Hey folks, Harry here to wrap up our latest chat with Stallone. Now, ya know you're headed to see THE EXPENDABLES on August 13th - if not at some occassional midnight screenings the night before. I'm just so happy I see it this coming Saturday morning. Happy happy joy joy! Now, find out if Sly was ever trying out for Han Solo...
1. Hi Sly! I know you are a huge fan of science fiction movies. Is it true you tried out for the role of Han Solo when George Lucas was having a casting call for the first Star Wars movie? Ryan Pominville Hudson, Wi
1. Ryan, Yes as a matter of fact I did and it didn’t meet with much approval since when I stood in front of George Lucas he didn’t look at me once, obviously being very shy. Then I said ‘Well obviously I’m not the right type.’ but it all worked out for the best since I don’t look good in spandex holding a Ray gun.
2. Hi Harry My question for Sly is in 2 parts, and I think it's something all the collectors out there would love to know the answer to: Hi Sly, I'd be very interested to know which props, weapons and costumes you have kept from your films over the years. This was touched on once before but unfortunately you didn't go into much detail. Would you mind listing which items you have kept for yourself - Maybe your top 10 items? (Obviously not including items you've donated to Planet Hollywood or the smithsonian). As a follow up question - do you have them displayed in your home, or are they just locked up in a cupboard somewhere? If you have any pictures to share I would love to see them! Alternatively, if you have grown tired of them, drop me a line and I'll gladly give you my address ;) Keep up the great work, its good to see the expendables getting a good amount of promotion. I'll be standing by the red carpet in Paris, Berlin and London hoping to see you next month for the premieres! Cheers Gary - UK
2. Gary, I keep some displayed in my home. I have the ROCKY gloves and belt, all the RAMBO knives and prototypes, Rambo’s clothing from FIRST BLOOD to the end, a life size replica of JUDGE DREDD and the frozen John Spartan, and of course my bloody clothes from COPLAND.
3. Sly, Firstly, thank you for being a remarkable entertainer and for bestowing so many awesome memories on celluloid for generations to become. My friends and I have been doing 80's Action Hero nights in anticipation for the be all end all of action epics "The Expendables". I have been put in charge of Stallone night. So instead of doing predictable movies like a Rocky or Rambo, I have decided to present "The Fantastic and Underappreciated Works of Sylvester Stallone". I have chosen "Cliffhanger", "Shade", and my favorite comedy of errors of all time "Oscar". The documentary on "Cliffhanger is priceless by the way. "..Rudolph?!"....Rudolph??" Enough gushing let me get to a question. My question is about my favorite of your non franchised films. Demolition Man. This movie was such a bravura mix of unbelievable action,compelling sci-fi, and gut splitting humor. What was it like to share the screen with Wesley Snipes who you had phenomenal chemistry with, and were there ever talks of a sequel with the John Spartan character? And please no profanity in your response or I will fine you one half credit for violation of the verbal morality stature. -Mathew B. West Covina,CA PS: Rocky Balboa and Rocky IV are equal parts Heart and Fire. And they stuck with me to this day! Thanks for bringing Dolph back!
3. Mathew, DEMOLITION MAN was a great concept and I thought wonderfully directed by newcomer Marco Brambilla, but I think there was a lack of good luck in the marketing, so the film really never caught on as being an off kilter sci-fi film, sort of a modern day parody of the future. But I loved making it, especially my BS sessions with Sandra Bullock and Dennis Leary. Wesley Snipes and I had some of the more painful battle scenes. There was a lot of unintentional contact there.
4. Hi Sly. 1) Have you ever been approached about playing the Punisher and do you have any thoughts about/interest in the character? None of the filmatizations have quite hit the spot and I always thought you were the obvious choice. Especially now you are the only actor I can imagine capable of pulling off an undiluted portrayal of Frank Castle with his Vietnam war origin intact. My imaginary dream project would be a run of HBO miniseries' adapting Garth Ennis' defining run on Punisher MAX mixing real-life horrors with bloody vigilante justice. You are probably not familiar with it, but with Rambo fresh in mind the material and sensibilities should be right up your alley. 2) These Q&A sessions have brought up the issue of the next generation of actors not being as tough/capable as the one that came before, which makes me think of David Fincher's Fight Club. One of the many things it strongly suggests is how young men today don't have the struggles or challenges that defined prior generations and helped them grow into adults, with the main character declaring that he's a "thirty-year-old boy". Have you seen the movie and do you have any thoughts on it? Lastly I have to say I'm delighted that your career has hit a new creative and commercial peak as a writer/director, and I don't think you get enough credit for being able to do so much more than "just" starring in action movies. I hope and believe your writing and directing talents will keep you prolific even as the days as an action star comes to an end (which, given your current pace frankly seems unlikely). All the best, and I hope you will have many productive years left both in front of and behind the camera. Rikard from Norway.
