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Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky after 40 Years

Sylvester Stallone recently returned to the big screen as Rocky Balboa after nearly 40 years of playing the character, but the actor said he wasn’t always so confident that he made a good Rocky.

“The reason that I didn’t want to write it is because it’s a whole new generation,” Stallone told DeGeneres. “Forty years has passed, and what worked in my generation doesn’t exactly work in this generation. Everything’s just changed.”

Stallone went on to explain that he got on board when Creed director Ryan Coogler approached him with a story idea about Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son. The young, upcoming boxer Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) turns to the aging Rocky to help him train and to teach him how to live up to his father’s legacy in the ring.

“He’s really good,” Stallone added about Jordan. “He’s the next thing. I mean, he really is.”

Stallone also appeared on The Late Show and when host Stephen Colbert talked about how Stallone refused to give the movie studio the script that he wrote for Rocky unless he could play the lead role.

“Was it hard to convince [everyone] that you should be playing it?” asked Colbert, pointing out that Stallone was relatively inexperienced at the time.

“One hundred percent,” said Stallone. “I doubted myself. Are you kidding? They said basically over our dead body because at that time you had a lot of young actors who were energetic: Jimmy Caan and Burt Reynolds and Ryan O’Neil.

“Everyone fancied themselves as a fighter and they said who’s that guy with the crooked mouth and the droopy — no, forget him. He looks like a heavy bag, leave him … I don’t know if it could happen today because really, I was not qualified on paper. It was a terrible choice they made; I just got lucky.”

We’re not sure the academy would agree: The first Rocky movie won the Oscar for Best Film in 1977, and Stallone was nominated for awards that year both as an actor and for best screenplay.

Adonis Creed, son of Apollo, was inspired by his dad, who showed him the Rocky movies over and over when he was growing up.

And as Coogler told the story about a father-son relationship between Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed, the young filmmaker and his cast found themselves being coached off-screen by Rocky himself.

“There was a lot of art imitating life,” said Coogler, 29. “The same way Rocky has this advice for Adonis, (Stallone) would kind of treat (us) the same way.”

Creed, which is already garnering strong reviews, tells the story of Adonis Creed, the illegitimate son of Rocky’s late opponent-turned-friend Apollo Creed. Adonis never met his father, but he wants to be a professional fighter, so he goes to Philadelphia to seek Rocky’s help. Though initially reluctant, the old champ agrees to coach the young boxer, and they form a filial bond that grows in tandem with the stakes they face.

When Coogler first pitched Stallone the idea of another Rocky film, the Hollywood veteran wasn’t too gung-ho. The young filmmaker was fresh out of graduate school, and Stallone had hung up Rocky’s gloves years earlier in 2006’s Rocky Balboa.

“He was kind and he listened really intently, but I think he was kind of apprehensive,” Coogler said. “I don’t think he was so into it.”

This was before Coogler’s first feature, Fruitvale Station, won honors at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals and heralded him and Jordan as talents to watch.

The role of Adonis Creed would require an actor as dedicated to his training as Rocky was for his first big fight. On this, Stallone and Coogler agreed.

“He’s a fantastic actor,” Stallone said of his 28-year-old co-star. “He’s so dedicated.”

Jordan spent a year physically preparing for the role. When he met Stallone, he “was like an uncle,” Jordan said, “somebody I could sit down and talk shop with.”

If Stallone recognized the young men’s work ethic, Coogler and Jordan were awed by his. They saw what Coogler described as “a 68-year-old dude with nothing to prove” who filled the margins of his script with handwritten notes and reflected on his scenes hours after they’d wrapped.

Such dedication inspired the younger men to work harder.

“I don’t ever want to be in a position where I can’t answer his questions, so I’ve got to do the work myself,” said Coogler, who was inspired by Stallone’s commitment to the craft. Coogler directs the Oscar-nominated actor to one of the most affecting performances of his career.

“The reason that I didn’t want to write it is because it’s a whole new generation,” Stallone told DeGeneres. “Forty years has passed, and what worked in my generation doesn’t exactly work in this generation. Everything’s just changed.”

 

About Meuriel Watcham

Meuriel Watcham
I am a South African Living In Brisbane Australia I do love writing, as a writer I make it my priority to cover news and articles with accurate information. I am committed to deliver interesting and exciting content keeping my audience engaged and coming back for more. I cover a broad spectrum of topics. I am currently writing an autobiography, which is my passion. I love cooking and baking. also one of my passions. I love rugby, and want to learn to play the saxophone. Watching movies and go shopping is my favourite pastime.