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tv   The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations  Bloomberg  April 16, 2022 9:00am-9:31am EDT

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david: this is my kitchen table, and also my filing system. over much of the past three decades i have been an investor. the highest calling of mankind, i have often thought of as private equity. then i started interviewing. i have learned from doing my interviews how leaders make it to the top. >> i asked him how much he wanted. he said "$25." david: and how they stay there.
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46 consecutive decades, sylvester stallone has starred in number one box office hits. he has not only been rambo an rocky, but a producer and a painter. i sat down with him to talk to him about his career as a leading person in hollywood. i am in the library of congress today with sylvester stallone. thank you for giving me this time. sylvester: my pleasure,. david. david: the library of congress said rocky was a national treasure and put it in their archive of films. did that surprise you? sylvester: that was a stunning revelation. when we started out, my goal was
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to make a film. i do not ever think it would get to this. david: in that movie, you conceived of rocky and played rocky. was it hard to get that movie sold to people? sylvester: it was very hard. i understand i was basically a classical nobody. at that time there were a few men in hollywood who considered themselves much as mo and they could -- machismo and they could have filled the role themselves. i knew if i did not go all in, and the movie was a success, i would never have forgiven myself. david: the idea for rocky -- where did you come up with it? sylvester: everyone thinks i was watching chuck webb in her fight muhammad ali.
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someone had a computer fight with muhammad ali and the lightbulb went off. i thought " this is interesting." no one in hollywood had known who rocky was. i used that as a reference of the neighborhood loser going the distance with the champion. does it -- david: does it make you feel good that people actually think rocky is your life story and that you actually are a boxer? sylvester: it befuddles me. david: people actually think you are a boxer. sylvester: i know. they think " they found a fellow that was a pug." a lot of people think im am short on the gray matter and i am more of a rocky character.
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david: where were you born? sylvester: hells kitchen, new york. grandparents lived in washington dc, then they migrated to bethesda and silver spring, maryland. david: what did your father do. sylvester: my father was a tough guy, but he focused on hair. my mother was too. she was the first one to open up a women's gym called bar-bellas. david: were you a great athlete? sylvester: i was not a physical specimen at all. i had an epiphany when i saw hercules unchained. my head exploded. david: when you told your
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parents what you wanted to do was be an actor, what did they tell you? sylvester: that is the line and rocky! -- line in rocky! they did not put much faith in that particular occupational choice. they said " have something to fall back on." i said, " what?" i'm not good at anything other than daydreaming. i'm not pragmatic at all. i'm totally abstract. they took me to -- at 16 after being expelled from 11 schools, they took me to the drexel institute of technology and they ran a battery of tests. in conclusion, they said " sylvester appears to be deficient in this and that," we recommend him to be an
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electrician's assistant or a cab sorter. i keep that as a reminder. david: you wrote the script for rocky, but before that you were an actor. how did you support yourself in those early days? sylvester: i cleaned the lion's cages. i was good with sturgeon in the deli. i was a night watchman. i did a multitude of things. delivery boy. you name it. i would have days free so i could " make the rounds." david: you were writing at night? sylvester: i said " i'm knocking to make it. -- not going to make it," so i got a job as an usher. i could watch films all day
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long, and i started to dissect them at night. i had a one room in a transient hotel and i would take an inexpensive recorder and record the soundtrack and dialogue and try to replace the dialogue. it was like a game. i started picking up tempo and rhythm. the first 5 screenplays were horrendous, until finally i came to the new york library, went into the basement, and they showed me parchments, dickens, edgar ellen pao. poe! talk about an artist ahead of his time, a literary van gogh. david: how long did it take to write rocky? sylvester: two and a half days.
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it was not the finished project, but you had the four-minute -- the format. david: mr. winkler -- you give him the script, they say " we will buy it, providing you are the writer, not the actor." and you said "no." sylvester: i said " it was not for sale." i was broke. david: i hear they gave you a 15 day trial period. sylvester: they had morality clauses. the first scene we did was me shaking down the fella along the dock " you owe the loan shark money." something happened. they saw " this actually might work." ♪
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david: so when the academy award nominations come out, you get 10
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nominations. you are nominated for best script writer and best actor. it only happened twice before -- or well and chaplain. were you all of a sudden amazed and astounded? all of a sudden your high school friends called you up and said " could you get me a job?" sylvester: all the back slobbers were there. it was mystifying -- backslapers were there. it was mystifying. i swung the pendulum way too far. i was obnoxious. david: did you expect to win the academy award? sylvester: no. every film back then was a statement film. rocky was no statement really. it is about man wanting respect.
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david: you get the academy award and your life changes. you are famous, extremely wealthy. sylvester: i do not own a percentage. there was something devious behind the scenes where, when you are naive, you are going to get burned. i have no ownership. david: george lucas owned everything. sylvester: he is a smart man. david: i am -- sylvester: i am an employee. i did find. david: most actors are thrilled if they have 1 part like rocky and their whole career. you had another -- rambo. rambo is not something you created. sylvester: no. rambo is a novel by david morrell.
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i do not know who was after me because they had gone through everyone. past, past -- this ed become a pariah of's -- this had become a pariah of sorts. the original rambo was a psychopath. i said " if i am going to get involved with this, i see the character going beyond this." i want to rewrite the screenplay and i want him to go right to the edge of violence, where he is being pushed, but he pulls back. he wanted to be accepted back into the family of man. david: if rambo got into a fight with rocky, who would win? sylvester: rambo, unless it is in a ring. rambo is a killer. he is almost a psychopath.
