As one of the most iconic film series to ever grace the big screen the ROCKY series has beyond stood the test of time! Over the decades the story has evolved and those who grew up with it have thoroughly enjoyed the evolution…and lived it in real time. But it is always fun to take it all a step further. We have all fixated on the movies…now let’s take a look at some of the little secrets that helped bring this magical saga to fruition!
So let’s start things off on a personal note…On his “famous” runs Rocky had a doggy with him…remember him? It turns out that there was a good reason why Rocky got along so well with the dog. The dog was Sylvester’s poocher in real life. It made sense, if Stallone wanted the Rocky character to have a dog, for the actor to have had a relationship with the animal before filming started. What is the point of hiring a stunt dog when you can bring in part of the family, right? Of, course, Sylvester was known for bringing in the family!
Casting is always the biggest part of any production and can really make or break the entire situation. There were many “considerations” on the table when searching for the right actors and actresses for ROCKY. We have all heard how Talia Shire’s famous Adrian role was almost filled by Susan Sarandon but did you know that both Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford were first considered to play the movie’s lead role? The studio wanted Stallone to sell the script because it did not want him playing Rocky. Imagine, if you will, a world in which either Reynolds or Redford would have played Rocky Balboa. It is ridiculous that either man would be cast to play an underdog and journeyman fighter who slugged it out with unknowns inside of high school gyms and clubs. Stallone made the right call in refusing to allow anybody else to be Rocky.
So how did Carl Weathers land the role of Apollo Creed? It turns out that he got the gig by insulting the man who wrote the movie. Weathers claimed during his audition that he could have done better had he had a “real actor reading with me.” The actor he was working with was, of course, none other than Stallone. Stallone may or may not have been offended by the verbal jab. The man who would play Rocky was impressed with the attitude that Weathers flashed, as that was what Stallone wanted to see from the Creed character.
This is probably one of the most memorable scenes in the whole film series! Rocky is getting into shape preparing for a rematch with Creed in Rocky II when some youngsters join up with him. By the end, everybody is celebrating after Rocky completes his famous journey up those 72 steps. Dan McQuade of Philly Mag once took some time to try to figure out just how much Rocky would have run on that fateful day. McQuade estimated that Rocky had run over 30.5 miles. That is quite the jog to take as you get ready to face the heavyweight champion of the world!!
As you probably remember, Adrian watched the rematch between Rocky and Creed while at home and not in person. This was explained in the story line of the movie, but there was another reason for her absence. Actress Talia Shire was busy filming a different movie when the fight scenes were shot. Because of this Adrian had to be filmed “watching” the fight at a later time. With such a big production you would have hoped that accommodations could have been made but these things happen. Shire was excellent in playing her part as a concerned wife watching her husband fight from afar!
Where did the stars of this time period end up? The Muppet Show! The Rocky character goes from being an unknown and an underdog to winning the World Heavyweight Championship. It would have only made sense, at the time, that the champ would have had an appearance on The Muppet Show. It turns out that Stallone had been on the Muppet Show years before the release of Rocky III. To help out with the movie, Jim Henson dubbed over the original footage so that it seemed as if the Muppets were introducing Rocky and not Stallone.
Of all the training scenes that took place in the Rocky universe, none may be more beloved among fans of the films than the one that occurred in Rocky IV. Stallone and company did not actually travel to Siberia as the Rocky character was preparing to face Drago. The scenes were shot in Wyoming. The fight that featured Rocky versus Drago was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia! Oh movie magic!