The story is pretty well known: Sylvester Stallone was a poor actor living the low life when he came up with the story of a poor boxer living the low life and, after knocking on quite a few doors, got it filmed. And star it. The one who agreed to film the script for this unknown performer was Irwin Winkler, producer of the extremely low-budget film that would end up winning the Oscar for best film of the year.
Of course, to achieve the dream of starring in the movie that catapulted him to fame, Stallone had to give in: and he gave control over the rights, which were left to Winkler. For a while, the deal didn’t seem to bother Stallone, who shot five Rockys, as he became a larger-than-life action star. In 2006, Stallone closed the saga, seemingly forever, with “Rocky Balboa,” and it seemed like a done deal.
But in 2013, MGM decided to relaunch the saga with Ryan Coogler (then director of the independent gem “Fruitvale Station”, with Michael B. Jordan, but today recognized for being the one who holds the reins in “Black Panther”) writing and directing “Creed ”, a kind of sequel and spin-off of the adventures of Rocky Balboa, centered on Adonis Creed, the unrecognized son of Apollo, a great rival and friend of the Italian Stallion. Stallone returned to the paper in a doozy, and even wrote part of the script for “Creed II”… but that’s where the problems began.
Because Stallone remembered that he was not the owner of his creature, or, rather, they reminded him with all kinds of ads: a television series about a young Rocky and another spin-off about the relationship between an old boxer and a boxer immigrant joined the “Creed III” project, confirmed to be released in 2023. To Stallone, who had already dropped out of “Creed III”, it seemed like too much: too many projects to squeeze out of his beloved Rocky, and too much money without anything was taxed.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the news of a movie about the Drago family that Stallone found out about in the newspaper. Dolph Lundgren had returned to the character of Ivan Drago in “Creed II”, along with his son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who faced Adonis as revenge for the events that occurred in “Rocky IV”. But while the appearance of the Soviet in that film had been villainous to the point of caricature (and yet, still cemented in collective memory), in “Creed II”, directed by Steven Caple Jr., the Russians built a couple of father and emotional and very hard son.
Winkler felt his story deserved to be told and hired Robert Lawton to write it: the screenwriter got the job after impressing MGM executives with a script called “Becoming Rocky” for an audiovisual project about the first Rocky movie, “The Offer” style. That project failed, but Lawton left a good image.
Stallone gave up the rights to the character in order to make the first “Rocky”
Stallone had already told on multiple occasions that he does not have any percentage of Rocky’s rights, but this time he exploded against his now archnemesis, Winkler, and his family. In a social media post he called “Rocky’s Real Horror Show,” the actor called the producer a “bloodsucker,” after learning of the Soviet spin-off in the media.
“Another piece of news that breaks my heart. Once again, this pathetic 94-year-old producer and his vulture-asshole sons, Charles and David, are once again cleaning the bones of another wonderful character I created without even telling me,” he wrote in his post. . “They are parasites”, Stallone shot, who asked “apologies to the fans, I never wanted the characters of ‘Rocky’ to be exploited by these parasites…”.
“By the way, I have nothing but respect for Dolph but I wish he had told me what was going on behind my back with the character I created for him. True friends are more valuable than gold ”, he sentenced, to top it off. Stallone and Lundgren have been friends for years, and in fact Stallone launched the Swede’s career with “Rocky IV” and called him back for “The Expendables.” But the blonde kept the secret: perhaps that caused the outburst of the “Rambo” actor…
Which followed, unstoppable, in another post, this time with photoshopped footage of a Winkler sucking “Rocky’s” blood and stabbing him in the back. “He is presumed to be the most hated, talentless and decrepit producer in Hollywood and his cowardly sons have found his next meal… Drago? Give me back my bloodsuckers rights!” Sylvester snapped furiously, though he promised that he will “keep fighting” for “Rocky”.
How? Legal measures have not yet been announced, and it would also be necessary to see what they are, taking into account that at the time he gave up his shares so that that first film could be made. “I did not want to alter the feathers of the goose that lays the golden eggs,” Stallone once reflected on the transfer of his rights. You have to understand: “Rocky” was made against all odds, and to make it happen Stallone had to give in. And he got that movie with an unknown actor, with very little money, that became an iconic movie for all time. Almost like its protagonist: a story of an underdog who wins the title against all odds.
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Stallone fights for Rocky: the furious internal that divides the actor, his character and Iván Drago
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