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Stallone answers December 9th & 10th Questions in a double round - plus Harry's Seen ROCKY BALBOA at BNAT!!!

Hey folks, Harry here - FIRST - I'd like to apologize for Saturday's questions not getting up on Saturday. Merrick was supposed to do that - but apparently he must've had something that came up that kept him from doing it. I'm too euphoric from BNAT to be mad though. HOLY SHIT! ROCKY BALBOA IS POSSIBLY MY FAVORITE FILM EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR. The Audience Chanting Rocky... people pumping arms in the air in the theater, sceaming "ROCKY ROCKY ROCKY!" Stallone looking like Edgar Rick Burrough's MUCKER or John Ford's Gypo Nolan. I love ROCKY BALBOA so much. I simply HAVE to see it multiple times to see if that emotion and reaction from the audience works on me again and again. AB KING - Prepare for both your heads to explode like a testosterone fountain at George Cukor's mansion back in the day. Well - here's Stallone with both Saturday (yesterday's) and Sunday (today's) Drink up!

RE: Lou Gehrig: Now, a lot of women have been known to not love the game of baseball, and to not know how to spell the name of a baseball player that passed away sixty years ago is a forgivable crime, so give the young lady a break, all you dictionary demons…. Dec. 9th
1. What were your reasons for changing certain aspects of James Cameron's Rambo 2 Script which has been available on the internet for a while now? In retrospect, do you regret your decisions? Was Cameron ever in talks to direct? Gerrich Baden bei Wien, Austria
No, I think that James Cameron is a brilliant talent, but I thought the politics were important, such as a right-wing stance coming from Trautman and his nemesis, Murdock, contrasted by Rambo’s obvious neutrality, which I believe is explained in Rambo’s final speech. I realize his speech at the end may have caused millions of viewers to burst veins in their eyeballs by rolling them excessively, but the sentiment stated was conveyed to me by many veterans.
2. Hi Sly You have had a long career, but Spy Kids and Death Race 2000 are the only times I’ve seen you play a bad guy. Do you have any plans, now that you have put nice guy Rocky to bed, to play a serious villain in a movie? I mean a right nasty piece of work. Graeme Lloyd London
I wouldn’t be opposed to playing a truly horrific individual. God knows I saw enough of that growing up. The thing is… whether he’s a bloodthirsty, flesh-ripping, Son of Sam-type or more psychologically sadistic, I would definitely opt for the latter. Maybe a remake of WHEN HARRY BEAT SALLY.
3. I notice there's a strong "faith and values" push in the marketing for "Rocky Balboa." Have you always thought of the "Rocky" series in that light, or is it just this last film? Jack Brown Grand Rapids, MI
No, I’ve always thought of Rocky as an individual that was chosen to take a journey that would bring together many “broken” people, including himself, and this group would achieve success because of their newfound self-respect. Good old-fashioned Christian values, nothing wrong with that.
4. Over the years, there have been some controversies about your screenwriting credits. Critics say you didn't write enough of "F.I.S.T" to earn writing credit. James Cameron says you added the heavily-criticized political angle to his original "Rambo: First Blood Part II" script. Chuck Wepner says you stole his life story for "Rocky." Is there anything you want to set straight about your screenwriting credits? Would you do anything differently, or do you think the controversies are overblown? Shane
First of all, as for Chuck Wepner, he knows the truth and it had nothing do to do with his “personal life.” I even regret the fact that he and ROCKY are associated because the two people couldn’t be more diverse. Second of all, I suppose James Cameron has a point, but in his original draft it took nearly 30-40 pages to have any action initiated and Rambo was partnered with a tech-y sidekick. So it was more than just politics that were put into the script. There was also a simpler story line. If James Cameron says anything more than that, then he realizes he’s now doing the backstroke badly in a pool of lies. And finally, Joe Eszterhas wrote a script that was nearly 400 pages and was more of a novel than a shootable screenplay. A great deal of work was done by myself, along with Norman Jewison, to hammer it into shape, but Joe had conceived a great concept.
