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Lucky Round #13 - Sly's off to the Premiere in Philly, yet still answers your questions exclusively on AICN!!!

Hey folks, Harry here - Stallone is in Philly hosting the premiere of ROCKY BALBOA. I guarantee you that screening will be a madhouse. If a buncha geeks in Austin, Texas found themselves chanting ROCKY ROCKY ROCKY and pumping arms in the air and standing, stomping their feet during the end fight... I can't imagine how it'll play in the land of cheesesteaks. Here's the 13th edition...

1. My question is: If there was one piece of advice you'd give to someone with an idea for a film, what would it be and how would I get it made? Cheers Martin Yuille Scotland, UK
The business has changed so radically… there are no direct channels, but the worst thing you can do is chase some producer down and confront him in a parking lot while loudly spouting the “original take” and “potential greatness” of your script. You have to target your audience the same way you have to target your producers. Seek out those who have a penchant for the kind of material you’ve written, and in a sophisticated manner, submit and resubmit until their curiosity takes over. But the idea of just sending a script to an actor expecting him to respond is going to lead to disappointment. Most actors take months to read scripts that are actually sent from their own agency.
2. Hi Harry I would love for you to pass this on to Sly. Hi Sly. My name is Simon and I'm lucky enough to have just seen Rocky Balboa. I work for an in-flight entertainment company, so managed to see it early. Don't worry, i'm going to see it at the cinema as well. I cant express how much I loved the film. I've always loved your Rocky films and they've been very important to me through the years, however this one was more moving than any film i have seen for quite a while. I could write for absolutely ages about the things I admired about the film and how I am so pleased that it has more than lived up to my expectations, however i'd like to ask this question: to me the film is the saddest film i have seen all year; how intentional was the film's understated realism and almost documentary like feel? Thanks very much Regards Simon Tutton (London, England)
Thank you very much, Simon, I appreciate it. There are certain vindictive turds that have thinly disguised agendas against me; therefore, they put a cloud over the project and try to corrupt and manipulate people’s opinions. I guess this goes under the heading “misery loves company”… and the talk-backer knows who I’m talking about. I wanted this film to be a love letter to the people who have garnered any satisfaction with the franchise, and to make up for the misfiring of ROCKY V. The look and the feel of the film was designed to reflect the psyche of Rocky, the way the world is perceived through his eyes - which at this point is shadowy, gray and uneventful. So, to answer your question, I wanted this film to be as raw as the feelings are, but still have the connection with the composition of the original ROCKY.
3. Hi Mr. Stallone; Thanks for all the wonderfully thrilling films you've given us over the years. In them you've fought against an impressively broad range of tough and crazy guy villains from David Carradine to Rutger Hauer to Steven Berkoff to Donald Sutherland to Jack Palance to John Lithgow to Wesley Snipes to James Woods to Antonio Banderas to Harvey Keitel, etc. Of all those guys in your films, which one was the most enjoyable for you to work with and face off against? Thanks in advance, ExcaliburFfolkes Houston, TX
Jimmy Woods is fantastic because of his mercurial wit… and pension to homicidal reaction. Rutger Hauer is a little demented, so he was fantastic work with. He took a lot of pain on that shoot, especially when a squid placed on his abdomen was flipped backwards and the explosive charge blew right into his flesh. Most guys would have gone to the hospital… he kept working, reeking blood and all. The greatest fight scene I’ve ever been involved in was with Hulk Hogan, because there was no trickery in that. You can’t fake gravity. And Dolph Lundgren… this man is a beast, folks - super strong, super tough, super smart - the man once had a scholarship to M.I.T. in chemical engineering. But the fellow I really wanted to kill the most (while in character) was Harold Diamond, who was my stick-fighting opponent in RAMBO III, and truly a legitimate badass. That was, without exception, a brutal scene to shoot.
4. Hi Mr. Stallone, Your role as an action star also made you an icon of masculinity over the years. I remember around the time you made Cop Land there was an interview that talked about how the vanity of bodybuilding was feminine in a way, and how the character struggles in Cop Land were a different kind of masculinity. I'm wondering how the Rocky Balboa film fits into that. How have your views on masculinity (or what it means to be a man) changed over the years? Curt
ROCKY BALBOA is kind of happy medium between the two. I chose to be thicker (consequently more bulky) and vanity was certainly thrown out the window. Bodybuilding is a vanity sport, and to call it anything else would be wrong, but that’s not a bad thing… unless you are hung up on wearing skin-tight red lycra wife-beaters to church on Sunday, which kinda screams, “You need medical attention at once.”
5. Hey Mr. Stallone, These movies introduced me to the sport of boxing where I learned about some of the greats Jack Johnson, Joe louis, Rocky Marciano, Mohammed Ali, Sugar Ray...and so many others. I was wondering who do you think embodies the character of Rocky the most? and who is your favourite fighter Sincerily, JONATHAN KOUMARIS
There is no question that Rocky Marciano is the template of my character and actually gave my character validity - that a small, clumsy fighter can wreak havoc against vastly superior opponents - because of his willingness to endure pain and his potential to deliver it C.O.D. Boxing is probably the toughest sport in the world. I know UFC people will disagree, but it truly is. So I admire the older fighters that had to endure much more pain and fight under more brutal conditions than the modern day fighters, who are quite often (I’m referring to the cream of the crop) pampered. In the old days you wouldn’t ever be a main event fighter until you had 40 or 50 fights, and a career would be at least 250 bouts. But the greatest fighter that ever lived, beyond dispute, pound-for-pound, is Sugar Ray Robinson. No one comes close, or ever will.
