Hey folks, Harry here and this first question and answer... well I find it hysterical. What you have is Edgar Wright writing to try and get Stallone to promise to see SCOTT PILGRIM - and Sly being... well, STALLONE. It is epic. I also love the answer to the "Do you work out to your own movie themes answer. I can't help but read these in Stallone's voice and they kill me. I've pretty much got all the questions that I need on the Stallone front, but shortly I'll be asking for Edgar Wright Questions for next week! So let's get back to it... Here ya go...
1. Mr Stallone, my question is this. Will you go and see Scott Pilgrim Vs The World on opening weekend if I go and see The Expendables? Bear in mind that I saw Rambo and Rocky Balboa opening day and loved them both. Yours faithfully, Edgar Wright (age 36) UK p.s. neither of us have to see Eat, Pray, Love.
1. Edgar, I promise to see SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD only if you pull your spleen out through your nose with a tractor cable. Now, I admire the technology in SCOTT PILGRIM, I’m a supporter, I’m a fan of hard work and I believe this film is entitled to be a bona fide hit, but I truly believe if I were to grab the proverbial bag of bonbons and buttered popcorn and plop my carcass dead center preparing to enjoy the movie in all its glory, the ghosts of Charles Bronson and John Wayne would rise from their graves and snap me to death with oil soaked rat tail towels. So needless to say, I wish him well, but I gotta stay true to my roots so I’ll be watching EAT PRAY LOVE.
2. Rocky IV is my favorite. If it's ever on TV, I got to leave it on. It's a rule. 1st question. Do you ever workout to the soundtracks of your own movies? I mean 'Hearts of Fire' and 'Training' in Rocky IV always gets me goin at the gym. If not, what do you listen to when you workout? 2nd question. In the 80s, Russians were the ultimate villains. It felt so natural to point the finger at them. Today things seem more complex. Everybody is drinking different kool-aid. Does it make it harder to create compelling villans? This leads me to my final question. How is the audience different today from what it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s? Smarter, dumber, same? Thanks Sly, you and your films mean a lot to me, my friends and family. -- Zachary Zabayle Hacienda Heights, Ca
2. Zachary, a.) I enjoy the music from the ROCKYs, but if you were to walk into a gym and I was doing jumping jacks to GONNA FLY NOW, you most likely would judge me as a complete buffoon who enjoys nothing more than popping his own farts with his teeth. Now, as crude as that may seem and as dull a question as anyone could wish for, let me state that it’s very important for one’s growth even when entering the final stages of senility, such as yours truly here, to listen to diverse music. This keeps the mind churning. b.) Actually, the Russians are still the ultimate villains, they’re just better dressed. Just kidding. Not really. I don’t know. Look, I’m on the fence about the Russian experience. I truly like Russians, I really do and they are no more villains than any other super power, so if you’re focusing on a new kind of villain, it should be the sub-group within a nation that’s the target, not the nation itself. Every strata of society is imbued with its cancerous population that preys on the helpless and unwitting. Those are the individuals we enjoy smashing into primordial ooze. c.) Audiences today are much smarter. Simple point in fact; can you imagine producing MR. ED, or lining up to see FRANCIS THE TALKING MULE at your neighborhood cinema? Films have become infinitely more sophisticated in a technological sense because the audience demands it from the creative entities. But unfortunately, the written word has gone the way of the passenger pigeon. It remains only safe and sound on the stage. For example: to me the best written/talking heads film of all time is THE LION IN WINTER, which is virtually etymologically sound. How’s that for flaunting an archaic vocabulary?
3. Hey Sly Greeting from Trinidad and Tobago, big fan of yours ever since I could walk. Just wanted to ask, one of my favorite scenes in Rambo First Blood Part 2 is the riverboat scene where Rambo explains the meaning of the word "expendable" to Co. I don't know but that explaination just made so much sense to me... as a 6 year old kid at the time. Anyways I was wondering if this scene influenced your concept for "The Expendable" in any way or was it just a coincidence? Thanks Sly... will be in line on opening day Damie Sinanan Trinidad and Tobago. Co:"What mean Expendable?" Rambo: "It's like if someone invites you to a party... and you don't show up... it doesn't really matter"
3. Damie, There’s no question that the RAMBO scene and the discussion of expendability influenced my choice for the title THE EXPENDABLES. Early on in my life I believed that if certain people passed on, the world would stop. When Kennedy was shot, as a young man I surmised the world as we knew it would cease to exist and the earth would basically stop turning. But I found out through simple living and deduction that everything and everyone is expendable, not gods, not eternal, not a life force. Therefore when one realizes we’re here basically on borrowed time, that expendability applies to each and every thing, we are really grains of sand. So I made it my sworn duty to pack as much life as I can into my allotment and only wish others would do the same.
