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Arnold Schwarzenegger Reveals He Tricked Sylvester Stallone Into Starring in a Film He Knew Would Flop

Photo Credit: Todd Williamson / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Todd Williamson / Getty Images

The feud between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone back in the 1980s and 1990s is well-documented. Neither party made their dislike for the other a secret, and it is clear things got competitive between the pair. Now, Schwarzenegger is revealing how he played a dirty trick on Stallone to get him to star in a movie he had a pretty good hunch would flop.

Schwarzenegger explains it was a battle between their agents

Headshot of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, circa 1992. (Photo Credit: Valdmanis / United Archives / Getty Images)

The incident didn’t even begin with Schwarzenegger and Stallone speaking to each other directly. “First of all, when we talk about the movie, I didn’t talk him into [it] because I never talked to him about it,” Schwarzenegger explained. Instead, it all started when their respective agents began talking to one another.

“But it was very clear that his agent was telling my agent, ‘Look, Sly is interested in doing it, but I don’t know if it’s the right thing for him. Let me know what you guys are thinking.’ And then my agent said, ‘Well you know, Arnold really loves it. I think it’s fantastic.'” That’s how the whole plot to get Stallone to star in the flop of a film began.

Stallone was quick to jump on the chance

Headshot of Sylvester Stallone.
Sylvester Stallone, circa 1992. (Photo Credit: Jim Smeal / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

Schwarzenegger then took things one step further, telling Stallone that he had spoken directly with the film’s director, Roger Spottiswoode, about the film. This was a shock to Stallone, who said, “Oh my God, oh my God. You talked to my director?” It’s not a shock then that Stallone’s agent quickly pounced on the bait, considering the constant feud the two actors were in at the time.

“So my agent said, ‘Arnold is talking to Roger Spottiswoode now and he’s really into it, I think we’re gonna take the project.’ And then of course [Stallone’s] agent, knowing that he’s competitive with me, he said, ‘Cannot let that happen,'” Schwarzenegger explained. “He then called the studio right away and says, ‘Look, you got to give this to Sly. Don’t give this to Schwarzenegger, you got to give this to Sly,.'”

They had fallen right into the trap Schwarzenegger had set, with him saying, “I was, of course, absolutely in heaven, because I felt like the only way I could catch up with him is if he [had] a stumble.” To this, Stallone replied, “Can you get more Machiavellian?”

The film was a complete flop

Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty standing back to back, both holding guns.
The film was a flop at the box office. (Photo Credit: Universal Studios / yodasimpson / MovieStillsDB)

The film really did turn out to be a box office flop. It starred Stallone as Sgt. Joe Bomowski alongside Estelle Getty who played his mother, Tutti. In the film, Tutti visits Bomowski after he has his heart broken, a visit which escalates after she witnesses a murder, turning her into her son’s partner. All the while, she continues to meddle in his personal affairs. It was supposed to be an action comedy, but it didn’t really land for either of those categories.

The film only earned just over $70 million worldwide and received terrible reviews from critics. One New York Times critic wrote, “It is terrible. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot plays as if it were a pilot for a sitcom that wasn’t sold in 1975.” Even Stallone himself called it the worst film he has ever starred in.

More from us: Shocking Facts About “The Adventures of Superman” Only True Fans Know

These days, Schwarzenegger and Stallone are no longer rivals and instead are good friends who reminisce together on the past.

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Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!