Speaking to Entertainment Tonight Canada at the world premiere of his biographical documentary “Sly,” Sylvester Stallone called himself “the last of the dinosaurs” while praising his career longevity. The “Rocky” icon was referring to the fact that he’s one of the few ’80s action stars left continuing to headline movies, which is the case with the upcoming fourth “Expendables” movie. He’s also the lead of the Paramount+ series “Tulsa King,” which has been renewed for a second season.
“You can’t be prepared for this…the longevity of this career is mind-blowing,” Stallone said. “It’s just mind-blowing because I don’t know how much longer you can wait. Society is changing, the commerciality in cinema, it’s faster. So longevity would become a premium.”
Stallone continued, “I consider myself like the last of the dinosaurs, you know what I mean? And I’m very proud of that. But yeah, you have to really think about that. It’s incredible. I mean it’s been almost 50 years… So I don’t take it for granted, but I really want to spend it with my loved ones. The majority of what’s left.”
The 77-year-old actor is front and center in “Expend4bles,” which co-stars his fellow ’80s action star Dolph Lundgren. Stallone’s contemporaries such as Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer act for the most part. In Schwarzenegger’s Netflix documentary “Arnold,” Stallone said there’s no question that Schwarzenegger was the more ideal action hero.
“The ’80s was a very interesting time because the definitive ‘action guy’ had not really been formed yet,” Stallone said. “Up until that time, action was a car chase like ‘Bullitt’ or ‘The French Connection.’ A film all about intellect and innuendo and verbal this and verbal that.”
Stallone credited Schwarzenegger with making action cinema more dependent on the actor.
“You actually relied upon your body to tell the story,” Stallone said. “Dialogue was not necessary. I saw that there was an opportunity, because no one else was doing this except some other guy from Austria, who doesn’t need to say much… He was superior. He just had all the answers. He had the body. He had the strength. That was his character.”
“I had to get my ass kicked constantly, whereas Arnold, he never got hurt much,” Stallone added about their differences in their action hero personas. “And I’m going, ‘Arnold, you could go out and fight a dragon and you’d come back with a Band-Aid.’”
Stallone admitted to Forbes last November that the two actors “really disliked each other immensely” for over two decades as their action films competed at the box office.
“We were…this may sound a little vain, but I think we were pioneering a kind of genre at that time and it hasn’t been seen since really,” Stallone said. “So the competition, because it’s his nature, he is very competitive and so am I… and I just thought it actually helped, but off-screen we were still competitive and that was not a healthy thing at all, but we’ve become really good friends.”
“Expend4bles” opens in theaters Sept. 22 from Lionsgate. “Sly” streams on Netflix starting Nov. 3.