Friday, February 12, 2016

Ask Me a Question: Creed w/ Sylvester Stallone

After Monday's excellent outing for Mad Max: Fury Road, it was off to The American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood for a real treat, Rocky 7 aka Creed with a Q&A from Best Supporting Actor nominee Sylvester Stallone! A block of tickets came available and apparently a woman showed up at 11:00 AM looking to claim one when the box office opened at 6:00 PM. That's dedication! The shindig was sold out and Warner Brothers provided several displays for lobby and courtyard photos. I caught up with oh so many Dammaged Goods allies and talked the #ActionMovieBro hardships as I lined up Sheldon Lettich for Q&A at Laemmle's NoHo7 Bloodsport happening at the same time. DG even got an unsolicited shout out during the introduction since I lined up Dolph Lundgren then Carl Weathers to appear at the historic venue. Already a box office and critical hit, Creed is the story of Apollo's (Carl Weathers) child from an affair who grows up to be the angry and hungry Adonis (Michael B. Jordan). Young Doni seeks out unofficial uncle Rocky Balboa (Stallone, come on) and makes a run at creating his own legacy. The film was better the second time around, flowing much smoother and displaying director and co-writer Ryan Coogler's skills in front and behind the camera with great music, editing, tempo, inspiring training sequences and exciting fights. I was surprised at how much training and fighting were in the film as the first viewing came off as more of a drama like the original Rocky. But make no mistake, this is a boxing movie with drama.

After the film, the man himself, Mr. Sylvester Stallone, looking dapper and fit, came out for Q&A to a standing ovation:

- Thought doing a story of Rocky getting sick would be anti-climatic as audiences did not enjoy seeing the downside of success with part V.
- Pushed from all sides, dubbed a "coward" for being precious.
- Describes Michael B. Jordan as young, athletic and competitive. The two playfully sparred with Stallone delivering some cheap shots to the young leading man to remind him he still had teeth.
- Impressed with Jordan's physical transformation.
- Didn't think the one take fight scene would work and suggested a few cutaways just in case. They say it was the 11th take but Stallone felt it was 20 or something as he had nothing to do but yell.
- Approached the role with no vanity and avoided looking in a mirror during production.
- His friends were envious of the film's quality and success. Dolph Lundgren loved it. Carl Weathers did as well. Weathers' opinion was very important to Stallone as it's his character and performance that provided a film 40 years later.
- Describes Rocky I & II as one long, 4 hour movie, that's why they look and feel the same.
- Now a money making franchise, III & IV got away from the original intents to keep the story moving, as III became flashy and Rocky vain and protected, etc.
- Cher, Bette Midler and Carrie Snodgrass were in the running for Adrian before Talia Shire walked in and was instant fit, like Weathers.
- Wrote Rocky as "heroic" for the general audience, the people with potential who never got a shot.
- On Oscar night, was nervous after Burgess Meredith and Bill Conti lost and were going in behind Network and All The President's Men.
- Original Sound guy didn't care about the film, didn't run sound during a crucial scene and took his name off the picture. Irony was that film won for Best Sound and he wasn't credited. This is  interesting because I heard a story about Stallone on set lamenting, "I hate packing, unpacking and sound guys". So maybe that sheds a little light on why...
- What is most endearing to him is how much the film and character mean to people so many years later as the people who asked questions were hardcore fans.

With that, the place rushed the front and Sly coolly signed for a few minutes before being whisked off. It was a great night and inspiration to just keep punching.

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