In a recent episode of “The Graham Norton Show,” Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted—as reported by NME—that his rivalry with Sylvester Stallone “got out of control” in the 1980s and 1990s. Around the same time that Stallone starred in “Rambo” and Schwarzenegger released “The Terminator,” the two performers became household names in the action movie genre.
“We were movie rivals, but we took the competitiveness to the extreme – we each had to have the best body, we had to kill more people in our films and we had to have the biggest guns, It got out of control and we tried to derail each other.”
“Then when we both invested in Planet Hollywood, we started flying around the world together to promote it and we became fantastic friends,” he continued. “He is a great human being and we are now inseparable.”
In addition, Stallone and Schwarzenegger starred opposite each other in the first two “Expendables” films and the $137 million international box office hit action film “Escape Plan” (2013). Two more films featuring Stallone followed the first film.
Escape Plan, directed by Mikael Håfström from a screenplay by Miles Chapman and Arnell Jesko and starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones and Vincent D'Onofrio, was released on this day in 2013 (USA) 🎬 pic.twitter.com/jhUP2ymRfz
— SciFi31👽 (@SciFi31) October 19, 2023
According to Stallone, there’s no denying that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the perfect action hero, as evidenced by the Netflix documentary “Arnold,” which premiered over the summer.
“The ’80s was a very interesting time because the definitive ‘action guy’ had not really been formed yet,” he remarked. Previously, action was a car chase like in ‘Bullitt’ or ‘The French Connection.’ A video about intellect, innuendo, and verbal this and verbal that. [Arnold] told the story entirely through his body. Dialogue was not required.
“He was superior,” Stallone continued about Schwarzenegger. “He just had all the answers. He had the body. He had the strength. That was his character. I had to get my ass kicked constantly, whereas Arnold, he never got hurt much. And I’m going, ‘Arnold, you could go out and fight a dragon and you’d come back with a Band-Aid.’”
Last November, Stallone admitted to Forbes that the two stars “really disliked each other immensely” for almost two decades as their action films competed at the box office.
“This may sound a little vain, but I think we were pioneering a kind of genre at that time and it hasn’t been seen since really,” Stallone said. “So the competition, because it’s his nature, he is very competitive and so am I… and I just thought it actually helped, but off-screen we were still competitive and that was not a healthy thing at all, but we’ve become really good friends.”
“Sly,” a Netflix documentary about Stallone, will premiere on November 3.