Sylvester Stallone and wife Jennnifer Flavin
Back on the big screen with “Rambo V: Last Blood”, Sylvester Stallone once again plays a commando intent on shedding the blood of those looking for trouble. Off screen, the star prefers to pour another form of red - this time into a glass – that is more tannic, and rougher. Take that to mean wine…
Is it true that for the first Rocky, one studio offered you a pittance?
It’s true! $100,000 for my script. At the time, I only had $106 in my bank account. I was so broke, I almost even sold my dog! In the end, I got $360,000 for my story and was able to keep my dog. I was even able to play the character I had dreamt up. Something no producer would let me do! In the entertainment industry, under no circumstances should you give in! In 1976, I won the Oscar for best film with “Rocky”, so it just goes to show!
Sylvester Stallone with Frank Rousseau
Your relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, your fellow 1980s-1990s action man, hasn’t always been that good…
Yes, we reconciled in 2000 when Arnold started to really get into politics. He wanted to meet me, talk to me about his vision for California, etc. At first, I wasn't very interested. At conventions to raise funds for his campaign, he would hand me the microphone, not so I could talk about myself, but about him! And preferably in a good light! The real political bastard! (laughs). To cut a long story short, we reconciled over a bottle of vintage Bordeaux that he had bought for the occasion. A guy who appreciates Bordeaux and who also knows how to choose the right year has to be a good person!
For a long time, the two of you waged a kind of contest. Who do you think can claim to have the best wine cellar?
For the number of bottles, I think it's Arnold! I have fewer bottles, but a more varied selection. I think Arnold is more experienced in white wines, like Riesling and Gruner Veltliner. I'm more attracted to reds like Italian, French, Argentinean, etc. At the moment, I really enjoy Bulgarian wine. It's my ‘fuel’ right now! I recommend Melnik!
Tell us a little about the “Sly” diet?
When I make a movie, I eat the same thing every night. Chicken and pasta as well as two pieces of bread. And to go with all this, I have a little glass of wine! I never depart from this rule. Basically, I follow this diet scrupulously for three months! When I was younger, I could eat ten doughnuts in one go, a whole pizza and three steaks with fries and work it all off by doing two hours non-stop of push-ups. Now, I have to do twice as much exercise to burn calories. It's true that I no longer have the energy of a 20-year-old boxer. And it's true that when I bend down too fast, I can feel my rheumatism that makes me suffer terribly. I might as well face it, I'm as old as my arteries! Can you believe that I even have cholesterol! That doesn't stop me lifting weights, for an average four hours a day!
Haven’t you begun to ease up a bit?
Basically, my message to you is eat what you like but always in reasonable quantities. Food frustration is an insidious enemy that can not only cause serious deficiencies but also make you wolf down a bag of greasy chips after eating steamed vegetables all week. Wine is a must. I drink wine because it gives me pleasure and when you feel pleasure, you are happy and when you are happy, you perform better, in life and at work!
Your mum is an astrologer and she recently revealed some interesting things about your origins…
She did! According to her, can you believe, I have French origins! Breton to be more precise. And to be even more precise, from Brest! So now I understand better why I love pancakes!
Interview by Frank Rousseau, our correspondent in Hollywood – Photographs: all rights reserved