fri 14/06/2024

Sylvester Stallone, London Palladium | reviews, news & interviews

Sylvester Stallone, London Palladium

Sylvester Stallone, London Palladium

Sly answers your questions on a good night for whooping fans of Rocky and Rambo

Sylvester Stallone onstage at the PalladiumJonathan Brady/PA

“There’s not much more I can do in action apart from explode,” says Sylvester Stallone with a grin on his face on being asked about the next step in his career. Following a video montage of the sweaty, musclebound action heroes Stallone is adored for (minus any clips from Rhinestone, his musical collaboration with Dolly Parton), a jolly and reflective Stallone took to the London Palladium stage in sharp suit full of sage advice and revelations about his writing process.

From the centre aisle of the Royal Circle, Sly looked fit and healthy and, thanks to the entire evening also being projected on a 30 ft screen, one could admire Stallone’s red, crinkly complexion from afar.

Stallone’s longevity in Hollywood is not only down to his incredibly loyal fanbase, who were out in full force, but keen business acumen and knowledge of the industry from years of experience and rejection. When talking about The Expendables franchise he is well aware that, on their own, the action stars of his era may not make blockbuster movies anymore but together they are bankable. He recently shared equal top billing for the first time with Arnold Schwarzenegger for prison break drama Escape Plan but now he says he’s ready to pass the baton along as far as action is concerned - conceding that “in reality your career has a shelf life” - with talk of wanting to take on more conversational roles in the same vein as late Nineties crime drama Cop Land.

Stallone is the embodiment of the American Dream, the hero of his own rags-to-riches story

Creed, a recently announced project with Ryan Coogler (whose first feature film Fruitvale Station has been showered with praise), sounds promising and the two could make a great pairing. Stallone said, “I play a supporting role, I sort of become Mickey Goldmill” (the boxing trainer played by Burgess Meredith in the Rocky films). The spinoff could mark the beginning of an interesting twilight to his career.

To understand where Sly is coming from and why he is so revered you just need to look back to his humble beginnings growing up in Hell’s Kitchen. Jonathan Ross, our knowledgeable host for the evening, engaged in frank discussion with Sly and took us through both the highlights and low moments of his career. Rosss’ obvious respect for Stallone shone through as he spoke of his lesser known films, such as F.I.S.T., with the same detail as the Rocky and Rambo franchises. The two of them even sang the theme tune to Paradise Alley together, received with whooping applause. Ross also asked Stallone about screen heroes such as Steve Reeves and Kirk Douglas, whom Stallone nearly worked with on First Blood, only Douglas insisted that “at the very end of the movie I should kill you…and you see me wearing your head band”. So sadly it never happened.

Stallone is the embodiment of the American Dream, the hero of his own rags-to-riches story, who spoke of how his mother promoted female wrestling when he was young and how being surrounded by strong women made him want to toughen up.  He also knows he made some mistakes along the way. Looking back on some of his interviews after achieving success, he said, “I want to punch myself in the face…I was insufferable.” Stallone has certainly matured now; his honesty, good humour and self-deprecating manner gave the evening a genuinely charming and uplifting ambience.

The glorious entertainment was somewhat marred when opened up to the audience for questions, including a script pitch from a producer. Sly took it in his own stride, talking about all the embarrassing, failed screenplays he had written including a Hasidic Western called Joe Holycrow which has somehow never saw the light of day. At the end he was inducted into the newly created London Palladium Hall of Fame before screaming fans, who cheered him on arrival, gave him a standing ovation on departure and chased his car down the road chanting “Rocky!” as he drove out of London.

The entertainment was marred when opened up to the audience for questions, including a script pitch from a producer

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I do think it should be noted that this happening, which I'd pay good money to avoid (but that's personal taste), cost £350 a shot. I'd be jolly too if I knew my punters were paying that.

Actually, I paid 75 quid for a ticket and it was a small price to pay for such a great once in a lifetime opportunity for good seats with a great view. Yes some elite tickets were 350 a pop but they were front row and so what? The man is a legend...are you? ;)

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