Why Sylvester Stallone Tries to Intimidate His Daughters’ Boyfriends

From a Wall Street Journal story by Lane Florsheim headlined “Why Sylvester Stallone Tries to Intimidate His Daughters’ Boyfriends”:

Sylvester Stallone is one of the most famous actors of his generation. But he says he owes most of his success to failure.

“If I had made it like I wished early on in my career, I never would have turned to writing,” said Stallone, 76, who drafted the original script for “Rocky” in three days when he was a struggling actor. “I did that to fill time and to feel creative, even though the writing was truly horrible. It wasn’t even birdcage-worthy. You know what I mean? It’s not even worth lining a birdcage with.”

Working on a screenplay about Edgar Allan Poe, his literary hero, was a breakthrough for Stallone that eventually led him to “Rocky.”

“I just started to identify with the fact that he had almost zero recognition in his own lifetime,” Stallone said. “Let me take my journey and put it into the metaphor of a boxer, because that’s what life is. It’s a struggle, it’s a battle. No one cares about the struggling writer. Everyone knows what it’s like to get hit and want to hit.”

These days, the actor and filmmaker lives in Palm Beach, Fla., and the Los Angeles area with his wife, entrepreneur Jennifer Flavin. The couple has three daughters, Sophia, 26, Sistine, 24, and Scarlet, 21, with whom they appear in the reality TV series “The Family Stallone.” Here, Stallone discusses his former rivalry with Arnold Schwarzenegger, his starring role on the Paramount+ show “Tulsa King” and why he sometimes works out in a top hat.

What time do you get up on Mondays, and what’s the first thing you do after waking up?

If I’m writing, then it’s a very, very restless time, and I get up at about 5:30 a.m. I used to be a nighttime writer. Then I realized everything was very dismal and I started becoming a morning writer. So I get up and then I psych myself up. I look at the page and go, “This is going to be horrible, but you’re gonna fight through it, so you’re not going to leave until you start to write.”

Before that, I have to start stretching. I have to start moving, get the body going, because there’s nothing worse than sitting down like you’re all decrepit and crinkled up from laying in a fetal position all night long.

Then there’s the time like now, where I get up at the crack of noon and go to bed very, very late. And I just do a lot of daydreaming. What am I going to plan ahead? What’s for the next six months, what’s for the next year? Today, I got up and read two scripts already. And then I realized I have to rewrite these scripts. There’s a curse about knowing how to do things too much. You can’t just focus on one job.

How do you like your breakfast?

My wife is focused on breakfast. It’s amazing. It’s avocado, four eggs, cottage cheese, three slices of watermelon and grapes.

Are you a coffee drinker?

I am, but I keep getting reflux, so I have to cut it down. I used to drink about 10 cups a day. Actually, I used to drink about 25 cups a day when I was doing “Rocky 3.” My entire breakfast would be maybe two [small] oatmeal cookies made with brown rice and 10 cups of coffee because I wanted to keep my body fat down to 2.8%. I was forgetting my phone number. I was eating just tuna fish. My memory was shot, it was completely gone. I was getting all kinds of debilitating physical effects. But it was for the cause.

What’s your exercise routine like?

I’ve had five back operations, two shoulders, three neck fusions, both knees—I’m bionic. So I’ve gone from lifting regular weights to mostly bands, cables. It’s kind of like physical therapy. So, you’re using the bar, you’re using different motions and keeping those joints moving all the time.

On “The Family Stallone,” your daughters talk about seeing you work out in a cowboy hat. I was wondering how often you wear one of those when you’re exercising.

I do things like that just to keep it interesting. I’ll be in headbands, I’ll be in a top hat, in cowboy hats, just to break the doldrums. It’s really hard to work out alone.

Your daughter Scarlet thanked you on the show for sending her really good skin care products. What is your personal favorite?

Well, if you want to save some money, Nivea is the best. The heavy stuff—you can’t go out, you can’t go anywhere, you’re completely white until it sinks in. I think that skin is very important. It’s the largest organ in the body, and we take the worst care of it. We go out in the sun, we bake it. I spend a lot of time trying to keep the skin in pretty good shape. What is that stuff, La Biologique?

Biologique Recherche.

That’ll cost you a little bit. I use that a lot.

I read that you decided to play your “Tulsa King” character Dwight as close to yourself as you’ve ever played a character.

The hardest thing to do when you’re acting is not act, because you feel like, Oh, I have to act, that’s what they’re paying me to do. So you tend to overdo it. The way I’m talking to you right now, that’s me. And I thought, OK, what if I was a gangster? I’m talking to you and I am a killer. I’m a multiple-murder bank robber, you name it—but I have this personality. I think it’s disarming. I have an outgoing nature, a pretty broad sense of humor. I thought if I could work that in and take people down that course, they’d go, wait a minute, is this some kind of spoof?

How would you describe your sense of humor?

I tend to be a little caustic in humor. Like if you have nothing nice to say about anybody, sit next to me, like the old joke goes. I’m always trash-talking, and I love getting it back to me. What is the word I call it? Male-pattern badness.

Are you as menacing toward your daughters’ boyfriends as they say you are?

I know how these guys think. I happen to have been one. It’s nature, but I want to let them know. I say, “OK, when you’re trying to kiss her, it’s like you’re trying to kiss me at the same time.” I’m very connected to my family, so if you do something that’s inappropriate, it’s like you did it to me. And there’s going to be an issue and it’s going to be a great deal of pain. I’m incredibly protective over my daughters, because I know it’s a dangerous planet. I don’t know how [women] do it, because you have to be on guard all the time. I mean, guys are so big and so strong. Why are women so cunning? Why do you think? How about self-preservation, moron?

One of my favorite parts early in the show is when you say to Al Pacino, “Let’s face it, Al. We have cool personalities.” What’s the coolest thing about you?

I’m pretty witty. I try to find laughs when they’re not in abundance. Sometimes it gets a little irritating and people tell me, shut up. It’s like with me and Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. We have this caustic sense of humor, and we go at each other nonstop. I almost covet a good enemy. He really brings out the best of you. [Back in the day], we couldn’t breathe the same air. But that made us work harder. And then we eventually realized we’re pretty much cut from the same cloth—even though his cloth is more like itchy wool. I’m like silk.

I read that Adele is renovating the house she bought from you, but that she kept the Rocky statue that overlooks the pool. You didn’t want to take it with you?

I did. But she said, “That’s a no deal. That’s gonna blow the whole deal.” She wanted the statue. I like what she’s doing, she’s making it gorgeous.

What’s a piece of advice you’ve gotten that’s been important to you?

You don’t have to beat up on yourself. The world will beat up on you enough. Give yourself a break. I try to really see life with the eye of the tiger and a real sense of humor. It’s not easy, but without humor, this is not a fun place.

Speak Your Mind