Legendary actor Sylvester Stallone recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated to promote his new “Samaritan” action movie, which will hit theaters on Friday, August 26. The trailer for the movie recently aired during WWE SummerSlam on Peacock.
Stallone, now age 76, said he attributes a great deal of the emotional aspect of connecting with a crowd to his time as a pro wrestling fan.
“I love wrestling,” Stallone said. “It’s all about getting swept up in the drama.”
Stallone is a longtime wrestling fan, going back to the days of WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino. The “Rocky” star noted how the pro wrestling world helped shape some of his story-telling in films, including the new “Samaritan” movie. He revealed why he had his daughters watch pro wrestling.
“There’s a passion for that world, big time,” Stallone said. “People like Bruno Sammartino, those are people that helped forge my personality and my outlook on life. Bruno, Gorgeous George, [bodybuilder/actor] Steve Reeves, [boxer] Rocky Marciano—especially Rocky Marciano. I love wrestling’s mythic qualities. I made my daughters watch wrestling—I wanted them to watch for the story.”
Stallone has various ties to the world of pro wrestling. WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan starred in the 1982 hit “Rocky III” as Thunderlips, and Stallone later inducted The Hulkster into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He also appeared on RAW in 2006 to promote the “Rocky Balboa” movie. Before his work with Hogan, Stallone wrote, directed and starred in the 1978 movie “Paradise Alley,” a story set in the 1940s about three brothers from Hell’s Kitchen, who became involved in pro wrestling. The movie also featured WWE Hall of Famers The Funks, Ted DiBiase and Ray Stevens, plus Haku, Dennis Stamp, and Dick Murdoch. Stallone also starred with John Cena in “The Suicide Squad” last year, and starred with WWE Hall of Famer Jesse Ventura in “Demolition Man” back in 1993, which led to an appearance on WCW TV.
It was noted that Stallone’s wrestling appearances were not merely promotional tools as he understands the heartbeat and psychology of wrestling, and he related to the countless number of wrestling stars that have never received full credit for their accomplishments in the ring. Stallone commented on the “real or fake” argument.
“I understand what goes into it,” Stallone said. “I hear people say it’s not real. Really? Gravity is real. Jumping off the top rope or having 300 pounds landing on you, that’s real. I feel the same way about action films. They’ve been submerged in sort of a dismissive sort of genre. Like, ‘Oh, it’s an action film.’ All I know is I’ve had maybe 31 operations due to action films, so I consider it very real.”
He added, “Wrestling, it has nothing to do with who’s scoring a touchdown. It’s entertainment. It’s not meant to be ‘The score is now 14–3.’ It’s a morality play, all about the drama. That’s what it’s all about.”
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