“To tell the entire story would be like 50,000 words”, Sylvester Stallone told us on November 15, 1976. “But a brief summary would be that my career had come to a sputtering standstill. I had made a science out of failure. And I realized that I had nothing to lose. So why not try my hand at writing?” Stallone was sharing with us the backstory of a pivotal moment in his career – how Rocky was born, out of frustration and anger.
The movie had yet to come out (it premiere a few weeks later, on December 3, 1976) and become the iconic piece of American mythology that would thrill and inspire generations, and catapult Sly to a whole new level of stardom. But we were already enthralled by Stallone’s journey of self-reinvention. “I was not a very accomplished writer. I was a failure in most of my literary endeavors”, he told us, describing the process of creating a character that he could relate to, the soon-to-be unforgettable Rocky Balboa. “But I had always had a feeling for dialogue. And I think that’s my strong suit. And after trial and error, five or six scripts, I finally brought the script to to (producer) Gene Kirkwood at (production company) Chartoff-Winkler. And there was something in the script that seemed to touch a harmonious chord in all of them.”
Stallone would go on to be twice nominated for a Golden Globe for his screenplay his performance; and this past January, he collected his first Globe as the very character that reinvented his career – an older, wiser Rocky Balboa, in Creed.
We salute you on your 70th birthday, Sly!