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Stallone II

After years of muscling his way across the screen, Sylvester Stallone seeks a different label: serious actor.
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Sylvester Stallone, Mar/Apr 98

(continued from page 6)

Stallone: It's the ultimate release, but I've had to curtail that because I've started looking forward to that more than performing in the film. After a while even my putter ended up on the set. You're sitting there between takes practicing your hip release. I thought, "I can't do this," because it's not something you just turn off. I mean, an extraordinary shot on the course can leave you in a euphoric state for hours and hours. And just the opposite is true, too. I thought, "You can't be hitting them in the net for an hour and a half and then turn off the golf head and do a dramatic scene." Cause you're thinking, "Why was I topping? Is my grip too strong? Too weak? I'll do overlap." But, excuse me--this is not what you do for a living, fool. And I thought we've only got so much of a reservoir of creative energy and I'd better not apply it to the game of golf. I have to pay the rent with the other profession.

CA: You've got to be a little careful about that. There's a note of the old Rocky theme in some of the interviews you've given about golf, the internal accomplishment against overwhelming odds. Is that part of the reason that you like the game?

Stallone: Yes, very much so. Especially getting the bug at a late age, you really have to call upon discipline and resources, and it's a constant battle with yourself. Can you withstand the loneliness of the practice range?

CA: How often do you do that?

Stallone: When I'm home I'll do that five times a week. And I'll stay on the range five hours at a time knowing that this is where the work has to be accomplished. Quite often I play with people who don't warm up and they'll play a terrible over-the-top swing and continue their three-knuckle super-strong grip and it bothers me that they don't care enough to learn the beauty of the game. That's the ongoing battle. It shows me a lot about character and discipline. I would like to be out there with them, too. But I think there is something noble when you see a blind person climb Mount Everest. You say--'My God. That is something.' That's the way I feel about approaching a perfect golf swing. I'm groping along in the dark and as long as I keep groping forward I can feel a sense of accomplishment, but I'll never reach the pinnacle. Of course not.

CA: Let's go back to the beginning. Some of my readers will be surprised you're a cigar lover and a golfer, and some of them have never heard the Sylvester Stallone story. Where did it start?

Stallone: I was born in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. We didn't have a great deal of money so we lived in a cold-water flat which was pretty dismal by most standards. It was a very dangerous neighborhood at the time; obviously--it was called Hell's Kitchen. It spawned many, many criminals. My father, who worked very hard, moved [us] down to Washington, D.C. He started out as a beautician and then he opened up a couple of beauty schools. He began to progress. My mother, who is a very forward-thinking woman, actually started opening women's gyms in 1952, called Barbellas. I had always been part of "the iron game" at a very early age. I had a very eclectic upbringing and somewhat audacious outlook on life. I think some of it had to do with aggression.

CA: Basically then, you were a street kid?

Stallone: Yes, basically. Not malicious but mischievous.

CA: Did that get you into trouble?

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