch tartar.”
10. Hey, Sly. What I would like to know is : You're getting near the 40-year mark career-wise... You've been in 60 movies or so... What memories do you keep from all this ? Looking back, what do you think of what you've done, where you've been and, if given the chance, would you have done antything differently, why and how ? This is a pretty common question, but I would really like to know. I wish you good luck with everything and am really looking forward to seeing Rocky Balboa. Francois from Lille (France)
Well I mostly keep the memories of the films that were enjoyable to do close to my heart, such as the ROCKYS, PARADISE ALLEY, FIST, CLIFFHANGER, DEMOLITION MAN, but the most fun I ever had on a movie was with Dolly Parton on RHINESTONE. I must tell everyone right now that originally the director was suppose to be Mike Nichols, that was the intention and it was suppose to be shot in New York, down and dirty with Dolly and I with gutsy mannerisms performed like two antagonists brought together by fate. I wanted the music at that time to be written by people who would give it sort of a bizarre edge. Believe it or not, I contacted Whitesnake’s management and they were ready to write some very interesting songs alongside Dolly’s. But, I was asked to come down to Fox and out steps the director, Bob Clark. Bob is a nice guy, but the film went in a direction that literally shattered my internal corn meter into smithereens. I would have done many things differently. I certainly would’ve steered clear of comedy unless it was dark, Belgian chocolate dark. Silly comedy didn’t work for me. I mean, would anybody pay to see John Wayne in a whimsical farce? Not likely. I would stay more true to who I am and what the audience would prefer rather than trying to stretch out and waste a lot of time and people’s patience. I also should’ve done many more indie films in between the large ones, which would’ve helped keep my feet on the ground. And the last thing is, you’ve got to really surround yourself with incredibly talented people to survive in this business. Cruise does it the best and so did Arnold.

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