After working for years in the industry, Sylvester Stallone rose to prominence in Hollywood with the 1976 sports drama Rocky. The film introduced him as Robert Balboa, aka Rocky, and soon developed into a franchise, leading him to reprise his role five times in the film series and two times in its spin-offs Creed and Creed II. The franchise not only made him one of the biggest action stars in the industry, but it also landed him the opportunity to work with several athletes.
Not just the Rocky star, sports stars like Mile Tyson were also interested in featuring in the franchise. However, knowing his abilities in the boxing ring, the actor was not ready to face the heavyweight champion inside the ring even under a scripted scenario.
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Mike Tyson Was in Talks to Star alongside Sylvester Stallone
Followed by the fifth film under the Rocky franchise, it took over a decade and a half for Sylvester Stallone’s comeback as the titular hero. And the actor wanted to do things differently for his comeback in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa.
One of the suggestions to make the 2006 movie stand out was to feature a real athlete alongside The Expendables star. The heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was the leading sports star to land the part. Tyson himself was also very excited and started campaigning for a role in the movie.
Stallone has shared that Tyson kept calling, saying that “he wanted to be in the film fighting [him]” as the film’s antagonist. However, the star of the franchise did not want the same, as he believed that it was not a good idea and avoided going into the ring with him.
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Sylvester Stallone Was Intimidated by Mike Tyson
While Mike Tyson was eager to star alongside the Hollywood star in the Rocky franchise, Sylvester Stallone was not too thrilled with the idea. During an interview with ContactMusic, the actor talked about refusing to work with the sports star.
“Mike wanted to fight me in this film, but I thought it was a bad idea,” he said before adding, “I know I’m not that young, but I’m still too young to die.” However, Tyson was adamant about starring in the movie and continued reaching out to the Samaritan star.
Seeing his determination for the movie, Stallone agreed to fulfill his wish and eventually offered him a cameo, but not inside the ring. “Eventually, I relented and said he could be in the audience,” he said. The 77-year-old actor also shared that he never heard from Tyson after that.
While he may have assumed that Mike Tyson backed out, he was surprised to see the heavyweight champion during the filming. The Rocky Balboa star made sure that he stayed out of the ring, as he was still intimidated by him. And it might not be a surprise for many as there is no doubt that Tyson would have surely outshined the action star in the boxing ring.