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Sylvester Stallone is going through a rough time in his personal life, but it doesn’t stop him from stepping on the screen and tapping into his inner superhero.
Court documents show that Stallone’s wife Jennifer Flavin filed for divorce from the star on August 19, after 25 years of marriage. Four days after the submission, the ‘Rocky’ star covered up a tattoo on his right arm of Flavin and replaced it with a photo 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 addressing these personal issues amicably and privately.”
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Stallone also told Fox News Digital about his new movie “Samaritan,” in which he plays a retired superhero.
“It’s like Rocky was a superhero. It’s something that’s recognizable and street-like. It’s not set in a super fantastic universe, it’s set between brick and concrete and recognizable situations. That’s what I loved about it.” said Stallone. at a recent press event. “He can’t fly, he can’t see through walls, there’s no fire coming out of his mouth. He’s just a unique superhero. He’s almost like a modern Hercules. I think you can identify with that.”
Although it’s a superhero movie, the “Rocky” star says that unlike other movies in the genre, the dangers in “Samaritan” are much more realistic.
In the film, Stallone’s character left his vigilante after experiencing something in his personal life and instead decided to pursue a career that he believed would make him invisible to the public, as a garbage collector. It’s only when his neighbor – a teenage boy – asks him for help that his perspective starts to change and he sees himself as a hero again.
“I always feel that there is nothing more recognizable than being almost hit by a car or walking down a dark alley and a shadow is coming behind you, that is very recognizable,” the actor explains. “We’re trying to make the events and the danger plausible and identifiable. Something that’s very tangible. It’s not from another universe, it’s here on the street… That’s what I was trying to add to this. A sense of impending danger, but it’s real.”
Stallone was excited to play a superhero who was a normal man, living a normal life, and happened to be super strong. He described his character as “pedestrian” and someone you happen to sit next to on the bus “and don’t even know you’re sitting next to some guy who can literally lift the bus.”
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 the set every day with a smile, and said it also boosted his energy. Stallone says he “couldn’t wait to sit there and talk to him every day” with him.
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“This boy just pulls me back and says stop being a coward, be who you are. Save me. Be my father, is what he says, and I have nothing,” Stallone said, speaking like his character. “He is a lonely old man who is forgotten. He finds broken objects in the trash, which is symbolic of him. He can fix everything but himself. Here comes the young man, and he fixes me…then see your hero aspect comes to the fore.”
Stallone said he went out of his way to make Walton feel comfortable on set and bond with the young actor, drawing on his own experiences as an up and coming actor who walked into movie sets and felt a little intimidated.
“I remember the first time I walked into a set, Robert Mitchum or John Wayne. It puts you off your game,” Stallone explained. “I put myself in their position, and I kept it light, like a kid. I joked, I did things with humor, so he was totally relaxed.”
Stallone says he thinks it’s extremely important for the older generation to spend time with the younger generation because it breathes new life into them, saying, “They grab your wisdom and you grab their energy.”
“There is something so stimulating and infectious about this kid who is full of life and just wants to explode,” he explained. “He wants you to help him, teach him, take him on this journey, so in a way he’s turning back the clock for me.”
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When choosing a director, Stallone chose newcomer Julius Avery, who is known for ‘Overlord’, ‘Son of a Gun’ and ‘Jerrycan’. Stallone deliberately chose a younger director because he believed the kind of film they were making needed someone willing to work.
Having directed many films himself, Stallone knew how much work it takes to complete an action film, admitting that they “get to a certain point where they’ve lost a little bit of 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’re living for this stuff. This is their moment. Their testosterone is pouring out of their ears, and they’re going to stay up late at night to give birth,” he explained. “That’s why I think if you’re going to make a film like that, you need that kind of energy. I did it the other way around, and it didn’t work out so well.”
Stallone has also cleared up any doubts about whether he’s considering slowing down and stepping back from action movies. He believes that action movies are just as important as any other genre and can bring people from different cultures together. He credits his experience working on “Rambo” as the moment when he realized how important action movies are.
“It’s modern mythology. We just need these stories. Every society needs these numbers… we see this from the ‘Iliad’, the ‘Odyssey’, to the current Marvel. There’s no difference. It’s the same, ” he said . “I’m fascinated by the idea of being able to tell stories that are understood by one culture, another entire culture, but they totally understand because we touch the same emotions that every human being on the planet shares.”
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“Samaritan” is now streaming on Amazon Prime.