Sylvester Stallone has an idea for a new Rocky movie about an immigrant boxer. The growth of Stallone’s career over the years can be can be attributed to a few key titles that the 72-year-old star has continued to explore, even today. Beginning with Rocky in 1976 and moving on into First Blood in 1982, Stallone’s ability to side with the underdog has made his work palatable around the world for decades.
The Rocky franchise in particular has been a major highlight of Stallone’s career, partly because he beat the odds to play the titular character. Despite having written the inspiring tale of little known boxer Rocky Balboa and his shot at glory, Stallone wasn’t a favorite to play the lead when it came time for casting. In fact, according to the man himself, no one wanted him to play Rocky, as other more established and famous stars of the time, like Robert Redford and James Caan, were more in line with the type of actor that United Artists was looking for.
Six Rocky films and a new boxing franchise in Creed later, Stallone has come a long way for someone whose persona wasn’t originally much of a favorite with studio heads. Today, Rocky is so well known that even those who haven’t seen any of the films instantly recognize it, and according to THR, the Oscar-winning franchise could be heading off in yet another new direction. During an interview at the Cannes Film Festival, Stallone revealed an idea for Rocky in which a boxer who has illegally entered the United States is deported and must fight his way back.
Though Stallone wasn’t willing to give away too much about this new concept, he stated: “[Rocky] finds this fella in the country illegally and it becomes a whole thing,” before adding, “That could be different. You throw him out of the country and into another world.” As far as new concepts for the Rocky franchise go, this is certainly a timely one that could gain a significant degree of attention. What’s more, the concept is, as always, in line with Stallone’s passion for the underdog. The most recent spinoff from the Rocky franchise was last fall’s Creed II, which managed even better box office tallies than its Oscar-nominated predecessor, making it clear that audiences still have not tired of Stallone’s big-hearted boxing films.
If Stallone does make true on his claim and creates a Rocky film that deals with the issue of immigration, it will mark a new era for the franchise. From a political perspective, Stallone claimed in the aforementioned Cannes interview that he’s “…almost like a political atheist.” However, the creation of a new Rocky era in which the hot-button issue of immigration is at the forefront is definitely political. That’s perfectly fine, of course, but Stallone should be under no illusion that the sort of film he’s talking about won’t be viewed as a political statement, regardless of his stance. Then again, Stallone’s ability to make audiences appreciate those who are all too often marginalized is perhaps one of his greatest enduring talents.