4. Hi Harry & Sly Glen here from Adelaide, Australia. Can't wait to see The Expendables, I havn't been this excited for a movie since the Dark Knight! As I'm writing this email to you I have the official Expendables desktop cranking in the background. My question to Sly is this: It's slightly disappointing that we wont be seeing Van Damme in this film. It would have been great to have another awesome action star among the cast. Obviously you are friends with Mr Van Damme and would have liked to have worked with him. But as it is, im still excited for the movie and will be there on opening day, and the fact that you have such an awesome cast is already testament to the star power of this movie. I know maybe it's a bit too early to talk about it, but would you perhaps be interesting in working with Van Damme in the Expendables sequel? I saw Van Damme's reasons for not wanting to work in the movie, which it seems he wanted more of a central role, fleshed out character, and some kind of hearty message I think. His reasons weren't entirely clear. Regardless, do you think perhaps in the future you could come to some sort of agreement with your friend and maybe write him into the Expendables squad for the sequel? Van Damme in the squad with you and the rest of the Expendables would kick all kinds of major arse. Fuck it, while I'm here, ill have to kindly request some possible future Expendables for the sequel: Danny Trejo (Machete is out soon and looks great), Tony Jaa, and a cameo with Chuck Norris (preferably with you and the rest of the boys, kicking it back at a bar, having a few coldies, Chuck sporting an Expendables tat, the bearded one reminiscing about getting your bullet riddled ass out of Afghanistan). Thanks Sly (and Harry) Can't wait til August 12! (<<--Australian release date!)
4. Glen, Don’t you think it’s important when putting together a team that each are of one mind and one goal, not an iconoclastic contrarian who purposely finds fault in everything until finally you realize that some people exist on certain planes and these planes shall never meet. I like Claude, and Claude likes himself, so that makes it unanimous. He has his agenda, which works for him, but a movie like THE EXPENDABLES is a very grueling ordeal. One must be a team player for the goals to be achieved. So sometimes things don’t work out, but I find it’s all for the best. If there’s a sequel to THE EXPENDABLES, I would reach out to the men you mentioned and several others that may be new on the scene, as long as they’re in love with the premise, not the salary.
5. Hello Harry, please ask Mr Stallone: - You and Woody Allen seem to make a good pair (in Bananas and Antz), have you ever been invited to be in one of his other films? - Is it true on Escape to Victory it took you 15 takes to save the penalty, but all the other actors in the shot forgot to react so you had to do another 15 takes? Thank you, Andrew in Sheffield, UK
5. Andrew, Meeting Woody Allen was a real treat. Actually, it was a turning point in my life. When I met him for BANANAS, he rejected me saying I was not ‘intimidating enough.’ I was about to fold my tent and go home, but then I thought ‘Okay Sly, this is one of those serious, life-altering crossroads.’ So, I psyched myself up, dirtied my face, messed up my hair, built up a head of steam, went back to the set, tapped him on the shoulder, locked eyes with him, and through a crooked, semi-snarling expression said ‘Do I intimidate you now, Pal?’ And lo and behold, the job was forthcoming. He had also cast me in BROADWAY DANNY ROSE as the insipid club singer, but unfortunately I didn’t do it.
6. Hello Sly, long time fan here. So you and Junior Gotti are planning on doing a biopic for "The Dapper Don" John Gotti (as reported on TMZ). Will the John Gotti movie be your next film after, "The Expendables"? Are you going to be playing, "The Dapper Don" himself? If so, for how long do you plan on playing the character? The leading role? Just a cameo? Please give us more details on the John Gotti flick you are planning. Thanks! I look forward to seeing, "The Expendables". Kev Brock - Greenwich, N.Y.
6. Kev, The Gotti project is still in its incubative form. The John Gotti story was already aptly portrayed by my friend Armand Assante, so what intrigues me is the aftermath of power, when the lion of the streets is now relegated to an 8X10 foot cell for the remainder of his life. Also the thoughts that pervade his mind coupled with the impact he had on the children near and dear to him provide an inordinate amount of material. Yet the project is still far away from coming into being.
