Sylvester Stallone is going through a rocky time in his personal life, but it’s not stopping him from kicking butt on screen, and tapping into his inner superhero.
Court documents reveal Stallone’s wife Jennifer Flavin filed for divorce from the star on August 19, after 25 years of marriage. Four days after the filing, the “Rocky” star covered up a tattoo on his right arm of Flavin, replacing it with a picture of the dog Butkis, who appeared with him in the “Rocky” movies.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Stallone said: “I love my family. We are amicably and privately addressing these personal issues.”
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Stallone also opened up to Fox News Digital about his new film “Samaritan,” where he plays a retired superhero.
“It’s kind of like if Rocky were a superhero. It’s something that is identifiable and street like. It’s not set in some super fantastic universe, it’s set among brick and concrete, and identifiable situations. That’s what I liked about it,” Stallone said at a recent press event. “He can’t fly, he can’t see through walls, fire doesn’t come out of his mouth. He is just a unique superhero. He’s almost like a modern day Hercules. I think those are ones you can identify with. “
While it is a superhero movie, the “Rocky” star says that unlike other movies in the genre, the dangers in “Samaritan” are much more realistic.
In the movie, Stallone’s character left his vigilante ways behind after going through something in his personal life and decided instead to pursue a career he believed would make him invisible to the public, as a garbage man. It isn’t until his neighbor – a teenage boy – asks him for help that his perspective starts to shift, and he sees himself as a hero again.
“I always feel, there is nothing quite as relatable as almost getting hit by a car or walking down a dark alley and there is a shadow coming around behind you, that is very relatable,” the actor explained. “We try to make the events and the danger plausible and identifiable. Something that is very tangible. It’s not from another universe, it’s right here in the streets … That’s what I tried to add to this. A sense of impending danger, but it’s real.”
Stallone was excited to play a superhero who was a normal guy, living a normal life who just happens to be super strong. He described his character as “pedestrian” and someone you might happen to sit next to on the bus “and not even know you’re sitting next to some fellow here who can literally lift the bus up.”
The teenage neighbor who drags his character out of retirement is played by “Euphoria” actor Javon “Wanna” Walton, who impressed Stallone with his humor and his overall talent as an actor. He praised Walton for coming to set with a smile every day, saying it lifted his energy as well. Stallone says he “couldn’t wait to sit there and start trash talking” with him each day.
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“This kid is just pulling me back and saying stop being a coward, be who you are. Save me. Be my father, is what he is saying, and I have nothing,” Stallone said, speaking as his character. “He is a lonely old man who is going into obscurity. He finds broken objects in the trash, which is symbolic of him. He could fix everything, except for himself. Along comes the young man, and he fixes me… then you see the hero aspect come out.”
Stallone said he tried his hardest to make Walton feel comfortable on set and create a connection with the young actor, using his own experiences as an up-and-coming actor walking on to film sets and feeling a little intimidated.
“I remember the first time I walked onto a set, there was Robert Mitchum, or John Wayne. It throws you off your game,” Stallone explained. “I put myself in their position, and I kept it light, like a child. I would joke, I did things with humor, so he was completely relaxed.”
Stallone says that in his opinion, it is extremely important for the older generation to spend time with the younger generation because it reinvigorates them, saying, “they grab your wisdom, and you grab their energy.”
“There is something so invigorating and infectious about this kid who is full of life and who just wants to explode,” he explained. “He wants you to help him, educate him, take him on this journey, so in a sense he is winding the clock back for me.”
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When it came to choosing a director, Stallone chose up-and-comer Julius Avery, who is known for “Overlord,” “Son of a Gun” and “Jerrycan.” Stallone intentionally chose a younger director because he believed the type of movie they were making required someone eager to work.
Having directed many films himself, Stallone knew the amount of work required to complete an action film, admitting they get to “a certain point where they’ve lost a little speed” and don’t want to deal with the long nights and constant questions pointed their way.
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“Young guys, they’re hungry, they’re drooling, they live for this stuff. This is their moment. Their testosterone is pouring out of their ears, and they are going to stay up late at night and deliver,” he explained . “That’s why I think if you are going to do that kind of film you need that kind of energy. I’ve done it the other way, and it has not worked out very well.”
Stallone also cleared up any doubts surrounding whether he is thinking of slowing down and taking a step back from action movies. He believes action films are as important as any other genre and can bring people from different cultures together. He credits his experience working on “Rambo” as the moment he realized how important action movies are.
“It’s modern mythology. We need these stories cathartically. Every society needs these figures… we see this from the ‘Iliad,’ the ‘Odyssey,’ to present day Marvel. There is no difference. It is the same thing,” he said . “I am fascinated with the idea of being able to tell stories that are understood by a culture, different complete culture, but they completely get it because we are hitting on the same emotions that every human being on the planet shares.”
“Samaritan” is streaming on Amazon Prime now.