Sunday, April 21, 2024

Stallone Posts Another Attack on “Rocky” Producers, But Sources Say He’s Been Offered the Moon — and Turned it Down (Exclusive)


Sylvester Stallone has gone a little wonky.

Responding to news of a “Rocky” spin off movie called “Drago” written by Robert Lawton, Stallone has posted a new diatribe excoriating executive producer Irwin Winkler and his family. “Drago” would be the origin story of the Dolph Lundgren character who battled Rocky Balboa.

Stallone wrote on Instagram tonight: “Another Heartbreaker… Just found this out…ONCE AGAIN , PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS SELFISH USELESS CHILDREN are once again picking what is left OFF THE BONES of another wonderful character !!! Seriously , how do you weasels look in mirror ???. I am sorry to the FANS , I APOLOGIZE to the FANS I never wanted ROCKY to be exploited FOR THIS GREED .. # no shame #sad day #Parasite.”

But I’m told that Stallone’s producing partner, Braden Aftergood, sat in a Zoom pitch meeting in April with Lawton and signed off on the project, giving Stallone’s approval. According to my sources, MGM would not proceed with a “Rocky” spin off movie unless Stallone gave permission.


Now everyone involved is wondering why Stallone keeps attacking Winkler. Last week, Stallone claimed that Winkler was preventing Stallone from making more of his own “Rocky” movies. But I’m told exclusively that Stallone pitched a new movie about Rocky running for mayor of Philadelphia, and MGM signed off on a $2 million fee for the screenplay. The deal, they say, never happened because Stallone backed off and didn’t take the money.

Stallone does not appear in “Creed III,” directed by Michael B. Jordan, which was just moved from Thanksgiving to March 2023. Sources say he was offered the chance to play Rocky in the film — this is the first “Rocky” oriented movie without Stallone since the franchise launched in 1976. They say it was Stallone’s choice not to be included.

Even more interesting: now I’m told that “Creed III” is not “locked” as they say in the business. The producers have left a space for Stallone to appear in the film. All he has to do is say the word. “They’ve begged him to do it,” says the insider.

As for “Drago,” let me point out the news of its existence should not be a surprise to Stallone. Lundgren talked about it last year in an interview.

I don’t get it. I’ve had many excellent experiences with Sylvester Stallone over the years. What he’s doing now just doesn’t make sense. Maybe his people will put him in touch with me so we can unravel all these mysteries and strange social media posts. After the last story I wrote, by the way, Stallone took down his previous rants against Winkler. But now there’s a new one.

What still doesn’t make sense about this? Stallone could handle all this through the top lawyers and agents in Hollywood. Why has he chosen the route of a public fight? It’s not reflecting well on him, right or wrong.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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