Sylvester Stallone appeared in person at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday afternoon for an in-conversation appearance at the festival’s end.
The talk was part of a screening for the original “Rocky” movie and Stallone was on hand to reflect on the making of the iconic feature which helped launch his career as both a leading man and film writer.
The film, about an underdog boxer in Philadelphia, launched a film franchise that spawned five mostly well-regarded sequels and a further spin-off trilogy. The character also became one of his defining roles alongside John Rambo.
He was in the early stages of writing Rocky whilst working as a movie theater usher and took the approach of just “writing about what I knew”. He says:
“I was writing about this little kind of mentally challenged guy who happened to have a lot of heart… I wanted to write a movie about a guy who says: ‘I’m not great at all, never will be. I fight great fighters. But I just want the opportunity to go the distance.’ Nobody wanted to make it. It was my best writing too.”
United Artists did, and the rest is history. In the talk, Stallone also spoke about his longevity as an actor and says:
“I didn’t have the bones to be a Shakespearean actor. It’s important as an artist to know what your strengths are, but more important to know your weaknesses.
Action heroes should shut their mouth. Action guys who perform heroic deeds don’t talk about it. They just do it. And it’s that simple.
That’s the kind of thing you have to be really ruthless and not care about how foolish you look… That’s when I realized what it is to lose yourself in acting. I didn’t care. I literally was this guy for that moment.”
Across 50 films, the actor has pulled in over $3 billion at the box office. The world premiere of the career-spanning Netflix documentary “Sly” closed out the Toronto Film Festival last night. That film hits the streamer later this year, whilst Stallone can also be seen in “Expend4bles” hitting cinemas on Friday.
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