There can never be another Sylvester Stallone; that’s a fact for a reason. Aside from having played onscreen characters that struggled to make it, Stallone’s own life resembles a lot of his onscreen characters, and maybe that’s why they came to be synonymous with him. In doing so, along the way, Sylvester Stallone became an example of running against the wind, going against the odds and making it. How did he make all this possible? Let’s check it out…
“I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going.”
One of the biggest action stars in the world with the roles of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo, Stallone had to climb up the ladder to where he is, which was far from what you would think would’ve been comfortable.
When he was born, his delivery was difficult and complications led to his facial muscles being partially paralyzed for life. During his turbulent teenage years, he was expelled from several high schools, but at his special secondary school for problem boys, he found much success in sports and drama.
“I have tons of regrets, but I think that’s one of the reasons that push people to create things. Out of their angst, their regret, comes the best from artists, painters and writers.”
Sylvester Stallone was a troubled child trying to cope with his parents’ divorce.
At 5 years old, Stallone moved in with his father in Washington DC, prior to which he spent a majority of his life in foster care. Affected by a hostile relationship that his parents shared, Stallone struggled emotionally and academically which saw him being expelled from several schools.
Stallone dropped out of school to build a career in acting in New York. A time during which Stallone did all kinds of odd jobs like cleaning out lion cages in the city zoo and working as an usher at cinema halls, anything and everything to keep himself afloat. In fact, that rumour about him first appearing in a porn film is not a rumour. He made a small cameo appearance in an adult movie, The Party at Kitty and Stud’s (1970). But during this time, Stallone began to focus more on writing screenplays and scripts.
“When you’re scared, when you’re hanging on, when life is hurting you, then you’re going to see what you’re really made of.”
It was sometime during 1975 that Stallone found himself so broke and financially crippled that the one thing he had in his possession – his bull mastiff, Butkus – had to be sold to the first and nearest person that seemed interested. He had to sell his precious asset just to ensure the dog didn’t die out of starvation. That night he came home and cried.
It was the lowest point of the Genius’ life, but two weeks later it was all about to change. When Sylvester watched a boxing fight between Muhammad Ali, who was the greatest boxer in the world at that time and Chuck Wepner as an opponent, an absolute unknown who nobody thought had any chance.
To everyone’s shock, Chuck Wepner almost beat Ali and lasted 15 rounds with him. This gave Stallone a movie idea.
A movie that would soon become one of the most successful cinematic releases in history.
“There’s a natural law of karma that vindictive people, who go out of their way to hurt others, will end up broke and alone.”
A partially paralysed lip and slurred speech did their best to hold Stallone back, but it didn’t work. When Sylvester met producers, most of them made fun of this fact and told him it would never happen.
“I’m always looking for a new challenge. There are a lot of mountains to climb out there. When I run out of mountains, I’ll build a new one.”
While the script for Rocky had already garnered the attention it needed from production houses, Stallone had to walk away from the deal they offered. Not just once, but twice. Upon being offered to have the script produced to a feature film, Stallone rejected it because the producers didn’t let him play the protagonist. An offer of over ₹67 lakh at a time when he was the poorest guy around.
Was he crazy?
This man was so poor, he didn’t even have enough money to eat. But he kept turning down their offers. Any other person in his place would have accepted the offer, but not Stallone. The desire to fulfill his dream of becoming a movie star was greater than the temptation of the immediate gratification offered by the huge money. Eventually, the producers buckled and offered Stallone to play the protagonist in the movie with a final offer of ₹17 lakh.
“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.”
There is no force in the world that can stop you from moving ahead. Not even your ethnicity, your gender, your age, nor a disability and it certainly isn’t about your current economic condition. The only thing that can be an obstruction is the lack of your own will to succeed.
“Life is more than sunglasses and hit movies. Reality – that’s the main event.”
Don’t be disheartened when things are hard. If they were easy, everyone would do it. The harder the path you traverse, the greater your story shall be, for you shall become an inspiration to everyone else who wants to walk that path. Just look at Stallone, he completed that journey and is now an inspiration to millions and lives his dream. MagTapp believes in this spirit of empowerment. The ability to rise above the rest, even when there are hundreds of obstacles to pull you down. So make sure you check out MagTapp without wasting any more time.
“Because You Are A Genius”