5. Having been a life alone Stallone fan, it is safe to say I have seen all of your theatrical movies at least once if not 100 times. My question to you is why did D-Tox / Eye See You not get a wide theatrical release? Eye See You was your best performances and movies since Cop Land. When I tell people to check out a great missed movie from Stallone, I always suggest "Eye See You", but I can't understand why this movie never made it to the theaters. This movie had a good story, great actors, it was well directed, it also had decent budget of $55 million and yet it did not get a wide release...why? It's shame that more people didn't get a chance to see this movie in the theaters. Craig M. Farkas Beulah, MI
It’s very simple why D-TOX landed in limbo. A film is a very delicate creature. Any adverse publicity or internal shake-up can upset the perception of - and studio confidence in - a feature. For some unknown reason the original producer pulled out and right away the film was considered damaged goods; by the time we ended filming there was trouble brewing on the set because of overages and creative concerns between the director and the studio. The studio let it sit on the shelf for many months and after over a year it was decided to do a re-shoot. We screened it, it tested okay, Ron Howard was involved with overseeing some of the post-production… but the movie had the smell of death about it. Actually, if you looked up, you could see celluloid buzzards circling as we lay there dying on the distributor’s floor. One amusing note: It was funny, when we were met at the airport by the teamsters they’d have a sign in front of them saying DETOX, and all these actors like Kris Kristofferson, Tom Berenger and myself looked like we were going into rehab rather than a film shoot.
6. Hey Sly, Bruce Foster once told me this story and I want to know if it's true. He told me he met your brother Frank in a bar one night some 30 years ago. Frank said, "Let's go over to my brother's place." So Frank brought Bruce to your apartment, where, as Bruce described it to me, you were typing away in your undershirt. Frank introduced you to Bruce, who noticed that the windows in the apartment were painted black. When asked why this was, you said something about writing a screenplay that was going to make you a star and wanting no distractions. My questions is: Did you really paint your windows black while you were writing "Rocky"? - PF
I don’t remember Bruce Foster but I do remember the windows and they were painted black, simply because my life was dedicated to writing since acting jobs had eluded me. But make no mistake about it, my writing was pretty atrocious in the beginning and my style left a lot to be desired. For example, I would begin writing at 11:00 at night as I listened to the Bee Gees’ Odessa album over and over and over until 5:00 in the morning. The writing never amounted to much, but I memorized all the words to the album. It’s safe to say I’ve long since abandoned that method of writing. The reason I painted the windows is, I didn’t want any distractions or excuses to distract me from trying to work, such as, “My, what a nice day, I think I’ll go outside and beg for food.”
7. Dear Mr. Stallone, I have read your book Paradise Alley quite a few times and I really enjoy it. I have not yet seen the movie as I can't find a copy in any video stores here in New Zealand. What I wish to ask is, Is the book based on the movie or is the movie based on the book? As well as this I would also like to ask what do you think, in retrospect, of the book and the film? Oh and by the way, I can't wait for Rocky Balboa to come out! From Jeremy Garland New Zealand
Thank you Jeremy. I wrote the book first, then the screenplay. Both I wrote before I’d even thought about ROCKY, so originally they were done in 1974. But I was very broke and I optioned the screenplay of PARADISE ALLEY to a real… how should I say this… maggot, who put his hooks in so deep I could never get it away from him. So the first time I went in to meet Chartoff and Winkler, I was there on an acting job. I didn’t get it, but on the way out I said, “I have this screenplay called PARADISE ALLEY.” They said to bring it over and I did. They wanted to make it, but the other cretin that I had optioned it to was so obnoxious, so overbearing, that the producers wanted nothing to do with me or the screenplay. So on the way out, they said, “If you have any ideas, we’d be happy to look at them.” That night I went home - even a fire extinguisher couldn’t cool the burning in my brain. The door of opportunity was wide open and I had nothing to carry over its threshold. That’s when I started to write ROCKY. So thank God for the maggot; otherwise I never would’ve written the story of Mr. Balboa.
8. Any chance that original cut of Judge Dredd might ever come to DVD? And how much longer or different was it? I remember it was re-submitted to the MPAA multiple times in an attempt to get a PG-13 rating (which it never got) but the film remained truncated and had an especially brief final fight between you and Armand Assante. The clone stuff felt seriously compromised too. Garo Setian Los Angeles CA
8. I think, from what I recall, the whole project was troubled from the beginning. The philosophy of the film was not set in stone – by that I mean “Is this going to be a serious drama or with comic overtones” like other science fiction films that were successful? So a lotta pieces just didn’t fit smoothly. It was sort of like a feathered fish. Some of the design work on it was fantastic and the sets were incredibly real, even standing two feet away, but there was just no communication. I knew we were in for a long shoot when, for no explainable reason Danny Cannon, who’s rather diminutive, jumped down from his director’s chair and yelled to everyone within earshot, “FEAR me! Everyone should FEAR me!” then jumped back up to his chair as if nothing happened. The British crew was taking bets on his life expectancy.
