The last rendez-vous of the Festival took place today with an exceptional guest: Sylvester Stallone. The actor behind the iconic characters of Rocky and Rambo was welcomed to thunderous applause. With a career spanning more than forty years, the actor returns this year to present images of Rambo V: Last Blood, the newest opus of the Rambo saga, which will be released this fall. Also a screenwriter and director, he answered questions from journalist Didier Allouch. The man with the nickname of “Sly” looked back on his fulfilling career, his inspirations and his success.
On his success:
In the beginning, I didn’t think I’d succeed. I was a nobody; I was just a simple parking valet. Our lives can change in an instant: all it takes is just one good idea! My physique wasn’t perfect, and my face is partially paralyzed. When I tried to get jobs, nobody could understand what I was saying. I’ve always remained an optimist. If I was able to do it, anyone can.
On the success of Rocky:
On paper, Rocky was a big failure. We shot the film in 25 days on a small budget. What it owes its success to is this story of a man who fought to get to the top. He fails once, perseveres, and succeeds the second time. Rocky is an optimistic film. It’s symbolic. A lot of people can identify with this character. That’s the power of cinema! Even today, there are “Rockys” and “Rockyettes” all over the world.
On the political message of Rambo:
I’m practically a political atheist. I had never even voted before making the film. I did some research on all the suicides by veterans who had been destroyed by the Vietnam War. The story was interesting. The film wasn’t supposed to send a political message, but it did. Ronald Reagan even said, “I saw Rambo, and he’s a republican!” I was really surprised.
On getting old:
Rocky Balboa shows the way in which one accepts getting old. That was also the idea behind The Expendables: we got all our childhood heroes together in one film. Of course they had aged, but all together, they were strong! When you get old, you shouldn’t pretend otherwise or try to hide the changes; you have to accept it and move on.
On Creed and the return of Rocky:
All those who told me I was finished were wrong. In the beginning, when Ryan Coogler proposed the idea, I didn’t want to do it. But he was so passionate about it that I accepted. And it’s worked twice.
It’s non-stop. There are so many things, people, and stories around us that you can never lack inspiration.
There’s something in human nature that makes us tough. We have to fight, and we don’t accept defeat easily. Failure makes us smarter. We’re able to accept our weaknesses and transform them into strengths.
On his artistic legacy:
I don’t necessary think about the legacy that my career will leave behind. I don’t think that you can plan that. One thing is for sure though; you always have to keep fighting.