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The Underdog

Sylvester Stallone returns to the big screen in The Expendables, where the action hero fights against all odds to overcome the bad guys.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Sylvester Stallone, July/August 2010

(continued from page 5)

The paintings mostly have black backgrounds, out of which dashes of bright color-reds, oranges, yellows, sometimes as images of eyes or mouths, sometimes as words floating in the black background-seem to spring.

"My second life," Stallone says with a smile. "I sold a few to Steve Wynn, the casino owner who has a large collection, and I was quite humbled by that. They were shown at Art Basel Miami. It's just my style; for some reason, they look at it in Art Basel Miami as very personal. I don't have a lot of concrete skills. Instead of painting a flower, I paint what a flower is thinking."

His own art collection runs to about 100 pieces, mostly modern, his favorite being a large painting by Cuban artist Tomas Sanchez. The collection has been scaled back from a one-time high of 400-500 paintings, which included works by Magritte, Monet and Chagall.

"Now when I go to Art Basel, I'm looking for modern work-contemporary pieces so removed from realism that they're almost graphic design," he says. "I like interpretations of human figures in a postmodern setting. I'm not big on pure graphics. Like the early Mondrian-it's brilliant for what it is, but they're more pragmatic than I like, more mathematical."

Stallone, who has made a career out of playing men's men-identified with boxing, guns and action-finds himself living in a house full of women, a father to three young daughters (13, 11, 7).

"Every entity in my life is female, including the dogs," he says with a grin. "It's difficult. With boys, you kick 'em in the ass, like Mickey did to Rocky, and tell 'em, ‘You take a punch and you kick ass.' But you can't do that with a daughter. You push boys out of the nest to take on the world-but you keep girls close. Daughters are less competitive and more embracing."

Stallone, who has two grown sons from a former marriage, says the difference between being a parent in his 60s and doing it in his 30s "is nothing complicated. Just wisdom. When you're young, you make mistakes because you're in uncharted waters. Back then, I was gone 80 percent of the time. I never appreciated the emotional side of raising a family, because I was still evolving. But when life takes you to task, when you get beat up, when you win and lose a few, then you realize what's precious."

A son of Hell's Kitchen by way of the American College of Switzerland and the University of Miami, Stallone has had 40 years in the spotlight to cultivate his tastes and to ponder the peculiar curves his career has taken. No particular fan of action films when he started, he helped create the modern action-thriller (with 1982's First Blood, in which the Rambo character was introduced). A fan of actors ranging from Kirk Douglas to Marlon Brando to Steve Reeves, Stallone found himself building a career playing characters who settled problems with fists or guns.

"It's a strange phenomenon-I thought I'd be an ensemble actor," he says. "I never saw myself as the hero. When I was starting, there were no such thing as ‘action' movies. Even the so-called action-adventures were about 90 percent exposition. I mean, Rocky isn't an action movie-there's only about six minutes of boxing in it.

"Action movies really started with First Blood. That was the first one that was wall-to-wall. And we thought it was horrible when we saw the first cut. But as it was whittled down, it turned into something else. And from that, I became identified with that kind of film-I became an action actor.

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Comments   1 comment(s)

stantine972 October 9, 2010 9:01pm ET

Mr Stallone, I have enjoyed you through your whole career and still look forward to your next project. Thank you. Keep the movies coming and thanks for actually smoking a cigar for the cover of "Cigar Aficionado" magazine. Cigar Aficionado, thank you for interviewing a cigar smoker.

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