Sylvester Stallone may have made his film debut in his proud role of boxer Rocky Balboa, but he still always wanted to play a gangster. With that tough machismo and athletic build, who would refuse him in a gangster role? The answer to that question would be the mother of all gangster films, The Godfather, and Stallone’s attempt to be an extra for the Francis Ford Coppola film didn’t go so well.
All Sylvester Stallone wanted to do was fade into the background of The Godfather’s wedding reception scene. Now, was that asking too much? This would be been his chance to be featured in one of the best opening scenes you’ll find in a movie. As Stallone told Empire, Paramount didn’t think he’d be a good fit for the gangster flick.
While the Rambo star couldn’t include The Godfather in his acting resume, he didn’t need that film to make his mark on the Hollywood scene. Three years later, a little picture called Rocky ended up becoming a big franchise. During the early days when he was writing Rocky, Stallone was just a man with his own screenplay, an adorable Bullmastiff named Butkus, and a dream. After seeing boxer Chuck Wepner moving forward and fighting despite Muhammad Ali's blows in the March 24, 1975 fight, he knew that would be the makings of a great movie.
Producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff offered the New Yorker $350,000 for the script with a deal being made as long as Stallone was allowed to play the lead. Rocky ended up being the highest-grossing film of 1976 and knocked out a win for the Best Picture award. This sports drama didn’t stop there as there came many more sequels as well as the Creed spinoff films.
Being an extra in The Godfather wasn’t meant to be for Sylvester Stallone, but another dream of his came true of playing a gangster role five decades later. Expect him to be a total boss in the upcoming crime drama series Tulsa King. Made by the creator of Paramount’s Yellowstone, Tulsa King has Stallone playing Dwight "The General'' Manfredi who’s a New York mafia captain seeking to establish his empire after serving a 25-year prison sentence. This Oscar winner is so proud to be part of this Western/gangster film as he gets used to “the flow” of working on a scripted television series as well as connecting with the other actors.
It may have taken about 50 years since The Godfather for Sylvester Stallone to play the mafia role he’s always wanted, but like he said, “Everything comes to those who wait.” Get ready to be wowed by this underdog actor’s performance in Tulsa King coming on your Paramount+ subscription on November 13th.
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Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.