7. Mr. Stallone, We've grown up on the action movies of the 1980s, where lines are drawn; the characters are clearly developed as good or evil, and evil is always punished. You had a monumental hand in creating this genre. What do you think the appeal is of the action hero? How are action roles in THE EXPENDABLES adapted to the film audience of 2010 while still maintaining the essence of the 1980s? Thank you. -Chris (St. Louis, MO)
7. Chris, Action films; past, present and future are really a device for maintaining modern mythology. In reality, evil quite often triumphs over good and its effects have devastating longevity. So I believe the action film supplies an outlet for optimism and the unwavering belief that heroes, under great physical threat, rise and vanquish the oppressors. I believe it’s a necessity that these sorts of modern day street fables continue to provide an example that perseverance and bravery prevail. Now, in THE EXPENDABLES, we tried to show, without being overbearing, that these men are misfits in society, yet still hunger to be useful, to triumph overwhelming odds, not for money, but to keep them feeling compassionate and alive. Because when one is a mercenary in any facet of life, because you do not have to be a mercenary with a gun, you could be a mercenary in any occupation, at the end of your life, you’re nothing but a hollow drum that no one wants to hear played. What’s important to me is if you can slip in a bit of spiritual taxonomy, spiritual signifiers that somehow touch a deeper cord than just violence, for example: sacrificing your life for the life of an innocent stranger, thus proving human dignity must prevail at all costs.
8. Hello and thank you, Mr. Knowles and Mr. Stallone for doing this. The last time you took questions from the fans, I believe no one asked about Copland, one of my favorite films of yours. My question is not very specific; I would just like to know things about the shooting: how did you prepare for it, how was it working with Robert De Niro, any anecdotes you may want to share with us. Thank you and will see you at the movies in just a few days. Best, Jorge Munoz Auburn, AL 36830
8. Jorge, COPLAND was a fascinating experience because to play the part I had to divest myself of all that had come before, such as; muscles and being proactive in the majority of my films. The director, Jim Mangold, who was incredibly adamant about adhering to his vision, wanted my character Freddy to be filled with non-physical courage, a type of bravery that everyman and everyone, perhaps some reading this would share. By that I’m referring to the ability to rise up and do something heroic knowing that you may not survive, but the stakes are worth it. Every human being has a breaking point, a code of honor, and if challenged enough it will eventually cause one to rise up. Working with DeNiro was great. As fate would have it, my first day on set was my biggest scene and here I am with Bobby and I knew that if the goods weren’t delivered this day, my performance would be filed under the heading ‘Failure’ and dumped into the cinematic trash bin. I was acting with Bobby, yet he was unusually subdued and it was not the way I had pictured the scene going. I needed him to push and insult me until I broke, but it wasn’t happening. So between takes I went to Harvey Weinstein and told him I was dying, that the scene is about as exciting as sitting on warm gum. I said ‘Harvey, if you don’t mind, I’d like to keep the cameras rolling.’ I also conveyed this to Jim Mangold. I continued past the last line of scripted dialogue and began to ad lib. I could see Bobby’s eyes glaze over as if to say ‘What the hell is going on?’ But, I continued to ad lib until finally I think just to shut me up he exploded in classic DeNiro style and the scene came to life, for which I am eternally grateful. As a rule, when directing, I never start with the hardest scene because actors are like artistic athletes and it takes a few days to get into a flow. So that was an eye opening experience that I would never put anyone through again.
9. Sly, Frank Miller wants to see you play BATMAN when you are in your 70's and when Warner Brothers decides to make the older Batman story THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Have you been offered the role for the future and would you accept it if you were offered to play Batman? ABking (Andrew and Mark) ATL and BOSTON
9. Andrew and Mark, It sounds very intriguing. I can certainly relate to his plight and the main concern would be: Do you still have fire in the gut at that age to be interesting to watch? If the flame is still burning, which I suspect it will be, since I have reflux and ulcers anyway, something will still be simmering inside. So yes, that would be quite a revelation. But we might have to re-title the movie BAT BONES if I lose any more weight.
10. Mr. Stallone, In the current Hollywood environment that seems to be appealing to "fanboys" more than ever, how do you feel this has benefited/detracted from your films and moviemaking in general? Cheers, Mike Spano Philadelpha, Pennsylvania