GLENN: We have Sylvester Stallone on the phone?
GLENN: Mr. Stallone, how are you?
STALLONE: Very good, thanks.
GLENN: Well, I have to tell you. To have Rambo back is quite exciting.
STALLONE: I'd say for me. I mean, I never thought it was going to happen and here we are.
GLENN: So here's a movie about pretty much God, family, country.
GLENN: Kind of all the things that Hollywood really doesn't like making movies about. I mean, how the hell did -- is it just because you walked in and said, we're making this movie?
STALLONE: God's on commercial right now. I'm sorry, family's on commercial but he'll come back.
GLENN: How did you get it done?
STALLONE: You know, it's really am an act of attrition. Nobody wanted to make Rambo just like nobody wanted to make Rocky because the whole business paradigm has changed so much that it's all about use films and concept films and Rambo's considered low concept compared to what's happening today. And luckily there is a man named Javy Lerner of New Ridge Films, said let's give it a shot. I said we've got to find something pertinent to write about. So I wrote a story about Mexico and MS-13 and let's go into that area. I thought that would be kind of intriguing like a modern day western. I thought that's a little too close to home and I don't know if that's going to be around the world. So then I called Fortune magazine and certain individuals and said where is the most egregious display of human right violations on the planet? They said, Burma, and no one knows about it because the Chinese and the Burmese spend millions of dollars a year with Washington and lobbyists to suppress what's going on. So I investigated and it almost simplified it. It's like The Magnificent Seven. You have a group of small peasant being overwhelmed by the second largest Army in the Far East and they've held on for 60 years, Glenn, and they are hanging on by their nails and they have these missionaries, these Christian workers, from Oklahoma, Chicago, bus drivers, policemen, they pool their money together, they go and they bring medicine and Bibles and I thought, I could create a story around this, of Rambo being this atheist and he's a boatman going up and down the river and he's the only way they can get into Burma down the river and then the adventure begins. His story begins, a man completely pessimistic about a man who spent his entire life up to his waist in blood and realizes war is natural; peace is an accident.
GLENN: Wow. So, you know, we were talking about this. It's almost, I don't know -- I don't mean this in a bad way. It's almost like Father Goose. I kind of got the Cary Grant image of, jeez, you're on the boat and you are kind of going and you're going against your will. Kind of?
STALLONE: Yes. But the doing this will subconsciously, he knows that he is so dead inside, yet this one woman like one of the leads on Dexter, there was an element of innocence, that optimism. Rambo's so cynical that it's like, if I can get this one spark, this person who truly believes that life can be turned around into Burma and out alive, I've also become alive again. There's -- I have to have one foot left on the fence so that I can still believe that humanity is worth living. So I call it the King Kong syndrome where you have this wild beast and then he sees this sense of -- this woman who represents purity in the future and will go to the end of the Earth to protect her because his life means nothing, but her survival does.
GLENN: You know, there's a promo out that has the pieceworkers going in and Rambo says, are you armed? And they say, no! And Rambo says, and you're not changing anything. Stallone that's right. Are you bringing any weapons? No. Well, you are not changing anything. Because that's Rambo's mentality. He's figured out that words don't work. But they do work but not in his world.
GLENN: So I'm just trying to imagine the Hollywood meeting. When you just described that scene alone.
STALLONE: Oh, no, it's brutal. I'll be flat out. This is perhaps the most brutal action film for sure ever made. I had a dilemma there that as we're speaking right now, the Burmese, these peasants, are being tortured and they are not being shacked. These children are being thrown live into cement of the general's homes to bring good luck, decapitation, children's heads left on spikes on front lawns of their parents' until they rot as a reminder. Rape is plugged to the Army. Kids run cannibalism. When your injury is captured, the other soldiers take a bite out of you to show that they own your show. It's beyond. So I think I cannot water this down. I cannot make this sugar-free violence. If we're going to really show Burma the way it is, then we have to cross that line and I'm asking you to go in that area. And to their credit the rating boards gave us a seriously hard R, but what you will see in this is the real deal, and it's hard. It's rough.
GLENN: I can't even imagine what a real hard Stallone movie is like.
STALLONE: No, it's like peanut butter and jelly, Mr. Rogers' neighborhood compared to this.
GLENN: Explosive? Stallone please. If you're lucky you get hit with that.
GLENN: So it comes out January 25th. Have you had any -- was there any part of you -- because I know the latest Rocky -- and in fact, if you don't mind, I've got to let my producer Stu say hello to you because he's the biggest Rocky fan on the face of the Earth.
STU: Greatest movies of all time.
GLENN: He means it and I'm sick of hearing it.
GLENN: But anyway, when the new Rocky came out he said, oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. And he was worried and a lot of fans were worried. Oh, no, you're going to wreck the franchise. Did it all occur to you with this one, jeez, the new Rocky movie did well and it was critically acclaimed, everybody loved it; I've got to do Rambo right.
STALLONE: Right, right. I do. Because the other, the last Rocky was not very, very well done. I knew that. It's the one that Rocky was undergoing brain damage and it was all off, completely off. I was working with amateurs. I wasn't on the ball. I take full responsibility for it. And it bothered me more than anything that the one character that brought me into the business I was going to let go out on a very, very sour note. And 18 years, 16 years passed and a lot had happened to me and I thought, if I'm going through these feelings, fear of the future, I said, what if the things I love most in the world are taken away, do you want to go on? I said these are subjects that I think the audience can relate to, then I have a story that's worth making. And luckily we put all that together with the fact that he's not really trying to be heavy weight champion. He wants to go back in the ring as he quotes it, to replace old me with new me. That's all, just to get the beast out of him. And Rambo, I also felt that the last Rambo was dealt with, kind of went awry and that's not the note I wanted to go out on. Also I thought what about a man, a soldier who's done everything for his country and realizes that war is natural; peace is an accident, nothing has changed; just go home and live your life because we are savage, we're born animals and it's got that kind of real atheistic look on life. Can you imagine going placement at the academy: I'm going to change the world, I'm going to make the world a better place. 30 years later they're divorced, they're alcoholics, their children don't talk to them and they're bitter and I say why did I do this? Why didn't I just become a fireman and say to hell with it? That's kind of like the way this whole Rambo situation is. Until these missionaries which represent optimism and hope coming to his life and things begin to turn around. Also, the other Rambo, Rambo III, you know, I'm in a tank top half the movie and it's more of a vein glorious attempt to run around and kind of do like beefcake with a bow and arrow and I wanted this one to be truly real, that could be duplicated by mercenaries. So to me it's a much more masculine and mature film. And again by far the best action film I've ever done.
GLENN: Stu, I'm sorry, he's not going to be wearing the tight shirt.
STALLONE: I'm sorry, the Spandex is out. I'm passing that on.
GLENN: Sylvester Stallone, it's a great pleasure to talk to you, sir. We would love to have you on the show when you're in New York.
STALLONE: I'd love to be welcome. Please welcome me on.
GLENN: Anytime, sir, we'll make an hour for you anytime you want. Best of luck. Bye-bye.