Sylvester Stallone’s gripping tale from rags to cinematic glory and the physical toll of his dedication to realism in the film is chronicled in the revealing Netflix documentary “Sly.” The film delves into the actor’s ascension to stardom in the 1980s and the significant personal cost that came with his ambitious approach to performing his stunts.
Stallone, in “Sly,” shares a scary incident on set. During the shoot of “Rocky IV”, he had a brush with death. Dolph Lundgren, his co-star, punched him so hard that Stallone ended up in the hospital for more than a week. The punch was dangerous enough to send him to the ICU as his heart enlarged and his blood pressure spiked dangerously up to 260.
The star, who won an Oscar, thought about the effect of pushing himself so hard. He went through many back surgeries and sustained a neck injury that required a permanent metal implant. Despite enduring all this pain, Stallone questioned his actions. He wondered if the praise and recognition were worth the suffering he underwent.
Behind the Scenes of “Rocky”
- Script Evolution: Stallone’s documentary “Sly” offers a deeper understanding of “Rocky’s” genesis. The initial portrayal of Rocky Balboa was hardened and “thuggish,” modeled after the characters in Scorsese’s “Mean Streets.” It took a friend’s candid disapproval to pivot Rocky towards a more sympathetic light, which in turn helped create the cinematic icon known for his big heart and down-to-earth charm.
- Franchise Success: With the release of “Rocky,” Stallone not only reinvented the sports drama genre but also spawned a franchise that continues to captivate audiences worldwide. The film’s underdog story resonated with millions, transforming it into a box office behemoth and earning multiple Academy Awards.
- Casting Challenges: Despite the screenplay’s strong emotional core, getting “Rocky” made was a challenge. Stallone faced numerous rejections before the film’s acceptance, proving that the grit and determination mirrored in Rocky’s character were reflective of Stallone’s struggles in Hollywood.
Revisiting Iconic Roles
Aside from discussing the transformation of Rocky’s character, Stallone revisited other memorable moments from his career in “Sly.” He reminisced over the injuries sustained while filming action-packed scenes with wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for “The Expendables,” highlighting the intensity he brought to his roles, often at the expense of his health.
Stallone’s Reflections on Fame and Writing
In “Sly,” Stallone is candid about the allure and pitfalls of fame. He muses on the nature of celebrity and the inherent human need for validation that often drives people to extremes. He also touches on his writing process, revealing the philosophical musings behind his characters and the importance of writing from personal experience.
The documentary not only narrates Stallone’s physical trials but also brings to light his skill as a writer, shaping “Rocky” into a character who, despite flaws and setbacks, inspired millions with his undying spirit and determination.
Stallone’s “Rocky” is available for streaming on various platforms, such as Max and Prime Video, and fans can witness the culmination of his career-long pursuit of bringing authenticity and relatability to the screen.
Stallone’s Takeaway on Risk and Reward
Looking back, Stallone’s career is a testament to the highs and lows of the film industry. In “Sly,” he offers a raw and honest look at the cost of his cinematic achievements, suggesting that sometimes the price of success can come at a significant personal sacrifice.
Through the physical toll on his body and the constant search for approval, Stallone’s story is not just one of a celebrated actor but also of a man constantly battling against his limits. It’s a story of courage, pain, and ultimate redemption, which continues to inspire both on and off the screen.
To learn more about Sylvester Stallone and watch his iconic films, visit Netflix for the documentary “Sly” and stream his legendary performances.
The intensity that Stallone brought to his roles is emblematic of his dedication to the craft. His admission in the documentary of doing his stunts – even when it meant severe physical repercussions – showcases the extent of his commitment to authenticity in his performances. It is this very realness, paired with his storytelling, that has helped Sylvester Stallone become a household name, synonymous with perseverance and strength.