4. Rikard, I’m very interested in THE PUNISHER on several levels and think the story should be resuscitated with or without me. Its just always been mounted improperly. Secondly, I think young men will find their own physical medium in which to prove themselves. It’s not their fault they don’t have a cinematic outlet for their physical prowess. I know in the future they will. There’s a welling desire among young male audiences to see rugged manifestations of themselves. That is why MMA is so successful.
Hi Sly - love it when you and Harry do these Q&As Im writing what I hope will one day be a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. Now deep down I know I havent a cats chance in hell of this happening but every now and then I do a little bit on it - be it an idea, a few paragraphs, a line of dialogue etc. Hell I’m not even at the script stage yet - im focusing on turning the idea into a short story and submitting it to an online competition - it’s a Sci Fi idea that I guess you could say its been done before in a bunch of different ways but I feel that it has an original slant (like what you said the other day about how “everythings been done and it’s a matter of how you reinterpret styles and concepts to make it fresh and original” - great, inspiring words to an aspiring writer) Anyway I was wondering if you could somehow talk us through a little of the trails and tribulations of writing the first Rocky - was it as a short story first? Did you think about turning it into a novel? or did you go straight into it as a screenplay etc how hard was it sitting there and trying to bang it out - the doubts, indecisions (if there were any) Was it a prolonged thing taking years or was it in a few months etc All that stuff…and any advice you could give to first time writers like myself Gonna be getting Expended in a couple of weeks …several times… Best Wishes Sly PC
5. PC, ROCKY was written without any notes or bullet points or treatment format. My style is to just bang it out knowing that 80 percent of it will be useless come the 2nd draft, but each good idea triggers 10 more, so script writing is an evolutionary process. Like a snake shedding his skin after each shedding the project gets stronger and more vital. That old saying is so true: Writers don’t write, they rewrite. I’ve never been hung up on perfection the first time around. I leave that to the geniuses. I’d rather write with fiery exuberance rather than cold logic. That can come later.
6. What happened to Paulie’s robot in Rocky 4? Did you get to take it home after the film? That was awesome… Click Here -Brian
6. Brian, Actually I wish that I had taken that robot and crushed it in a nearby trash compactor. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had seen that robot perform at a party and was so intrigued I thought ‘My god people haven’t seen something like this since Robby the Robot.’ I got carried away. I would’ve been better off having a vacuum cleaner; at least it would’ve been more in character. Thanks anyway.
7. Greetings to Sly and Harry from Ghana West Africa, I admire both of your works and look forward to seeing Harry in his new higher position and Sly in this summers THE EXPENDABLES (which can no longer be considered a dark horse after comic-con:) My family and I have been fans for a long time and watching THE EXPENDABLES closely since last June when I read Harry's set review of when he saw the team in action and he mentioned a name that is kind of a big deal here in Ghana. Amoaku, as in Senyo Amoaku, he is the son of a well-respected tribal leader and Professor here he is from a tribe of warrior scholars, after reading now we're seeing Senyo looking AWESOME in the trailers and clips (I saw Letterman on youtube!) With all the great action in this film, do you see potential in the him/younger actors of this film apart from the veteran actors? I know you've both made a commitment to breaking new stars and after seeing this African son in all these clips he is like a star here now, but what impacted you to put him in the trailers and all that? Do you see something particular about him or any of the other extras in the film or did you just like the scene? Africa is wondering... Also is the Expendables going to play anywhere in Africa, it doesn't say...? Your The Best Sly, you too Harry...GO EXPENDABLES! Sincerely, Kweku
7. Kweku, When you’re good, you’re good and the proverbial cream rose to the top. I didn’t do him a favor by casting him; he did me a favor by being the embodiment of the character. I’ve always prided myself in being able to identify special individuals, that’s why both pirate leaders were chosen after hundreds were seen. It was simply no contest, you got it or you don’t. And can they go on to greater heights? The sky’s the limit!