9. HaHello Mr. Stallone, I was just wondering if you could tell us what the worst injury you've ever had on a Rocky movie, or any film for that matter, was? Thanks, can't wait for Rocky Balboa Navid K Canada
9. Well, the worst pre-injury was the torn chest muscles competing in the bench press competition before ROCKY II, and the worst was in ROCKY IV. In the first round, I thought these two characters should hate each other so much that they should just attack each other like pit dogs… professionalism be damned. So what you see in the first twenty seconds is real, and after the third take of taking body blows, I felt a burning in my chest, but ignored it. Later that night I couldn’t breathe very well, and they took me to the emergency room. My blood pressure was 200+, and the next thing I knew I was on a low-altitude flight from Canada to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, and there I resided in intensive care for eight days. What had happened is he struck me so hard in the chest that my heart slammed against my breastbone and began to swell, so the beating became labored, and without medical attention the heart would’ve continued to swell until it stopped. Many people that have car accidents die like this when the steering wheel slams into their chest. So in a sense I was hit by “a streetcar named Drago.”
10. Hi - i met Carl Weathers at a signing in the uk this year and ask him who would win in a no holds bar match between himself and the other boxng stars of the films and he said it would be 1st MR T, 2nd him (CARL), 3RD DOLP LUNDGREN and last STALLONE. Do you agree? Theo Makris UK
Absolutely not. First of all, my brother Frank used to spar with Carl and chase him around the ring like a fox running from a hound. I saw Dolph Lundgren pick up Carl and heave him three feet into the corner when I was directing the scene between them; rather than retaliate, Carl got out of the ring and said something ferocious like, “I’m calling my agent… I quit!” So in order of boxing skills and fighting ability, I would say Dolph Lundgren, myself, Mr. T, Paulie, and then Apollo Creed. Dec. 10th
1. "Rocky" is a series unlike any other. You can talk about specific qualities of the plot and the training and the characters but as a whole, Rocky is an American icon -a symbol of the power of determination and hard work. Can you comment on what you feel the series represents for you, and what you hope its legacy will be? Michelle Ottawa, Canada
I grew up not very confident. I had tons of self-doubt and wasn’t physically strong either, so the world appeared to be an extremely large and intimidating sphere. All my life, I always thought that I was alone in these disturbing thoughts, but the older I grew, the more I realized the world is made up of victims, victims of harsh reality, victims of inequality. I thought the most tragic thing one could be confronted with is the prospect of loneliness and the second, the lack of opportunity to prove one’s self-worth. So Rocky was just a manifestation of all the underdogs who dream of one day having the opportunity to reach for the stars. They may not get there, but at least the opportunity to show what’s in a person’s heart is the main goal.
2. Thanks for taking my question. Could you share an anecdote or two about the filming of "The Lords of Flatbush"? Paul Phoenix, AZ
Yeah, the original part of Chico, which was played by Perry King, was originally supposed to be played by Richard Gere, but we never hit it off. He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table. One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with. Then we were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hotdog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper. I said, “That thing is going to drip all over the place.” He said, “Don’t worry about it.” I said, “If it gets on my pants you’re gonna know about it.” He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me. He even thinks I’m the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor. Not true… but that’s the rumor.
3. Sly! OVER THE TOP's an old favourite of mine. In fact I'd even call it a Stallone classic (funny--I think a rotten tomato just flew past my head). I've heard it didn't turn out to your liking. Is this true? If so, how would you have changed it if you'd directed? Thanks for your time. Glad you're back on screens. Brett (Japan)
I would have made it less glossy and set it more in an urban environment, for one. Next, I would’ve not used a never-ending stream of rock songs, but scored music instead, and most likely would’ve made the event in Vegas more ominous – not so carnival-like.
