Actor Stories: How Sylvester Stallone Made Himself into a Star

By Webmaster

  • Actor Stories:
    How Sylvester Stallone Made Himself Into a Star

    How Sylvester Stallone overcame the odds

    (by Carmichael Phillips)


    (Sylvester Stallone in Creed)

    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. It was a big party scene with over 300 extras, all Italian. Stallone was told that he didn’t look Italian enough to get cast.

    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


    (Sylvester Stallone in Rocky)

    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.

    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.

    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

    (Sylvester Stallone in Rambo)

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

    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!


  • You Might Also Like:
    Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again!


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter 

    4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter  Keep it short, sweet and to the point. (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) You probably already know what marketing materials you…

    Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It!

    Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It! Casting directors don’t even give us the courtesy of a little feedback on our self-tapes (The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio |…

    What is Taft-Hartley? 

    What is Taft-Hartley?  Let’s explore the law, and the report, that gets actors in the door of America’s largest actor union (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) A Taft-Hartley is the…

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence 

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence  “No actor is a success unless he feels inside himself…that he is good.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) “No actor is a success unless he feels inside…

    The Acting World Goes Virtual 

    The Acting World Goes Virtual  And that’s a good thing!  (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Beci Harmony | Unsplash) As the old saying goes, “The only constant is change.” But in this new Covid-19…

  • Ad

  • Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate 

    Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate  Covid-19 is forcing changes that put new constraints on the accessibility of health insurance (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Bermix Studio | Unsplash) Covid-19 has dramatically…

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020 Here’s a partial list of some of the actors we will miss (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo source: Jamie Street/Unsplash) No doubt, 2020 was a rough…

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join? 

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join?  Let’s explore this SAG-AFTRA status… (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Eunice Lituanas | Unsplash) A “Must-Join” is the label placed on actors who have surpassed the grace period (usually…

  • Ad

  • Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process” 

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process”  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Bill Nighy) “I’m old enough to say that I’ve never knowingly been in character in my life.” Bill Nighy, the English…

    Create Your Own Opportunities!

    Create Your Own Opportunities!  What’s your excuse for not producing your own projects and casting yourself?  (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Gianandrea Villa/Unsplash) The advent of things like social media and the internet allows…

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.”

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.” Viola Davis describes her character-building and collaboration process (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Viola Davis) “I read the script over and over and over again….

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor? 

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor?  How having a mentor can help you save time, money and your sanity (by Jim Webb) (Photo: neONBRAND/unsplash) You already know that taking acting classes can help…

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors  There are lucrative opportunities for those fortunate enough to find them  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips)  (Photo: Sigmund/Unsplash) There has been lots of bad news for…

  • Ad

  • The 3 Main Types of Commercials 

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials  Commercial actors can benefit from understanding the distinctions (by Javier Guerra) A commercial is a commercial is a commercial. They’re all the same, right? Except, they are…

    Ed Harris: “Acting is a lifelong situation.” 

    Ed Harris:  “Acting is a lifelong situation.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed Harris in Westworld) “Acting is a lifelong situation…’til you drop dead.” Ed Harris is one of the most successful character actors…

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!  The subtle ways that sleep impacts your performance (by Todd Bruce) (Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash) Not getting enough sleep at night? Do you…

  • Ad

  • The Self-Tape Request from Hell!

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell! Sometimes casting directors ask for far too much! (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash) Forgive me for saying this, but this self-taping thing has gone too far!…

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass There simply has never been a better time to be an actor (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Roy Alanwar/Unsplash) Aren’t you glad to be…

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less Quick! Sell your acting career in 10 seconds or less! (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: August de Richelieu/Unsplash) Quick! Sell your acting career in 10…

    What is a Right-to-Work State?

    What is a Right-to-Work State?  There are currently 27 Right-to-Work states in the United States (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Joey Csunyo/Unsplash) A right-to-work state is a state that forbids union security agreements. That…

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up  Confusing, isn’t it? (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash) As if the acting business was not perplexing enough, there’s always something else to confuse the…

  • Ad

  • Edie Falco: “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”

    Edie Falco:  “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie) “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”…

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room “It’s now your turn to audition, please enter Studio B.” (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Vladimir Fedotov/Unsplash) The global pandemic has forced us all to reevaluate the way…

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life!

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life! But here’s to hoping things get back to normal (by The Anonymous Actor)  (Photo: Cristian Newman/Unsplash) My Last Normal Day…  I can’t remember the exact date. To…

  • Ad

  • The Actor’s Job Description

    The Actor’s Job Description  Help wanted. Apply now! (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Yogendra Singh/Unsplash) Help wanted: ACTORS Employer: The Entertainment Industry Salary: $52,000 annually, on average Bonuses: Possibly Millions Benefits: Health and Retirement…

    The Power of Positive Thinking

    The Power of Positive Thinking  Pledge to never allow another negative thought to enter your mind (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Dingzeyu Li/Unsplash) Isn’t it amazing how much our brains can influence us with…

    Deadlines Are DEAD-lines

    Deadlines Are DEAD-lines  Going past deadlines may not get you shot, but they can certainly kill opportunities (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash) Once upon a time, prisons didn’t have high walls with…

    Every Take Should Be Different, Every Performance Should Be Different

    Every Take Should Be Different, Every Performance Should Be Different Always keep this rule in mind (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Rene Ranisch/Unsplash) Here’s an easy way to know whether you are truly acting…

    Actor Stories: Michael Clarke Duncan Lied on His Résumé to Get His Big Break at Age 42!

    Actor Stories:  Michael Clarke Duncan Lied on His Résumé to Get His Big Break at Age 42!  He left behind an incredible legacy, and an unbelievable actor story (by Carmichael Phillips) (Michael Clarke…

    Get to Know Zoom

    Get to Know Zoom Zoom auditions offer the acting world a lifeline during this ongoing, global pandemic (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Visuals/Unsplash) You ever get a song stuck in your head that you…

    Michael B. Jordan: “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.”

    Michael B. Jordan: “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.” (arranged by AM Staff) (Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station) “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.”…

    The Latino Actor: An Uphill Battle for Representation and Inclusion

    The Latino Actor:  An Uphill Battle for Representation and Inclusion (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Craig Adderley/Pexels) Of all the underrepresented minority groups in Hollywood, the Hispanic and Latino actor probably faces the steepest…

    Load More