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From Sly Boy to Fly Boy: Facts You Didn’t Know About Sylvester Stallone

Steve Palace
Rocky publicity still (Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists, MovieStillsDB)

Sylvester Stallone is a multi-talented star, though to some he’s just the guy from Rocky and Rambo.

If you aren’t familiar with Sly’s unexpected side, then check out these facts that will open your eyes to a big screen tiger…

Sylvester Stallone and the singing priest

Father Lefty was an unproduced pilot focusing on a truly unorthodox Catholic priest. This man of the cloth tackled Sinatra songs by day and criminals by night! Certainly an interesting combination – and one that came from producer Sylvester Stallone.

Screenshot from Creed

‘Creed’ publicity still (Photo Credit: New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MovieStillsDB)

Floated in 2002, it perhaps reflected Stallone’s own experience with the faith. The Catholic League wasn’t impressed and wrote witheringly about the prospective series at the time.

Danny Nucci would have starred as the title character, with one Viola Davis listed among the supporting players.

He had a Rocky start

Stallone has his father to thank for his first name. If famous mother Jackie had her way, he would have been Tyrone, after movie star Tyrone Power! Francesco, or Frank, switched to Sly and the rest is non-rhyming screen history.

Young Sly Stone

(Original Caption) Sylvester Stallone (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Stallone’s upbringing was far from idyllic. As a youngster, he went through the foster care system and was subject to bullying that led to his muscle-building activities. Of course, he had the roughest time of all entering the world.

The doctor used forceps to birth Sly, severing a nerve and partially paralyzing his lower face. These actions impacted the young man forever. Yet he worked hard to make sure his movie star dreams became a reality regardless.

He’s an artist

Did you know that Stallone uses oil paints as well as bullets to get his point across? The Hollywood Reporter writes that a retrospective just opened in the city of Hagen, Germany. Retrospective? Believe it or not, Sly has been setting up his easel for half a century!

Stallone in front of his art

Sylvester Stallone attends a press conference during the opening of the exhibition “Sylvester Stallone – Retrospektive zum 75. Geburtstag” at Osthaus Museum Hagen on December 03, 2021 in Hagen, Germany. The exhibition will run from December 3, 2021 until February 20, 2022. (Photo Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Maybe the gap between a Hollywood action star and an art gallery isn’t so wide. After all, he was “inspired by the experimental work of ”˜action painters’ like Jackson Pollack and Willem de Kooning” according to the Reporter.

What’s the title of this exhibition? “The Magic of Being.” Hmm, we’d say something but wouldn’t want Sly to come and beat us up.

He’s still friends with the turtles from Rocky

Stallone is still fighting fit decades on from the first Rocky movie. And if you think that’s impressive, wait till you hear about the pet turtles. “Cuff” and “Link” were proudly displayed on social media by owner Sly during production on Creed 2 (2018).

Behind-the-scenes photo from Rocky II featuring Sylvester Stallone and his dog

Behind-the-scenes photo from Rocky II featuring Sylvester Stallone and his dog, Butkus. (Photo Credit: jasonstukay/ United Artists via MovieStillsDB)

A pet-related side fact concerns Stallone’s then-bull mastiff. Financial issues back in the 1970s meant he needed to sell his beloved dog. He managed to buy it back, though the price tag was higher than the original fifty bucks.

Sly not only coughed up $3,000, he had to put the new – and, it turned out, highly aggressive – owner “Little Jimmy” in the picture to avoid a physical fight.

Rambo nearly went sci-fi

The gory saga of John Rambo appeared to come to a close with 2019’s Last Blood. But a very different story nearly formed the basis of a fifth installment 10 years earlier.

Rambo Last Blood

Rambo: Last Blood publicity still (Photo Credit: Millennium Films, MovieStillsDB)

Rambo V: The Savage Hunt was reportedly based on the novel Hunter by James Byron Huggins. The book focused on a genetically-enhanced monster. Yes, a monster, that Rambo would need to take down for the good of Mankind.

It isn’t unusual for Hollywood to use unrelated source material and retool it for big franchises. This seems one step too far, however. It was developed but ultimately ditched in favor of more realistic adversaries.

He’s been trying to make a movie with Jackie Chan for years

Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan have been pals for decades. Naturally, they want to work together. It’s just a case of finding the right project.

Jackie Chan and Sly Stallone

Jackie Chan and Sly Stallone at the premiere of Jackie Chan’s new movie “SuperCop” (Photo Credit:
Manny Hernandez / Contributor)

Chan wasn’t interested in the role of villain Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man (1993). He felt it detracted from his status as a screen hero. And when Stallone wanted him to join The Expendables, Chan turned him down again. This time, he didn’t want to share billing with multiple action stars.

It nearly happened for them with the upcoming action thriller Ex-Baghdad. As reported in 2017, their much-anticipated team-up saw them potentially kicking the butts of ruthless oil thieves. Unfortunately, it was Stallone’s turn to bail. The movie is still going ahead but with John Cena in the role.

Schwarzenegger set a trap which he walked right into

Speaking of friends, well former rivals, Stallone fell into a trap set by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990s. Sly heard that Arnie was up for a new comedy called Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot promo

Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot promo (Photo Credit: Universal Studios, MovieStillsDB)

Determined to pip him to the post, he swooped in and bagged the role for himself. Trouble was, Schwarzenegger had offered up a bad script – one he had no intention of taking in the first place.

Stallone had no option but to star as a cop being pestered by his mother (Golden Girls’ Estelle Getty). The reviews were scathing. “He’s always been clever,” Stallone said about the “Austrian Oak” in 2014.

He could have been the Man of Steel

Like Superman, Rambo arguably fought for truth, justice and the American Way. Think that’s where the similarity ends? Nope. Because before Christopher Reeve signed up as Clark Kent, Sylvester Stallone was in the frame.

Sly put himself there, due to a long-held admiration for the Man of Steel. Stallone really went above and beyond to pursue his passion. Though as a youngster he learned that flying wasn’t in his repertoire.

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone during “Rocky Balboa” Paris Event – Cocktail Party at Planet Hollywood in Paris, France. (Photo Credit: Foc Kan/WireImage)

As written by Factinate, he took a trip out of a window, “deciding to use an umbrella to help slow down his fall.” Sounds more like the Penguin! Stallone wound up breaking his collarbone, so it could have been a lot worse without the umbrella.

More from us: Why Doesn’t Jackie Chan Play The Villain In His Movies?

Why didn’t he get the role of Superman? Reportedly, Marlon Brando used his own powers to veto the casting. It’s also mentioned that he appeared more like someone from Rome than Krypton!