4. Three words: Sharon Stone. Shower. How many times did you screw up that scene on purpose for a reshoot? Andrew Washington, DC
OK. Let it be known, I didn’t want to do this scene because Sharon was not cooperating. We get to the set and she decides not to take her robe off. The director asks only a few of the crew to remain, and she still won’t take it off. I promised her I wouldn’t take any liberties, so what’s the problem? She said, “I’m just sick of nudity.” I asked her if she could get sick of it on someone else’s film. She was having none of it, so I went down to my trailer, brought back a bottle of Black Death vodka that was given to me by Michael Douglas and after half-a-dozen shots we were wet and wild.
5. Dear Sly, I once read that to get your weight down for First Blood (I think) you ate nothing but burn toast. Is this true? Thanks, Scott. Portsmouth UK.
No. The burnt toast rumor is false. I ate perhaps 10-12 eggs per day and only dined on fish so my body was getting ridiculously thin. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve definitely thrown in some good ol’ pasta into that formula, because a strict diet of protein provides no warmth, and let me be clear, that was one cold and brutal shoot.
6. My name is Johan Östling and I am mailing you from Sweden. One of my favourite movies is “Cliff hanger”. I have heard that the version seen at the cinemas and released on dvd is a very cut version. Is this true? Do you know of any plans of a director’s cut release? Looking forward for Rocky VI, the teaser trailer was one of the best teasers I have ever seen. Best regards Johan Östling
No, actually the director’s cut was met with a lot of disapproval at the screening and received some alarmingly low scores. Mainly because the stunts were absurdly overblown. For example, the average man can jump maybe twelve feet across a gorge, and the stunts had me leaping maybe three hundred feet or more, so situations like that had to be pared down and still then were fairly extreme… so you’re probably better off with this cut. By the way, the 2nd unit crew that filmed the majority of the action was extraordinary.
7. Dear Mr. Stallone: I believe an important part of the original Rocky was the characters "job" as an enforcer/collector and relationship with Gazzo played by Joe Spinell. In a documentary on Spinell's life your personal relationship with Spinell is talked about in that you were close friends and had a later falling out which is suggested to be caused by your agents and not yourself. Could you talk about your relationship with Joe Spinell? I always thought he was a great actor like yourself and his untimely death was a great loss to cinema. Sincerely, Scott Pierce Stroudsburg, PA
I love Joe Spinell and considered him a dear friend and would do anything for him. We had met when I had one or two lines in FAREWELL, MY LOVELY. He was truly one of a kind, but he had some very deep personal problems on the set of NIGHTHAWKS and became distant. It was around that time his mother also passed away, who he lived for and Joe was never the same.
8. Sly! Yuletide felicitations! Do you ever look back at your earliest performances - movies like DEATH RACE 2000, LORDS OF FLATBUSH, CAPONE, THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE, FAREWELL MY LOVELY, and BANANAS - and enjoy both your work & the films themselves, or do you find yourself being judgemental of it? Also, if I may ask - how did your cameo in the movie CANNONBALL come about? all the best, Robert Vancouver, BC
No, in the early films, I have to admit I enjoyed watching them, only because they were completely carefree and devoid of any movie-star acting tricks, simply because I didn’t know any. So it’s fun to watch a natural performance without any ego attached. I particularly enjoyed working on CAPONE, because it was like the cheesy, mentally challenged inbred cousin of THE GODFATHER.
9. What is one of your favorite memories from working with Burgess Meredith? curiousvinnie Mahwah, NJ
I remember the way Burgess played the scene with me in the apartment in the first ROCKY, and I had never seen such great character work up close. He was just eating me alive with his intensity and nuance. I asked him how did he do that, and he said, “Because I’m a better pretender than you are.” I said, “Pretending?” and he said, “Yes, acting - it’s just a child’s game played by grownups. The biggest child usually wins.” So from that day on, I tried to specialize in being very immature.
10. Hi Harry, Here's my question to Mr. Stallone: Dear Mr. Stallone, I think Tango & Cash is one of the best "buddy cop movies" out there. I would love to see a reunion of you and Kurt Russell, any chance this might happen? Thank you, Jason Alef
No, the chances of that are pretty slim. The idea is intriguing, but it might look a little weathered, like two old ventriloquist dummies trying to play leading men. But thanks for suggesting it because I had a lot of great times on that film. Kurt nailed some of those scenes, like the pro he is.

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