Actor Stories: How Silvester Stallone Made Himself into a Star

By Webmaster

  • Actor Stories:

    How Sylvester Stallone Made Himself Into a Star

    (By Carmichael Phillips)

    How bad did Sylvester Stallone have it when he was an aspiring actor? Well, let’s just say that, even doors that had his name written all over them, were closed to him.

    So, he blew them open!

    Sylvester Stallone casts himself!

    Today, we know Sylvester Stallone as the highly successful movie star who commanded the screen in movies like Rocky. But once upon a time, Stallone was just a poor, aspiring actor looking for an opportunity. According to Stallone, he lived in a flop house in New York in the 1970’s that cost $26/week.

    “It was very transient. You shared a floor with 10 people you don’t know”, Stallone said in an interview with ABC.

    If his living situation was less than desirable, his acting career was far, far worse. Stallone recalled the time he attempted to be an extra in The Godfather. The scene was a big party scene with over 300 extras, all Italian. Stallone was told that he didn’t look Italian enough to get cast.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Related: Issa Rae Creates a Role…and Casts Herself!
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Stallone’s jaw hit the floor. Stallone, whose father was Italian, wondered how even doors marked “Italian”, were closed to him.

    As he put it, “What part of me didn’t make it pass the Italian identification aspect? Is God telling me something?”

  • How Sylvester Stallone overcame the odds

    Facing the overwhelming odds of poverty and disappointment, Stallone refused to quit on his dreams of being an actor. He decided to do something that was uncommon for an actor in his day. He decided take his career into his own hands.

    (Sylvester Stallone in Rocky)

    Remember, this was not the era of YouTube and smart phones, social media, webseries and cable shows. This was not an era that made it easy for an actor to take their careers into their own hands. Yet, that’s exactly what Stallone did. He wrote a script.

    The script, of course, was Rocky.

    According to Stallone, he wrote the script for Rocky in four days!
    Seems unbelievable. Yet, according to Stallone, he just poured it all out on the page, non-stop. “I knew that it was going to be very flawed, but if I can get from the beginning to the end with some semblance of a character, then I’ll repair the rest along the way.”

  • Stallone gets more doors slammed in his face. But, he blows them open, too!

    Stallone’s script was well-received. The problem: As an aspiring actor, he wanted to play the lead character, but was told he couldn’t. In fact, he was offered more than $300,000 to not play the character.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Related: Actor Stories: Jenna Fischer Recalls Her First Day in Hollywood
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Needless to say, $300,000 in those days was not chump-change. It’s not even chump-change today! And for a poor, aspiring actor living in flop houses with homeless people, it must have sounded like all the money in the world.

    Yet, Stallone said, “no”, adding that he wanted to play the Rocky character badly because, “this character…I understood him.”

  • The struggling actor becomes a star!

    You probably already know the rest of the story. It’s the stuff of Hollywood legend.

    (Sylvester Stallone in Rambo)

    Rocky would go on to be nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning three, including Best Picture. The film became one of the most successful movie franchises in the history of cinema. It spawned seven sequels, including Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018).

    Sylvester Stallone would go on to star as the lead character, Rocky Balboa, in all of the Rocky sequels and become a screen legend. The success of Rocky launched a massive career, with Stallone landing leading roles in movies like the Rambo movie series, Cliffhanger (1993), Demolition Man (1993), Judge Dredd (1995), Shade (2003), The Expendables movie series and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

    The once struggling actor now has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

  • Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 3 Minor Violations to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    3 Minor Violations to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing levels of crime that an actor can commit. Here are 3 Minor Violations. (by…

    “If you get good enough, all that other stuff will take care of itself.” (Ed Harris)

    “I would just say, if this is something you’re pursuing as an actor… It’s one thing to learn about acting, it’s one thing to become a better actor, it’s another thing to want…

    What are “Profiles”?

    What are “Profiles”? Profiles give casting a more complete picture of how the actor looks when performing on-camera (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Profiles are a request for additional information about an actor’s appearance, particularly…

    You’re Not Really Acting When You’re Over-Acting

    You’re not really acting when you’re over-acting It’s amateurish and does a disservice to the script, your fellow actors and to the audience. (by Jim Webb) It’s understandable for aspiring actors to want…

    “Don’t become an actor, unless you HAVE to.” (Mandy Patinkin)

    “Don’t become an actor, unless you HAVE to.” (Mandy Patinkin) Here’s the best thing I ever heard about acting, that my wife said: “Don’t do it (become an actor), unless you have to.”…

  • Ad

  • Today’s Rundown

    TODAY’S RUNDOWN Thought of the day: Thinking of quitting your acting career? Hang in there! You don’t have to have all the answers today. You only have to survive the day. #actorslife  …

    What is a “Sense Memory”?

    What is a “Sense Memory”? Armed with a sense memory, the actor’s experience is no longer rooted in fantasy. It is now real to them. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Sense memory is an acting…

    Booking Commercials: Talent, Looks or Luck?

    Booking Commercials: Talent, Looks or Luck? What does it take for an actor to be successful in commercials? (by Carmichael Phillips) What does it take for an actor to be successful in commercials?…

  • Ad

  • What are “Notes, Adjustments and Redirects”?

