All day today in Cannes is dedicated to Sylvester Stallone whose 43-year plus storied career is being lauded by the fest. The three-time Oscar nominated filmmaker/actor was at the Hotel du Cap for a junket about Rambo V, sat down for a Masterclass at the Salle Debussy, and will be feted tonight with an early glimpse of the latest Rambo along with a 4K restoration of First Blood.
Mobs of people akin to the throngs at Comic Con crowded the Croisette to get into the Debussy this afternoon for Stallone’s sit-down with Didier Allouch. In typical Cannes fashion, Stallone was greeted with a full house standing ovation as he walked up the aisle to the stage and greeted the audience with a big “Yo”.
While today’s “Rendez-vous with Stallone” was largely about his career, Stallone got a chance to talk up Rambo V: Last Blood which opens on Sept. 20 from Millennium/Lionsgate. The filmmaker-actor was always an apolitical guy, but felt that he had to honor veterans in his portrayal of John Rambo. Stallone was gob smacked when President Ronald Reagan threw his love behind the film and baptized him as a Republican icon.
“In every film, Rambo never goes home, he goes out the to the jungle or Afghanistan. In the new one, he does come home, but in a way he never arrives. He’s there, but he’s not. That’s what the whole story is built around. As soon as he walks outside his door, he has no more control. The world controls you,” said Stallone.
“We pick it up, he’s out in this storm, a horrible storm. He’s trying to rescue people. There’s a flash flood. One guy goes up by horseback, he volunteers to save people. He’s still dealing with survivor guilt, b/c he could save his friends in Vietnam. A result of PTSD. He has a hard time. He has a beautiful ranch, but he lives underground. This is how he deals with his dilemma. There’s something subterranean in Vietnam. He has an adopted family there. His father has passed on. The housekeeper who is 70 has a granddaughter. He’s her surrogate father.”
The girl finds her real father in Mexico and heads there. “Bad things happen,” says Stallone, “There’s going to be some serious vengeance in this movie. A lot of people getting hurt.”
“Rambo deals with the dark side of nature that most people live with. Rocky is different, he’s more the optimist,” said Stallone, “there’s optimism and pessimism in these two characters.”
The next Rambo isn’t the muscle-guy from the 1980s, but what the protag lacks in strength, he makes up for in “cunning”. Important for Stallone is that if these aging action heroes continue on screen, act your age.
Asked by an audience member to reflect on Cobra, Stallone said “That (conceit) was what if Bruce Springsteen had a gun? That was rock n’ roll meets drama. That should have been another franchise because that character was so cool. And I blew it. My personal life got in the way. But we’re trying to bring it back as a streaming TV series. Bring out the zombie squad. I’m long gone, but the idea is really good,” said Stallone.
Stallone also mentioned he had no immediate plans to continue with Creed. Why?
“I have a great idea for Rocky. He finds this fella in the country illegally and it becomes a whole thing,” says Stallone.
Allouch interjected, “Donald Trump’s favorite movie…”.
“It’s like the magician who lost his tricks. You’ve seen everything, but what can be different? Throw him out of the country, he’s in another world,” says Stallone.
In reflecting on his career, Stallone shared up many philosophical axioms as a guy who went from parking cars in 1975 to starring in a two-time Oscar winning blockbuster Rocky.
Read, “That’s how fast your life can change. You can have 100 bad ideas to one very good one. That’s all it takes is one good idea. Failures just make you smarter. Sometimes success makes you dumber,” said Stallone.
An eye-opening experience that Stallone had was between Paradise Alley and Rocky II. The directing reigns fell on Stallone because he wanted to maintain a triumphant tone with the boxing hero. This ran counter to the original Rocky director’s vision for a sequel where the boxer becomes a casualty of excess.
“I went into a theater in Philadelphia to see Paradise Alley. There were four people in the theater. I said, ‘Oh, my God, this is learning moment. You have to walk out of this theater, a disaster, and go back and direct the sequel of an Oscar winning movie. No pressure. That’s the kind of pressure you have to deal with some time.”
Early on in the session, Stallone shared that he still owns the two turtles from the original Rocky film; they’re 55 years old.
“They’re the size of this chair,” quipped Stallone, “I think we should do another Rocky and join them in the bowl. Everyone’s dead except the turtles, my only friends.”
“Never stop punching,” says Stallone about his life’s creed, “That’s how I roll. You always have something to prove.”