Sylvester Stallone may be 65 years-old, but the actor isn’t exactly sliding into retirement. At an age where most mens' strenuous activity vacillates between rounds of golf and lifting beers at the clubhouse at the end of the day, Stallone is still making action movies. With two films due out this year (The Expendables 2 and the now-delayed Bullet to the Head), the actor shows no signs of slowing down. MaCleans recently caught up with Stallone and the actor reminisced about his feud with Arnold Schwarzenegger, missed opportunities with Quentin Tarantino, and the future of John Rambo. Read on for some choice quotes.
In the ‘80s, Stallone and Schwarzenegger were box office kings – dueling titans of action cinema, each continually trying to outdo the other. While action fans dreamed of a film teaming the pair, it didn’t happen because the actors didn’t like each other.
“We couldn’t stand to be in the same room. But I like a good adversary. It makes you lose sleep and want to get up in the morning and go to the gym. We started in the business almost the same day. We were at the Golden Globes and he had won for best newcomer; I lost for best actor but we had won best picture, and I took this bouquet of flowers and threw it on him like, “It’s on, pal!” From that day on it was a very competitive thing. Then you move on, have families, and you realize that this fellow’s very similar to you. Now we get along great.”
While the duo may be good friends now – not only are they working together on The Expendables 2 and the upcoming The Tomb, but a great picture of them both prepping for shoulder surgery recently turned up online – that competitive spark is still there. When asked who wins in a cage fight, Stallone responds, “I do. Sorry Arnold, but it’s true! You can bench more than me, but I’d out-cage you.”
It’s not exactly common knowledge, but in David Morrell’s novel First Blood, John Rambo dies at the end. While making the film, Stallone didn’t think that was the right way to close the story and opted for a more upbeat finale. Director Quentin Tarantino didn’t approve, calling Stallone a coward for not killing the character and staying true to the book. Stallone’s response? “Quentin, you’re a lunatic. I want to do some sequels, brother.”
This wasn’t the only time Stallone and Tarantino have crossed paths. When asked if he’s turned down roles in Tarantino films, he responds:
“Yeah, two. The De Niro part in Jackie Brown. And Grindhouse, the part Kurt Russell did—I said, “There’s no way. I have two daughters, and this fellow, his hobby is putting teenagers in his car and smashing them into a wall. That’s not going to work.”
Eventually, the conversation returns to Stallone’s iconic John Rambo – and the character's future. Stallone already has a story in mind for the next film.
“I’m dying to do another Rambo. He’s in Arizona on the border. It will involve him going into Mexico. I don’t think Rambo likes Mexicans.”
Then, he drops his biggest bombshell, when asked if he intends to kill the character off. Stallone’s reply is simple and direct – fitting for an actor who played a character of so few words. “Yeah.”
Read more of Stallone’s thoughts on today’s crop of action films, why his career went dormant for a decade, and more by heading to MaCleans.