A boxing underdog story from Philadelphia made Sylvester Stallone a Hollywood star. With Rocky, the actor not only earned two Oscar nominations, but the film laid the foundations for a storied career. And Sly’s been taking a nostalgic look back.
Now the action star has unearthed some treasures from earlier times. Stallone posted old photos from the shooting of the third instalment of the Rocky saga on his Instagram account and entertained his followers with some brilliant anecdotes like…
- the on set diet
- the stars strange behaviours
- Stallones encounter with Hulk Hogan
The biscuit and coffee diet
To get as muscular as possible, Stallone stuck to a strict protein diet during the shoot. His incredible menu consisted of a few oatmeal biscuits with brown rice, 25 cups of coffee a day and a few spoonfuls of tuna. “At the time my body fat got down to 2.9 which is a really dangerous level. I may have looked pretty good on the outside but inside it was a very dangerous thing to do,” writes Stallone.
He was both dizzy in the ring and exhausted. During breaks, the actor tried to make blood flow to his head again by doing handstands.
The hard knocks of Mr. T
Stallone wanted the fights to look real. Therefore, Mister T who played Clubber Lang was told he should strike with all his strength. And he had plenty of it. “He was an All-State running back and hit with incredible force.
Actually, he threw so hard that he was damaging his fist when he caught me on the hip bone or on the elbows,” says Stallone. Despite Sly covering himself, Mr. T still sent his opponent into the ropes time and again. “He was a beast! Especially when he didn’t get his mint chip ice-cream on time,” jokes Rocky.
Mr. T’s favourite flavour
“Like I said before we were on a strict diet. Mr. T suffered and got into great shape. Not easy,” says Sly. To stay sin-free, Rocky and Clubber made a pact only to consume water, tuna and coffee during filming of the fight scenes. After the last punch, both were allowed to try an ice cream.
“All week long he would be talking about the mint chip ice cream. How slow he is going to eat it, how it’s going to melt in his mouth, between punches, in clinches, between rounds, he dreamed only about Friday night and his beloved mint chip ice cream.”
After the last fight, both ran straight to Mr. T’s trailer still in their shorts. Then the shock; no mint ice cream in the fridge. “To this day, I cannot look at a container of mint chip ice cream and not think of my buddy Clubber and his very sad eyes.”
Sylvester Stallone meets Hulk Hogan
Stallone first met wrestler Hulk Hogan during filming and cast him in a scene in the movie. “I remember a violent move where he threw me into the corner, charged across the ring like an enraged bull and leaped so amazingly high above me, that his shinbone actually came down like a giant tree on my collarbone,” says Stallone, who thought his bone was then protruding from the shoulder.
“Hulk just didn’t know his own strength. Believe it or not when he jumped into the audience to fight with the stuntmen, three of them had to be treated at the hospital. Great guy, great friend, his presence made the film very very special.”
No part for “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier
In fact, Stallone wanted a real fighter for the role of Clubber Lang and chased heavyweight champ “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier for the part. “So, I naïvely said, why don’t we get into the ring and move around a little and see how we look together? I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was like going into a lion’s cage covered in steak sauce,” says Stallone.
He was able to dodge the blows of the professional boxer for about two seconds, then Sly was on the end of a beating: a left hook, a right jab and Rocky went down. Stallone got six stitches, and Frazier didn’t get the part.