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Fan Friday – Sylvester Stallone

Fan Friday – Sylvester Stallone 

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Rocky movies franchise (Rocky I-V & Rocky Balboa). I could spend the entire day talking about them, because I love them, but today I want to spotlight the creator of the Rocky series, actor Sylvester Stallone. I’ve always liked him as an actor and after recently watching his revealing episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio I have developed a love for him as a person. To me, Stallone is the epitome of RESILIENCE and PERSEVERANCE. He is literally a “rags to riches” story. He grew up poor – a child of Italian/French/Russian Jewish immigrants – working odd jobs here and there, and after studying drama in college he moved to New York to pursue acting. He went in for hundreds of auditions and kept getting turned down and was told by many casting directors that he would never be an actor because of his snarling look and slightly slurred speech (both due to facial nerve damage he suffered when he was born).

By the time he was in his late 20’s he was married, broke, and about to be evicted from his apartment. He was so poor and so desperate that he ended up selling his beloved dog to a stranger at a local bar for $50 because he couldn’t even afford dog food. One night he saw a boxing match between Muhammed Ali and Chuck Wepner and he saw Wepner knock down Ali during the ninth round. Now Ali still ended up winning the fight but the fact that Chuck Wepner, the “underdog,” was able to knockdown the world heavyweight champ at that time was something phenomenal to witness and it showed Stallone that even when all the odds are against you, as long as you keep fighting you can achieve greatness. After that he went home inspired and spent the next three days writing the screenplay for Rocky; a story about an uneducated but kind-hearted club fighter in Philadelphia who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship.

After writing Rocky he tried to shop it around to different studios but nobody wanted to touch it. Finally, he found a studio that was willing to make it but they wanted to cast other well-known names, like Ryan O’Neal and Burt Reynolds, as the lead actor instead of him. They kept offering him more and more money to give up the role (from $20,000 to $80,000 to $200,000 to $300,000 to $330,000 and even to $360,000!) but he refused. Mind you, he only had $106 in the bank to his name yet he insisted that he had to be Rocky because he believed it was his story to tell. They eventually conceded and let him play Rocky but only agreed to pay him $340 per week, which he accepted. Well, we all know what happened after that. The movie became a huge success and catapulted him to stardom.

I am 100% inspired by Stallone’s story because we all have moments when we feel defeated or want to give up on our dreams but these types of stories serve to remind us that the only way we’ll ever get what we want, and more than we can imagine, is if we KEEP GOING. No matter the circumstance, no matter how unlikely it seems, no matter who supports you or not, you have got to KEEP GOING. I recommend that you all read up on Stallone’s biography because I promise you will feel more inspired than ever to go for what you want and have more faith than ever in your ability to make your dreams come true.

 submitted by Diana from Louisiana


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