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Sylvester Stallone says a 'Rocky' reshoot made him understand the term 'movie magic'

Sylvester Stallone says a 'Rocky' reshoot made him understand the term 'movie magic'
Sylvester Stallone's Oscar nomination for"Creed" is his first in nearly 40 years. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Reminiscing about his career, Sylvester Stallone is reminded of shooting the original "Rocky" nearly 30 years ago:

"The original ending was that the crowd explodes at the end of the fight, Rocky went the distance. Rocky doesn't care, he's just looking for Adrian. I see her in the distance and people pick her up and I'm crawling over people to get to her, like crowd surfing. [But] there were only about 15 people and I was practically falling through the cracks.

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For the Record
Feb. 16, 12:46 p.m.: This article says that "Rocky" was shot nearly 30 years ago. The film was made 40 years ago, in 1976.
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"Four months later [director John Avildsen] said, 'We have to go back and reshoot the ending,' except we had no money. So they built only a quarter of a ring, just one little corner. So Rocky is going, 'Adrian! Adrian!' and she's coming forward and her hat has to come off but it just wasn't coming off. So somebody put dental floss on it and [they'd tug it] so it pulls it off. And I'm going, 'This is never going to work.' [The crowd] was made of relatives and about four actors. I'm looking at people I know and there's a friend I went to school with and I'm going, 'How is this ever going to work?'

"I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and I could hear my voice echoing back. And I'm going 'Yo, Adrian,' and she's going, 'Rocky, Rocky,' and I'm going 'I love you, I love you,' and hug. And FREEZE. Well, I went home that night thinking I'd just demolished whatever chance I had. I thought, 'I just did the worst acting in history.' But with Bill Conti's music, the way John Avildsen shot it, the way Talia Shire delivered the lines, it worked.

"And that's when I understood the term 'movie magic.' Because the reality? It was a horror movie."

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