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ROCKY THE ARTICLE
Franz Lidz
November 12, 1990
As the bell sounds for Round 5 of the Rock opera, Sylvester Stallone dreams of a box-office knockout
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November 12, 1990

Rocky The Article

As the bell sounds for Round 5 of the Rock opera, Sylvester Stallone dreams of a box-office knockout

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The arena erupts in wild cheers.

Stallone looks around the hall. Kids wave red, white and blue Rocky banners. He watches a balloon drift to the lofty arched ceiling.

"Yo!"

Wilder cheers: Roc-KEE! Roc-KEE!

Stallone raises his hands and quiets the crowd. "This is probably the last and most important saga of Rocky."

He poses for a few pictures, choreographs Gunn's title bout and leaves.

Roc-KEE! Roc-KEE! Roc-KEE!

"When they cheer for Rocky," Stallone says, "they're cheering for themselves."

He returns to Philly a few months later to shoot Rocky's climactic street fight with Gunn. Between takes he holes up in his trailer, shadowboxing to a PBS tape called The Power of Myth. It's hard living in the time of your own legend, Stallone says. "I'm not as ethically moral as Rocky," he says. "It gets harder and harder to get into character."

Personality, he says, you can fake. Character must come from within. "It's a hunger, a fire," he says. "It's why two halfbacks can be the same age, size and speed, yet one runs for 20 yards a season and the other, 2,000. It's the difference between Rich Little and the guys he impersonates. It's what separates a coward from a hero. Everyone's scared: The hero is just willing to take a chance."

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