    What are “Notes, Adjustments and Redirects”? Regardless of what one might call them, these changes are usually necessary for a thorough evaluation of the actor’s fitness for the role being cast (By Tonya…

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition Don’t apologize during an audition. Ever. If you stumble over your words or make a mistake, simply correct it. Confidently. (by Carmichael Phillips)…

    Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé!

      Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé! This is a brief “NEVER and WTF Were You Thinking!” list (By Carmichael Phillips) Sometimes there are “Should and Shouldn’t” lists. Sometimes there are “Do…

    5 General Rules for Demo Reels

      5 General Rules for Demo Reels Before you get knee-deep into this endeavor, there are a few general rules you should consider. (By Jim Webb) Are you putting your first demo reel…

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together!

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together! Before you approach an agent, make sure that you are ready to present yourself as an actor who understands the business and understands what…

  • Ad

  • 3 Helpful Suggestions When Slating

    3 Helpful Suggestions When Slating While the slating process may seem insignificant, it represents an additional opportunity for actors to stand-out, when done properly (By Jim Webb) You already know what slating is….

    5 Reasons Why Background Acting is a $h*tty Job

    5 Reasons Why Background Acting is a $h*tty Job Let us count the ways… (By Jim Webb) Recently, I listed five benefits to beginning your acting career as a background actor. To be…

    Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior

      Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior Fame and fortune must not be your primary pursuit. They should be the fortuitous byproduct of a larger pursuit (by…

  • Ad

  • 5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve So many riddles to solve. So little time. And on it goes… (By Carmichael Phillips) In a normal profession, everything is clear and easy to understand. The…

    What is “Slating”?

      What is “Slating”? (By Tonya Tannenbaum) The term, “slating”, for auditions, describes a standard industry practice whereby the actor briefly introduces themselves while facing the camera. This process usually happens right before,…

    5 Basic Facts About Method Acting

      5 Basic Facts about Method Acting Method acting refers to a collection of training techniques meant to aid actors in the understanding and building of their characters (By Jim Webb) Method acting…

    What are “Inner Motives”?

      What are “Inner Motives”? In order to consistently deliver natural, emotionally sincere performances the actor must understand their character’s inner motives (By Tonya Tannenbaum) Inner Motives are the rationales that an actor…

    What are “Animal Exercises”?

    What are “Animal Exercises”? An actor can study how an animal or animals move and, then, use some of those movements when preparing to capture the physicality of their character (By Tonya Tannenbaum)…

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: How John Krasinski Almost Gave Up on Acting

      Actor Stories: How John Krasinski Almost Gave Up on Acting (By Carmichael Phillips) Check out the story of how actor, John Krasinski, almost gave up on acting, right before his big break….

    Make Sure Your Name is Added to the “Nice” List

      Make Sure Your Name is Added to The “Nice” List You may not get the role you auditioned for, but make sure your name is added to the “nice” list (By Jim…

    Reinvest 50% of Your Cash Back into Your Acting Business

      Reinvest 50% of Your Cash Back into Your Acting Business Of course, each time you repeat this process, your career becomes stronger! Your power becomes stronger. (By Carmichael Phillips) No professional actor…

  • Ad

  • “You have to keep at it!” (Kate Winslet)

    “You have to keep at it (acting)! You do. And if it is the thing you really believe you want to do with your life, you will get there. You just have to…

    5 Benefits of Being a Background Actor

    5 Benefits of Being a Background Actor (By Jim Webb) Who the heck would want to be a background actor? The real question is, why would anyone not want to be a background…

    Actor Stories: How Silvester Stallone Made Himself into a Star

    Actor Stories: How Sylvester Stallone Made Himself Into a Star (By Carmichael Phillips) How bad did Sylvester Stallone have it when he was an aspiring actor? Well, let’s just say that, even doors…

    “You do have to keep working at it. You do have to keep practicing things.” (Kate Winslet)

      “I think what I would honestly say to people starting out [in acting] is that it is difficult. It is definitely a hard job to do. And you do have to keep…

    Will Hollywood ‘Ban’ Georgia?

    Will Hollywood ‘Ban’ Georgia? The ‘Heartbeat Bill’ might end up killing the heartbeat of Georgia’s booming television and movie industry (By Carmichael Phillips) The state of Georgia has become America’s third largest state…

    “It’s not about losing yourself in the role. It’s about finding yourself in the role.” (Uta Hagen)

    “It’s not about losing yourself in the role. It’s about finding yourself in the role.” (Uta Hagen)     _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Hagen went on to explain: “In 1947, I worked in a play under…

    3 Hidden Advantages of Self-taping

      3 Hidden Advantages of Self-taping This new wave of self-taping also offers actors enormous advantages (By Carmichael Phillips) Self-taped auditions are the wave of the future, in part, because they offer casting…

    3 Reasons Why You Should Never Audition Just to Book the Job

      3 Reasons Why You Should Never Audition Just to Book the Job If you don’t book this particular job, so what? You’ve now made fans of the auditors in the room. (By…