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rocky is a good guy. he has mercy. the other one has no mercy. david: when you do these movies, you are performing the fighting scenes. isn't that hard? you are not a professional boxer. how did you learn how to do that and not get hurt? sylvester: the hard part is the choreography. it is trial and error. it is one thing to film a regular fight, but to create dramatic beats, it takes hours of trial and error. it ends up being written down mykonos. i thought -- down like notes. david: when you are boxing, someone is hitting you. sylvester: all the time. , di -- david: did anyone ever hurt you? sylvester: yeah.
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david: do you have 70-some stunned injuries -- stunt injuries? sylvester: i would say more than anyone in the world. david: why don't you get a stunt double?" sylvester: it is the call of the wild! some people train and train. that is a certain kind of actor doing those kind of james bond n an stunts. then you get physical, you engage with other people, and you do it yourself, no doubles. i chose more of the confrontational kind of stunts -- jumping off a waterfall, fire stunts. i would have some very good doubles. the majority of them, you do it
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yourself. david: you have a successful rocky series and a successful rambo series. at some point people say do you " may you are too old to play these parts," and your agent says " may be we cannot help you as much, " and you are seen as a washed up actor by some. how does it feel? was that a disappointment? sylvester: it was. it is that fourth crossroad -- do i listen to them? how do you feel? do you feel competitive? is there stuff in the basement? but i have to do it age-appropriate. that is what i came up with expendables. you cannot do it alone, but i will take a group of actors who are not doing so well, and you put it all together. i got the idea when i took my
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wife to a rock and roll revival where you have 20 groups. each was worse than the next, but together it was sn interesting ticket. why don't i do the same? let's take all of these guys who on their own were struggling, including myself, put them together. david: do people come up to you all the time for pictures and autographs? sylvester: they do. all the time. usually with an arm wrestler, i say " you do not know who is the killer in the room." ♪
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david: you have the success of the rocky movies, and then you have a sequel the creed movies. there is another creed movie coming out. sylvester: i believe so. david: you would know. i am told you will not reprise your role as rocky. will rocky ever reappear on the screen? sylvester: there is a possibility. i have written half a screenplay. this is a story where, obviously, his days in the ring are long gone. where he now tries to save his neighborhood, or he thinks he
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can, because that area right now in philadelphia is riddled with phil internal -- with fentanyl. he begins to focus on a couple of these characters. all the 2020 problems of today. there is a fella who comes in from mexico and rocky takes him in under his ring. rocky is mentoring -- under his wing. rocky is mentoring this existence until it becomes tolerable. david: what is more pleasurable? writing, directing, producing? which of those do you like the most? sylvester: writing is a complete horror. have you ever seen a truly well -- i mean, freshfaced writer?
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david: like edgar ellen pao. sylvester: dead at 39! it is almost like being a composer. every word is a note. it is not just typing. anyone can type. anyone can talk into a recorder, but to get the fluidity and essence of dialogue is beautiful but it is hard. david: if you were starting today and you were giving advice to a young writer, actor, producer, would you say " going to streaming?" sylvester: yeah. do a couple of indies to learn your tops, but the day -- chops, but the day of the entrepreneurial, by the seat of your pants, going with your gut instinct is over. rocky would never be made today.
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this never would happen. the godfather wouldn't be made today. david: today you think the motion picture business is changing such that streaming is taking over? sylvester: i don't think it is ever going to have the golden era it has had by far because the audience, the demographic is different. they are watching films on iphones. this theater is not a habitual shrine. streaming -- i'm going to do one very soon called the king of tulsa. it allows you to breathe the character, take 10 weeks, whereas in the film you have may be 110 minutes and it is all a
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crapshoot. you have one opening a weekend. david: when you do that particular picture, are you writing any of it or are you just acting? sylvester: this one is being written by taylor sheridan and terence winter. i am kind of like the -- david: hired actor. sylvester: hired gun. you try to put your input. it is easier to remember your own dialogue then someone else's. you try to construct of the sentence so it is easier to recall. david: you have three daughters. would you recommend they go into the business? sylvester: if they are going in solely as an actress, rough. the day of the 30 year career is gone. i have been fortunate.
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, something happened which i am proud of. i am the only person who had a number one film in 6 different decades, which is incredible. david: what are you most proud of? sylvester: rocky balboa, the sixth one. it was done with such skepticism. it was at a career low. it is peaks and valleys, and i was in a serious valley of the unknown. i came up with this and they said " this is absurd." david: if it had been a flop, what would you have done with your career? where would you have wound up? sylvester: probably something in the equestrian world. david: because you are very
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interested in horses. sylvester: i am very good on horses. it is very dangerous, but it is something i grew up with. david: any regrets in your career? sylvester: there are always regrets. you can't do anything about it, but there are certain roles you turn down, and perhaps not being as adamant about surrounding yourself with like-minded people because you are dealing with very fragile egos and everyone is running on a lotto fear. that is the fuel -- lot of fear. that is the fuel. people are looking out for their part of it. the writer is guarding the words. the actor is worrying " do i have more lines than the guy next to me?" david: do you have a bucket list? is there anything you haven't
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done that you wanted to do? sylvester: i was thinking about the nutcracker suite. david: when you go to a restaurant, do people come up to you for pictures, autographs? do people come up to you and say " i want to arm wrestle you?" sylvester: they do. when i get an arm wrestler, you do not know who the killer risen the room! david: you and i were having dinner and a little boy came up and he wanted to arm wrestle you. you arm wrestled him and you let him win. sylvester: of course! what if he did win! at least this way i can fake it. ♪
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francine: thomas pesquet has spent more than a year of his life in space. as a european space agency astronaut, he's captured the hearts and minds of people on the european continent, with his updates on life from the international space station. thomas: i had in the back of my head a list of things that could go wrong. there are so many things that could go wrong. it is a series of miracles to get you to space. francine: thomas pesquet, a former air france pilot, who spent years in training to blast off from earth, now on the role space exploration can play in


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