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Original script for Rocky looked a lot different as Sylvester Stallone was forced to rewrite character

Original script for Rocky looked a lot different as Sylvester Stallone was forced to rewrite character

In his documentary Sly, Sylvester Stallone has detailed the changes he had to make to the iconic boxer Rocky Balboa

Sylvester Stallone has revealed an earlier version of his iconic Rocky character was described as ‘cruel’ and the script required multiple rewrites.

Netflix’s documentary Sly - which dropped on Friday (November 3) - sees the superstar Stallone reflect on his career and some of his most iconic roles, most notably Rocky Balboa.

Stallone explained he had a difficult time getting into Hollywood and would only get small roles and was regularly typecast.

To sidestep this, he began writing scripts himself and writing characters that he would play himself since he was deemed ‘un-castable’.

During the documentary, he said while writing the film that would go on to propel him to stardom, a friend remarked that they hated the titular character.

“At the time, my friend, she was typing up [the story],” Stallone said.

“She started crying. She goes ‘I hate Rocky. I hate him. He’s cruel.

“'He hits people, he beats them up.'”

Stallone went on to explain how the adjustments he began to make helped create the loveable character known across the world now.

Stallone explained he had a difficult time getting into Hollywood.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

“I said, ‘What if you stop short of it? Like maybe he almost did, he could have, that’s his job, but he doesn’t,'” Stallone continued.

“I said, ‘What if he had a girlfriend, that’d be nice.'

“So, I go back, start writing that, ‘Girlfriend, Nice. But he’s not a fighter now. He's just a guy. There’s really no story. He’s just a guy, like on the fringe, a bum. He is a bum.'"

Stallone remarked how he had taken elements of previous films he had starred in and infused them into the Rocky character.

In the documentary, Stallone also explained the subtle complexities of the Rocky character is part of the reason the franchise was able to become so successful.

He also noted that his own difficult relationship with his father and tough upbringing allowed him to inject his own fears and frustrations into the character.

Stallone explained the adjustments he made Rocky the loveable character we have today.

“That’s what I liked about the character. He just somehow always kept it inside,” Stallone said.

“He never shared his grief or his disappointment with anyone, just himself.”

Speaking of a scene where Rocky has a confrontation with his soon-to-be boxing coach, Stallone explained he needed to speak about himself in the scene.

“When I wrote it, it was just one line and I got there and went, ‘I need to talk about me.’

“If I can take my frustration and voice it, I had a funny feeling people that there’s millions of people that have that same frustration, that were passed over, overlooked.”

Featured Image Credit: Donato Fasano/Getty Images / United Artists

Topics: Film and TV, Celebrity, Sylvester Stallone