Sylvester Stallone made cinematic history when he introduced the world to Rocky Balboa in the iconic film Rocky in 1976. Little did he know that this humble underdog story would evolve into a blockbuster franchise that would capture the hearts of audiences for decades to come. As the years passed, Rocky proved to be a resilient and enduring character, and the success of the film led to the creation of numerous sequels.
However, by the time the opportunity to star in Creed came knocking, Stallone was at a crossroads. He needed substantial persuasion to consider reprising his role as Rocky Balboa, as he had initially intended to bid farewell to the beloved sports action franchise. One of Stallone’s main concerns was the direction that filmmaker Ryan Coogler was planning to take Rocky’s character. The prospect of revisiting the character after all these years brought with it a mix of excitement and trepidation.
Sylvester Stallone’s Initial Doubts on Ryan Coogler’s Creed Script
The classic sports action drama, Rocky not only featured Sylvester Stallone as the lead actor but was also written by him. Under the direction of John G. Avildsen, Stallone’s portrayal of the struggling boxer from Philadelphia resonated deeply with audiences and critics alike. However, after several successful sequels, Stallone was faced with the challenge of revisiting the character in Creed. At first, he wasn’t entirely convinced about the direction in which the character was headed.
Stallone’s initial hesitation stemmed from concerns about the trajectory of his character, Rocky Balboa, in Ryan Coogler’s version of the story. The actor was uncertain about the follow-up and worried about the changes being made to the beloved character he had portrayed for so many years. In Creed, the narrative took a daring turn as Rocky Balboa was diagnosed with cancer, a storyline that initially caused disagreement between Stallone and Coogler. Stallone told Variety,
“To resurrect Rocky under the premise that you’re dying is a tough sell,” Stallone said. “I kept saying, ‘I’d be interested, but can the neighbor be sick, and Rocky helps?’ I didn’t know if people wanted to see him sick.”
Despite initial reservations, Stallone’s return as Rocky Balboa became a career-defining and emotionally charged performance.
Navigating Sylvester Stallone’s Journey to Embrace the Role in Creed
Despite having initial doubts about reprising the iconic lead role of Rocky Balboa in the sequel Creed, Sylvester Stallone faced a pivotal moment in his career. The idea of returning to a character he had portrayed for decades weighed heavily on his mind. It was during this uncertain time that his wife, Jennifer Flavin, played a crucial role in motivating him to take the leap. Flavin, understanding her husband’s reservations, offered a perspective that resonated deeply with Stallone. She called him a coward for hesitating to venture into something that made him uncomfortable. Jennifer Flavin told the Post and Courier,
‘You’re afraid to do something you’ve never done before. That’s called being a coward,’” Stallone said, leaning back in his chair, and laughing. “She was right.”
Her words catalyzed change, propelling Stallone to confront his fears head-on, leading to his pivotal decision to accept the role in Creed. This choice marked a turning point in his Hollywood career, as the film, with a $50 million budget, surpassed box office expectations, grossing an impressive $173.5 million globally. Stallone’s portrayal of an aging Rocky Balboa garnered critical acclaim, earning him respect within Hollywood’s elite and reaffirming his enduring talent.
Source: Post and Courier