Very few people have been able to bruise Sylvester Stallone’s ego throughout the time he has been in the entertainment industry. And although Arnold Schwarzenegger has held a prominent place in this list back when the pair were die-hard rivals of each other, the legendary Michael Caine just may have surpassed even the True Lies star.
All this drama happened on the sets of the 1981 war/sport superhit movie Escape to Victory, after the Rocky alum called UK’s most popular game, i.e. football, a “sissy sport”. Not only did this remark and other antics he pulled during the shoot land him in trouble with Caine, but with some of the best football players of all time as well!
The Escape to Victory Shoot Wasn’t Too Kind To Sylvester Stallone
Since he was still riding high the waves of the critical and commercial success and acclamation he received from his initial Rocky sequels back in 1981, Sylvester Stallone had a bit too many demands while shooting Escape to Victory–which notably didn’t end too well for him.
First of all, playing an Allied Prisoner of War from World War II and a goalkeeper on the team of professional imprisoned football players, he strutted over to the sets in the most overconfident way ever without even warming up, thinking he could tackle the game pretty easily.
Little did he know how hard it all would prove to him as he ended up in a critical condition with a few broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and a broken finger–all thanks to the legendary real-time football players on the team, including the late Pele, Bobby Moore, and Osvaldo Ardiles, among others.
As Stallone shared while promoting the movie (via the Daily Express):
“I thought Rocky was tough, but I’ve never trained so hard. I thought soccer was a sissy sport until they kicked the ball into my stomach and I crossed the border into Austria with hematomas on both hips.”
But the worst hit of all was landed on him by Michael Caine: as the Rambo alum was busy writing the script for Rocky III during the same period, he demanded to be called only when his scene was being shot. However, sometimes he took this for granted and started showing up to sets late.
Thus, to put him back in his place, The Dark Knight legend firmly told Stallone that he, too, had other important things to tend to (even when he actually didn’t) and that he, too, would start showing up to sets whenever he felt like it.
Despite ending up with a wounded ego, thanks to every one’s behavior with him on the sets of Escape to Victory, Sylvester Stallone learned his lesson and never showed up late on the sets again. Hats off to Caine!
Sylvester Stallone Had To Get “Out Of Shape” For Escape to Victory
Although he may have acted arrogantly in the beginning by not even bothering to warm up before showing up on the sets of the movie, Sylvester Stallone was still committed die-hard to his role.
This was evident from his looks alone after he had to get “out of shape” and shed a total of 40 pounds to give the most accurate look of an actual prisoner of war. According to what he shared about it:
“My waist is down from 33 to 29 inches, I run every morning, [and] I’m trying to look a little gaunt.”
Nonetheless, those efforts didn’t go in vain as The Expendables actor was gifted with a $ 1.8 million payday for the same.
But the best part of it all was how Sylvester Stallone “found a new kind of respect”, not only for the game but for the players as well, all thanks to the excruciating process he had to go through to shoot Escape to Victory.