Sylvester Stallone, the legendary actor who rose to fame with his iconic roles in ‘Rocky’ and ‘Rambo’, attended the world premiere of his biographical documentary ‘Sly’ at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday. The film, directed by John Herzfeld, chronicles Stallone’s life and career from his humble beginnings to his global success.
Stallone, who is 77 years old, told Entertainment Tonight Canada that he was amazed by the longevity of his career and the impact he had on the action genre. He said that he considers himself “the last of the dinosaurs” among the ’80s action stars who relied on their physicality and charisma to tell stories.
“You can’t be prepared for this. Especially with the longevity of this career is mind-blowing. It’s just mind-blowing because I don’t know how much longer you can wait,” Stallone said. “Society is changing, the commerciality in cinema, it’s faster. So longevity would become a premium.”
He continued: “I consider myself like the last of dinosaurs, you know what I mean? And I’m very proud of that. But yeah, you have to really think about that. It’s incredible. I mean it’s been almost 50 years… So I don’t take it for granted, but I really want to spend it with my loved ones. The majority of what’s left.”
Stallone praises his wife and daughters as his main reward
Stallone was accompanied by his wife of 26 years, Jennifer Flavin, at the red carpet event. He said that she was his main reward and motivation in life, and that he was happy to share his achievements with her.
“I realized it was all vacant, vapid. This is my main reward. Look over my shoulder and go, ‘I want to go home and talk to her tonight about this.’ You got to share. Without someone to share life with, life is not worth living,” Stallone said.
Stallone and Flavin have three daughters, Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet, who are also pursuing careers in the entertainment industry. Sophia is an actress and producer, Sistine is a model and actress, and Scarlet is a social media influencer.
Stallone said that he was proud of his daughters and their accomplishments, but also worried about the challenges they face in the competitive and changing industry.
“I’m very proud of them because they’re very independent-minded,” Stallone said. “But it’s a tough business now. It’s not like when I started. It’s very different. It’s very fast. It’s very unforgiving.”
Stallone talks about his rivalry and friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger
One of the highlights of the documentary ‘Sly’ is Stallone’s candid discussion of his rivalry and friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, another ’80s action star who dominated the box office with films like ‘Terminator’, ‘Predator’ and ‘Total Recall’.
Stallone admitted that he and Schwarzenegger “really disliked each other immensely” for over two decades as they competed for roles and audiences. He said that they were both driven by their ambition and ego, but also by their passion for creating a new kind of action cinema.
“The ’80s was a very interesting time because the definitive ‘action guy’ had not really been formed yet,” Stallone said. “Up until that time, action was a car chase like ‘Bullitt’ or ‘The French Connection.’ A film all about intellect and innuendo and verbal this and verbal that.”
Stallone credited Schwarzenegger with making action cinema more dependent on the actor. “You actually relied upon your body to tell the story,” Stallone said. “Dialogue was not necessary. I saw that there was an opportunity, because no one else was doing this except some other guy from Austria, who doesn’t need to say much… He was superior. He just had all the answers. He had the body. He had the strength. That was his character.”
Stallone said that he had to play more vulnerable and flawed characters, while Schwarzenegger played more invincible and heroic ones.
“I had to get my ass kicked constantly, whereas Arnold, he never got hurt much,” Stallone said. “And I’m going, ‘Arnold, you could go out and fight a dragon and you’d come back with a Band-Aid.’”
Stallone said that he and Schwarzenegger eventually became good friends after they realized that they had more in common than they thought.
“We were…this may sound a little vain, but I think we were pioneering a kind of genre at that time and it hasn’t been seen since really,” Stallone said. “So the competition, because it’s his nature, he is very competitive and so am I… and I just thought it actually helped, but off-screen we were still competitive and that was not a healthy thing at all, but we’ve become really good friends.”
Stallone continues to work on new projects
Stallone is not showing any signs of slowing down, as he continues to work on new projects that showcase his versatility and talent. He is currently starring in the Paramount+ series ‘Tulsa King’, a crime drama set in the 1950s, which has been renewed for a second season. He is also reprising his role as Barney Ross in the upcoming fourth installment of ‘The Expendables’ franchise, which co-stars Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Megan Fox and 50 Cent.
Stallone said that he enjoys working on different genres and mediums, and that he is always looking for new challenges and opportunities.
“I like to mix it up. I like to do comedy. I like to do drama. I like to do action. I like to do television. I like to do film,” Stallone said. “I think it’s important to keep yourself fresh and keep yourself interested. And also, you never know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to be a hit or a miss. So you just have to keep trying.”
‘Sly’ premieres on Netflix on November 3.