Sylvester Stallone has admitted that he gets more out of acting now than he ever has done.
Talking at a virtual press conference for his new superhero movie Samaritan, the 76-year-old star of Rocky and Rambo said: “I enjoy acting now more than when I was 30, 35. You think you know everything [at that age]. You know nothing.
“I think the soft spot in a man’s head doesn’t get hard until about 41. You just… you’re still learning. You think you got it under control, not quite.”
Rising to fame in the 1970s, Stallone hit the big time at the age of 30 writing and starring in 1976’s Oscar-winning boxing drama Rocky. This led to starring roles in Escape To Victory, Nighthawks and First Blood, as well as subsequent Rocky and Rambo sequels making him one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
His new film, the Prime Video-exclusive Samaritan — directed by Overlord’s Julius Avery — sees Stallone playing Joe Smith AKA Samaritan, a superhero in hiding, who is living out his twilight days as a garbage man.
Watch a trailer for Samaritan
Stallone says he was able to tap into his pre-fame life to portray Smith, sharing some of the less glamorous jobs he took before making the A-list of Hollywood.
“I have been everything from a door man, to like a bartender, to cutting fish, as working in lion’s cages, to a movie usher where you have… you’re the third one who wears the same tuxedo,” Stallone revealed.
Read more: How Rocky mirrored Stallone’s real life
“So you have two other guys’ BO, and people are blaming it on you. I mean, you just… I understand how the whole process works.
“And you got to be a little humble and eat a little humble pie to get through it all.”
Reflecting on playing characters with a few more miles on the clock that he used to, Stallone says it’s a challenge he now relishes and that it helped getting into the mindset of a past-it superhero.
“I think there is a point where you say okay, you can’t do 29-year-old Rambo kind of a thing, because you also have to honour who you at your age,” he explained. “That’s the part of it that you’re not who you were, but you’re still there.
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“Actually, there’s a line in there where you start to fall apart when you stop caring, about everything, meaning life, yourself, everything. So I thought that this guy, his trait would be in his resolve.”
Having directed a number of movies himself, including four Rocky sequels and 2008’s Rambo, Stallone had nothing but praise for his director on Samaritan.
“I’ve directed a few things myself. And it’s kinda like having your spleen pulled out through your nose with a tractor,” Stallone admitted.
Read more: Stallone teases Demolition Man 2
“It’s not fun. It’s hard work. [People say] ‘Oh, it’s so glamorous.’ It’s not glamorous. It’s brutal. It takes a toll on your private life. Forget about sleeping. You answer eight thousand questions a day. It’s tough. And then you have post-production. So you have no life.”
“Young guys [like Julius], they’re hungry. They’re drooling. They live for this stuff. This is their moment. Their testosterone is pouring out of their ears. And they’re gonna stay up late at night and deliver. So that’s why I think if you’re gonna do that kind of film, you need that kind of energy.”
Samaritan premieres on Prime Video on 26 August.
Watch: Stallone hits out at Irwin Winkler over Rocky rights