6. Hi Sly! I’m your true fan from Russia, and here is my questions: Is it true, that at one point you should be director and a star in “The Godfather, Part III”? What was your part, and why it never happens? Also can you confirm your past involvement in “The Midnight Club”, “Bartolomew vs. Neff”, “Dolan's Cadillac” and “Ali Baba and the 40 thieves”. What happens with these projects? -- Thanx, Dennis
Charlie Bluhdorn, who was the head honcho at Paramount and a really colorful character, approached me while I was working on STAYING ALIVE. He had actually had a huge poster made up, saying “THE GODFATHER III - Written, Directed By and Starring Sylvester Stallone.” I said, “Why don’t you just rent a blimp, fill it full of old pianos and drop them all squarely on my face - because that’s what the critics will do.” Coppola created masterpieces, and I was going to cover them in sludge? Not likely. So naturally I turned it down, but was extremely flattered. Coppola went on to do the third one, which had my favorite form of assassination - the ever-faithful, never to be doubted, man-size serving of poison cannolis.”
7. Yo Sly, Can you tell me some of what it was like on the set of Death Race 2000? I'm thinking it must have been like sipping water from a fire hose, man!!! Did you have any idea that it could end up as a cult classic? peace, Giles O'Dell Olympia, WA
No, I thought it was cheesiest thing I had ever seen - all the cars were constructed of rattling plastic, taped haphazardly over a Volkswagen chassis. But, then something miraculous happened - the damn crazy concept took on a life of its own because of Paul Bartel’s ironic twists on corporate violence, which was now responsible for funding all sports, which is now intertwined with government and bloodletting… hello, ancient Rome. The hard part was concentrating while people were walking around nude. I hadn’t seen that since THE PARTY AT KITTY AND STUDS (which I’ll address for the more moribund readers that want to splice and dice the skeletons in my genitorial closet). I was broke and basically sleeping in the Port Authority bus station for three weeks straight. I owned two shirts, three pairs of underwear, a pair of pants and a jacket - all of which I had on at the same time since I had no place to put them. I read in a trade paper about this film that was paying $100 a day - for a $100 a day I would wreak havoc. At that time everything in New York was naked. The play HAIR, OH CALCUTTA!, CHE, and even the semi-nude production I had done called DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL, written by none other than Pablo Picasso. So I showed up and found myself literally standing in the valley of the skanks. The show was so cheesy it didn’t even have sound. There was no real sex involved, just bad imitations and the close proximity of skankalicious skin. I was dumb, desperate, and dying to perform anywhere… so mistakes were made. After I made ROCKY, someone tried to blackmail me with the tape, wanting a million dollars. I said, “For a million dollars I’ll re-make the film, this time with sounds.” Actually, I hated the process so much that it is pretty obvious by my appendage, which is trying to retreat in my body, seeking safe haven…. “Oh, the horror.”
8. Sly, about ten years ago on late night TV, they showed "No Place To Hide." It was interesting because you were an urban terrorist walking around New York City and meeting woman, very reminiscent of the Wolfgar character in "Nighthawks." The film had a very depressing and pretty shocking ending dealing with your character accidently killing your girlfriend with a hidden bomb. A real downer of an ending. Knowing that you seem to like to end your movies on a high note, did this bother you, even at this very early part of your career? Mark
Yes, that film was done for $10,000 - which is also something I came across in a trade magazine. I didn’t know any better at the time, but I realized the film was pretty simply and roughly shot because of the lack of expertise (and money). But the director was very ambitious and a nice guy named Robert Allen Schnitzer - how can anyone forget that name? Yeah, the ending was depressing, but so was the beginning… and actually so was the middle, therefore it was consistent.
9. Hi, Some Books or critics from the 80's said that Rocky or Rambo were Reagan heroes I've always thought that Rocky or Rambo were politically neutral...even in Rambo II and Rocky IV What's your opinion ? Thanks Laurent K. (Sly System Webmaster, a fan Site)
Dear Laurent… you couldn’t be more right. I won’t belabor the subject, but ROCKY is so neutral it would be beige. RAMBO may have started out gung-ho, but his speech at the end of FIRST BLOOD suddenly places him as disillusioned and completely politically apathetic. What happened is, Reagan had a poster made up that said, “Rambo is Republican,” and that was the end of that.
10. Hey Sly, I was wondering how you came about getting Survivor to write Eye of the Tiger, one of the greatest movie songs of all time and will we get to hear anything from them in Balboa? Keep up the good work! Stephen Alexander Charlotte, NC
No, there will not be any Survivor songs in ROCKY BALBOA, but I’ve been walking around with the phrase, “Eye of the Tiger,” in my head for many years, and eventually wrote it into ROCKY III. They were a new group, and I gave the script to a producing team and label called Scotti Brothers, who owned the group Survivor. They pulled the phrase out of the script and wrote the song. When I first heard it I couldn’t believe my ears - it was too good to be true. I played it for a group of Teamsters and said, “Tell me if I’m crazy - is this great or what?” They said, “We love it.” This is one time when a pig and a poke morphed into a pearl.

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