Where Richard Gere And Sylvester Stallone's Infamous Feud Started

Sly in Rambo and Gere in Pretty Woman

While so many kids grow up wanting to be rich and famous, there are definitely downsides to fame. Perhaps the most notable is the lack of privacy, especially when it comes to both romantic relationships and conflicts with fellow celebs. Celebrity feuds have fascinated the public as long stars have existed-- Ryan Murphy even managed to make a successful TV drama about it. While millennials may be familiar with beef between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, there are plenty of juicy fights from decades before. Case in point: the long standing feud between actors Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone.

Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone's contentious relationship began years ago, when the two actors were set to star in 1974's The Lords of Flatbush. Gere was set to play protagonist Chico Tyrell-- a part eventually played by actor Perry King. But Stallone and Gere didn't get off well, with one onset incident resulting in Gere getting fired from the movie.

Sylvester Stallone actually opened up about the Lord of Flatbush drama in an interview with Aint It Cool, revealing that the incident actually involved Richard Gere's lunch, and one particular moment that royally pissed off Sly. As he told it,

He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table. One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with. Then we were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hotdog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper. I said, 'That thing is going to drip all over the place.' He said, 'Don't worry about it.' I said, 'If it gets on my pants you're gonna know about it.' He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me.

While it may seem a bit silly that Richard Gere's departure from the movie was about a mustard stain, it seems it was the principle of it all that really bothered Sylvester Stallone. While Gere would ultimately have a long and prosperous career in Hollywood, it doesn't look like he and Stallone ever made up.

In fact, the feud goes a step further, as some have speculated that Sylvester Stallone may have been responsible for the infamous Richard Gere gerbil rumor.

the cast of The Lords of Flatbush

Richard Gere is best known for his performances in movies like Chicago and Pretty Woman, although he's also had a bizarre and NSFW scandal following him for many years. In both the 1980s and 90s, a rumor swirled around that Gere was rushed into emergency surgery after inserting a living gerbil into his rectum. The rumor indicates that he went to the ER after the creature died in his body, resulting in a team of surgeons removing it. It's a pretty insane rumor that has become so embedded in pop culture that its been referenced in Saturday Night Live and Wes Craven's original Scream.

While rumors have indicated that Sylvester Stallone made up the story, he also probably didn't have much of a reason to start the gerbil rumor. He didn't end up losing his job, so it's not like he had extra reason to be angry with Richard Gere. Still, it's clear that Gere's attitude on the set of The Lords of Flatbush has stuck with the Rocky actor.

While Richard Gere only seldom references the gerbil rumor, there isn't a ton of information regarding his side of the ongoing feud with Sylvester Stallone. He most recently mentioned the gerbil around ten years ago, when explaining why he tries not too read too much press of tabloids. As he told the Village Voice (via Uproxx)

I stopped reading the press a long time ago. Lots of crazy things came up about me at first, especially from the tabloids. There is an infamous 'Gere stuck a hamster up his bum' urban myth.

Many have theorized that Sylvester Stallone might have made up this story to ruin the reputation of Richard Gere following their conflict. While Stallone had denied this accusation, the gerbil story has been a cloud around Gere's celebrity for years. In Sly's same conversation about the conflict he said,

He even thinks I'm the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor. Not true... but that's the rumor.

Ultimately Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone's feud, much like the gerbil rumor itself, will likely remain a mystery for the foreseeable future. The two actors likely won't be making up anytime soon, but hopefully they can enjoy their own success independent of the decades long scuffle on the set of The Lords of Flatbush.

Sylvester Stallone was most recently seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and is set to appear in Creed 2. Meanwhile, Gere has maintained that he's not interested in big studio movies at this time, with his last credit being 2017's Three Christs alongside Peter Dinklage.

Be sure to check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.