8. Greeting Sly, In your long career you have had a opportunity to work with a lot of great directors and actors. A prime example of this is, acting legend Anthony Quinn, in 2002's Avenging Angelo. Can you tell us your thoughts on working with Mr. Quinn, as well as any insights into the movie and why you think AA never really found a home. For people who did not see this movie they need to check it out for the simple reason that Stallone does a great job playing Frankie Delano. The part of Frankie was played in a very natural, light-hearted and honest way. If I had to guess I would say that Sly was in a very good place in his life during the filming of this movie because it comes across in his character. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Fan for Life! Craig Farkas Beulah, MI
8. Craig, I loved Anthony Quinn, absolutely adored him. He was in very poor health, but never, ever led on that he was dealing with incredible pain. Even reading lines off screen to him would make my eyes well up because I knew he wasn’t long for this earth, and he’ll never ever come close to being replaced. He was a great man, a great artist, tough as nails, and had pure compassion. The way he hugged and loved his son and daughter knowing that the end was near was absolutely heart shattering. Loved the man. AVENGING ANGEL could’ve been a fine film, but unfortunately we had certain people at the helm that didn’t have its best interest at heart. Too bad, I thought it had great potential. Instead it became superficial.
9. Mr. Stallone, First of all, I wish you the best of success with "The Expendables". My wife and I will both be there opening night (assuming she doesn't give birth that weekend, and even then we may still make it). My question is prefaced with this: Reportedly back in the 1970's, Clint Eastwood (having recently completed "Dirty Harry") ran into John Wayne, who proceeded to let Eastwood know that he wasn't a big fan of Harry Callahan because it was "too violent" compared to the films that made Wayne a household name. With all of your great success in the action genre, have you ever been approached by a member of the "old guard" and been told that perhaps you take things a bit too far and are "too violent" compared to the films they may have made? Thanks. -Michael Lamkin Little Rock, AR
9. Michael, I had conversations with John Wayne and Telly Savalas and Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin on several occasions and all of them had completely different points of view, which is understandable. We are products of the age in which we reach manhood, so naturally anything different than that paradigm seems contrary to great filmmaking. But that’s the same in any field of art. You can imagine if Rembrandt was shown a Picasso. He would have hit the ceiling. Michelangelo working alongside Andy Warhol would’ve been conversation that would have left your jaws agape. Time moves on and styles move with it.
10. Dear Mr. Stallone- I am writing this e-mail in the hopes that it does in fact make it to you. I was born in 1979 and I am the son of a United States Marine and Vietnam Veteran. My father volunteered for infantry duty following high school and eventually ended up in the Combined Action Program living within the South Vietnamese villages and training local militia. It was the Marine Corp equivalent to the Green Beret programs at the time. That being said, some of my earliest memories as a child were watching First Blood and First Blood 2 with my father. He obviously identified with the emotional struggles of the character, compassion for those that didn’t make it home, as well as the political changes that occurred at that time. In 2008 he suffered a heart attack and subsequently had quadruple bypass surgery. He’s back kicking ass but during the time he was in surgery I spent a lot of time thinking of growing up with him and the bonding that occurred while watching your films. I even enjoyed later in life giving him a copy of Copland to watch and taking him to see Rocky Balboa and Rambo. It was great to be able to continue that bond at 30 and 58 when at times in my teens it seemed the only way we could connect was through your films. So thank you very much for providing that avenue, I imagine I am not the only 30ish to share that connection with their father. I live 1200 miles from him now and will unfortunately not be able to see The Expendables together but hopefully we will be able to talk about it. So now my question. As I grow older one of the major things I enjoy about the 80’s action films are their high level of optimism about America and its place in the world. Whether it was Rambo 2, Rambo 3, Rocky 4, Red Dawn, etc. they made American’s feel invincible (and a bit cocky) but also proud of whom we are. The unbelievably ripped action heroes were a great physical manifestation of who we were as a nation. Post 9/11 I think many would love to feel that way again as we have transitioned from the great action heroes to action stars such as Matt Damon, Nic Cage, and Tom Cruise. All great actors but I can’t buy them as action heroes. Movies today seem to have the opposite effect and are focused too much on our flaws as nation and our failed foreign policy (Avatar, Green Zone). Do you feel this is simply because of the changing generations in Hollywood, a true reflection of the national temperature, or just an overall loss in optimism following the end of the American century that is reflected in the stories told on screen? Thank you and sorry for the long message. I’ve wanted to send this for awhile but never really knew where to go with it! Brian W. Thueme Hutchinson, KS