The Source Magazine was on the red carpet for the World Premiere of Warner Bros. “Grudge Match” at the Ziegfeld Theater, which was also a benefit for the Tribeca Film Institute. The film’s star legendary actor Sylvester Stallone had a lot to say about working on the film!
Q: Can you tell me about the developing of the script?
Peter Segal: Originally the script “Grudge Match” was kind of a funny story of two old men who get back in the ring and I thought there was an opportunity here. Looking at guys like Bernard Hopkins and even Roberto Duran whose last fight was when he was at age 50 that there is a reality to this that is absolutely possible, but then you look at the Hollywood world two actors who can actually pull this off and I was coming up empty. There were only two guys that I could think of and it was ironically two guys that everyone on the Internet thought of as well when this movie was announced. They said ‘you’ve gotta get Rocky and Raging Bull.’ I said ‘yeah I agree’ now the hard part, ‘how do you get them?’ So that was the challenge.
Q: What was the most surprising thing about working with Stallone and De Niro?
Peter Segal: I think what I was surprised most about was both guys is that they really have a sense of humor and I think in the last few years you see that in some of the choices that Bob’s making. He’s kind of lightening the kinds of movies that he’s been choosing and when I met this guy over here, Stallone, this guy is a funny guy. So I had to get this guy into a comedy.
Sylvester Stallone: Yeah because I’ve been so successful in them before!
Peter Segal: I said ‘we’re gonna change that.’
Peter Segal: My comedy is like haunting ships. Then finally I realized you know you really need a comedy director first of all, a good script, and then a great cast. I made him suffer. I was so afraid to do the film because I thought it was just going to be a skit and then the “Rocky” thing and then I said ‘well, why not?’ and then once Bobby De Niro got in the film and said ‘what’s wrong with you this is going to be an event. You know, this will never happen again’ and I thought “you’ right…”
Peter Segal: And then he became my Mister Miyagi, he thought me everything I know.
Sylvester Stallone: I have taken a lot of hits to the head that’s for sure…And Bobby takes a good punch, he won’t admit it but he does. You know we cut loose a few times in the ring and he says, “Nobody ever touches each other.” Yeah we did! I’m telling you there’s certain shot…when we’re on the side angles instead of always being over the shoulder when it’s a side angle I want to be able to see that it’s meeting and you have to touch a person, you know what I mean?
Peter Segal: Demonstrate on me. I’ll take the punch the right here
Sylvester Stallone: I remember I did that with Antonio Tarver and he retaliated with great annoyance. I said ‘ that’s it never do that to a pro.’
Q: Why do you like to develop these stories and why do you like to tell these stories to people?
Sylvester Stallone: I just like stories about redemption about getting a second chance at life, I think everybody in this room, everyone in the world has a few major mistakes they’ve made in there lives and if they could just go back and correct it…but, unfortunately they don’t get a chance usually it’s almost impossible. So when you see that in a movie like “Rocky” or when you see that in a movie like this one, there is hope and that’s what I think it’s about. Its about love, it’s about redemption, and even though he’s the guy that you hated the most in the end you kind of like him and he brought out the best in you. Sometimes worst enemies like a Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier that’s what makes you fight so hard. Without them they never would have achieved greatness. So it’s kind of complicated.
Q: You’re so fit what is the secret to looking the way you do?
Sylvester Stallone: My wife, trying to keep up with her! It’s really something I started when I was 14 or 15 years old and it’s just become a habit and for example I’ll eat like an animal tonight I’ll probably gain 8 pounds. For real! But I won’t eat until tomorrow night.
Q: Was that healthy to be in real competition with Bobby De Niro?
Sylvester Stallone: Oh yeah big time. Again he may ‘yeah I don’t think so’ yeah I’m telling you there was but, that’s what brings out the best in him because he’s very competitive he’s a great actor he wants to own the scenes.
Q: So is it a real “Grudge Match” it’s “Raging Bull” vs. “Rocky”?
Sylvester Stallone: Again he’ll say no, but there was a little something to it because whenever they do ‘what is the best boxing film Raging Bull, Rocky, Raging Bull, Rocky.’ Okay let’s find out once and for all.
Q: One boxing move you could show us that we could remember for us rookies?
Sylvester Stallone: One boxing move… Okay watch…Look at that (Points to the sky) and there it is the sucker punch. Sucker Punch.
“Grudge Match” is now playing.