“It’s very difficult if you are the director”: Sylvester Stallone’s Director Didn’t Want to Work With Him After Stories of Him Being a Control Freak on Set

Sylvester Stallone's bad rap on set caught up to him when one director initially turned him down due to being controlling on set

"It's very difficult if you are the director": Sylvester Stallone's Director Didn't Want to Work With Him After Stories of Him Being a Control Freak on Set


  • One film director tried his best to avoid working with Sylvester Stallone after hearing rumors that he was a control freak.
  • Jim Gillespie shared that the studio could find no other A-lister to sign up for his film D-Tox and eventually ended up casting Stallone.
  • However, the director had a different opinion of the actor after working with him in the film.
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Sylvester Stallone allegedly had a bad rap among the directors of his earlier movies, who complained that the actor took control over some of their creative decisions. This reputation made one director not want to work with him, despite the First Blood actor expressing interest in the role. Jim Gillespie finally had to give up his premonitions, as the studio could find no other A-listers except Stallone for the role in 2002’s D-Tox.

D-Tox director Jim Gillespie initially didn't want Sylvester Stallone in his movie
D-Tox director Jim Gillespie initially didn’t want Sylvester Stallone in his movie

Gillespie had his own vision for the psychological thriller film based on the novel Jitter Joint. Stallone’s lead character is a mentally tortured federal agent hunting down serial killers. However, things were not how Gillespie thought it would be.

Jim Gillespie Didn’t Want To Cast Sylvester Stallone In His Film Due to One Reason

Jim Gillespie feared that Sylvester Stallone, being a rumored control freak, would take over his movie D-Tox
Jim Gillespie feared that Sylvester Stallone, being a rumored control freak, would take over his movie D-Tox

When Sylvester Stallone‘s name was thrown around for the role of FBI agent Jake Malloy in D-Tox, director Jim Gillespie passed on the actor. Gillespie had heard rumors from his circle in Hollywood that the Rocky actor was difficult to work with. During a recent podcast interview with the YouTube channel Viking Samurai, Gillespie opened up about his premonitions before working with Stallone.


The Joyride director also heard that Stallone was a control freak, who would interfere with the creative process of the films. Gillespie sure didn’t want the lead actor in his film taking over for him in the directing department. Once he passed on Stallone as a choice, the studio started looking into other possibilities. Gillespie shared with Viking Samurai:

“To be honest, Sly’s name had come up, and I passed on him. Because I know a lot of people that work with him and there was a lot of kind of not great stories of him being a bit of a control freak. And it’s very difficult if you’re the director, because he would take over.”

However, the studio had no luck in finding another A-lister for the role. Gillespie recalled that he received a call from the studio with good news and bad news. The good news for Gillespie was that his film was greenlit by the studio. However, the bad news was that the studio had cast Stallone as the lead actor in the film. Gillespie had the choice to either take it or leave it. The Venom director chose to stay and make the project that he wanted. He told Viking Samurai:

“I got a phone call to say, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news.’ And I went, ‘Okay, give me the good news.’ ‘We’ve greenlit D Tox. It’s definitely happening.’ I was like, ‘Yes. What’s the bad news, then?’ ‘Sylvester Stallone is playing Jake Malloy. In or out, that’s your choice. We’re making the movie. If you want to make it, we want you to make it. If you don’t want to make it, see you later.'”

While Gillespie expected a hostile work environment with Stallone, he was pretty surprised at the actor’s demeanor. If he had turned down the movie, he would have missed the chance to know Stallone personally.


Sylvester Stallone Was Not The Control Freak He Was Rumored To Be

Sylvester Stallone and Polly Walker in D-Tox
Sylvester Stallone and Polly Walker in D-Tox

Jim Gillespie shared with Viking Samurai that when he met with Stallone, he was nothing like what the rumors made him out to be. Stallone even addressed the rumors with him, sharing, “People who you get told are difficult might be, but they equally might not be. And they might not be difficult with you.” The two of them synced pretty well during the production of the film and Stallone was not a control freak after all.

Gillespie shared that the actor was 110% committed to the role. Stallone was just as hard-working as any other great actor in the industry. Gillespie shared:

“Through the shoot, I have to be honest and say Sly was a hard working, straight up member of an ensemble. He acted his socks off, he committed 110% to the role.”

The film completed production in 1999, but the audience response from the test screenings of the film was largely negative. The film underwent several story changes and subsequent reshoots (via Ain’t It Cool). However, they did not prove effective as the test audiences still hated the movie. As a result, Universal Pictures shelved the movie.


It was later acquired by DEJ Productions, who released the film in limited theaters in the United States under the title Eye See You. The film is now available for streaming on Prime Video.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1377

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.