An Evening with Sylvester Stallone at the London Palladium
During a tour to promote his new film Grudge Match, Hollywood action legend Sylvester Stallone dropped by the London Palladium theatre on Saturday evening to talk about fame, body-building, Tinseltown and of course, movies. The venue was packed with goo-goo-eyed fans and action movie buffs who drank in the Oscar-nominated icon’s every word as he, with an informal and friendly air, regaled stories of his rise to stardom, his successes and failures, his love of films and the difficulties in writing screenplays to TV’s Jonathan Ross.
A panorama of Sly’s career was played up for the audience, starting in his early days with him appearing in cinematic clunkers like the 1970’s No Place to Hide, which despite the outcome, convinced the actor to make the screen trade his bread and butter. His journey to the top of course hit the roof and beyond when he wrote and starred in Rocky in 1976, which earned him 6 award nominations (including one for Best Original Screenplay for Stallone) and winning 3, including the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year. He talked also of the Rambo movies, and his regret of its increasing move from a rough and ready survivor’s tale to an over-the-top superhero saga.
His ventures into directing, such as Rocky II, his uneasy foray into movie musical territory with the 1983 film Staying Alive, his reputed rivalry with the other action legend of the 80s and 90s Arnold Schwarzenegger (which he confirmed, saying it fuelled the ambition of both), and movies he regrets having turned down (Jon Voight’s Going Home, Witness starring Harrison Ford and Robert Zemeckis’s Romancing the Stone, among others) were all touched upon, as well as his love – and fear – of writing. “Sequels are the hardest”, he said at one point, “it’s kinda like singing the same song twice on stage.” Other surprising details were revealed, such as his admiration for the work of actor Kelsey Grammer and the nature of the secret pet-project he has been planning for years: a biopic of the life of Edgar Allen Poe.
The Q&A session was disappointingly brief, especially in view of the fact that for an hour’s talk tickets went at £45, for what was in effect a long advertisement for Stallone’s new movie. But in the end, the sea of Sly’s devoted fans were more than happy to dish out the money in order to listen up close to one of Hollywood’s greatest living legends.
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