There is a moment in Rocky Balboa where Sylvester Stallone‘s title character is trying to encourage his son on in life with a philosophy that epitomizes the Italian Stallion: “Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
Let’s face it, the guy knows what he’s talking about — especially when you consider that he introduced the character to audiences 43 years ago (1976 for anyone not wanting to do the math) in Rocky and has played him in five sequels and two spin-offs (the Creed films starring Michael B. Jordan). Now comes word that there is a new Rocky film on the way — despite the fact that he had previously said he wasn’t going to do it.
In an interview with Variety, Stallone not only admits that he’s been pushing to do a prequel Rocky TV series for a streaming service, though there’s been pushback from producer Irwin Winkler — who “felt in his mind that Rocky was primarily a feature film” — but that a new film looks like it’s really on the way starring him.
“Rocky meets a young, angry person who got stuck in this country when he comes to see his sister,” he explains. “He takes him into his life and unbelievable adventures begin, and they wind up south of the border. It’s very, very timely. Do you tell someone that you just met in the street who’s struggling and homeless to get out, or do you take him in? If you take him in, you’re in trouble.”
In the same interview, Stallone was asked why the character has managed to be handed down from generation to generation. “There’s something about the perseverance of being so overwhelmed by life and still driving through it,” he muses. “People can relate to it on a subliminal level. Rocky is very touchable. He was the most insecure fighter ever. He just had no belief in himself whatsoever, and I think a lot of people feel that way. They see the character in the film overcome it and they say, ‘You know, I could do that too.’ So I think the relatability and lack of guile he has is what appeals.”