How Arnold Schwarzenegger Tricked Sylvester Stallone Into Starring In a Very Bad Movie
Long before they were Expendable co-stars and friends, legend has it Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were embroiled in a good old fashioned Hollywood feud. The two totally ripped action icons weren’t always so tight: In a story destined to become a Ryan Murphy TV show, Arnie and Sly were pretty competitive back in the day — so much so that Schwarzenegger was rumored to have tricked Stallone into starring in one of the dumbest movies of his career. According to Schwarzenegger, it’s not a rumor.
Over the weekend, Schwarzenegger participated in a rather lively Q&A following a double feature of Predator and The Running Man at Beyond Fest in L.A. /Film has a full report on the best moments of the evening, which included Schwarzenegger arm wrestling with a nine-year-old boy and discussing his feud with Stallone. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, the two were jocking for the title of best action movie hero, but their battle extended beyond the box office. Schwarzenegger says “it wasn’t pretty”:
We were attacking each other in the press relentlessly. We called each other names and called out our weak points, and it was so competitive. It became so silly that all of a sudden it became a competition about who has the most muscular body. So I said, ‘Sly, forget about that now. Because there’s only one seven-time Mr. Olympia, and it’s me!’ But then he had to use bigger weapons. So then it was a competition of who had the biggest gun, and then who uses the biggest knife. Do you remember the Rambo knife became so big it was like a sword? No one has a knife like that! But Stallone had one built, so I had to come in with a bigger one. This is how it went. Who has the most unique killings? Who kills more people on screen? Who makes more money at the box office? Who has less body fat when he goes into production? All of this shit started happening, and it didn’t stop! It was unbelievable.
It didn’t end there. Rumor has it Schwarzenegger took their feud to a devious new level by tricking Stallone into starring in the 1992 action comedy Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Not only did Schwarzenegger confirm that the rumors are true; he also revealed the diabolical details of his successful scheme:
I read the script. It was so bad. You know, I’ve also done some movies that went right in the toilet, right? That were bad. But this was really bad. So I went in – this was during our war – I said to myself, I’m going to leak out that I have tremendous interest. I know the way it works in Hollywood. I would then ask for a lot of money. So then they’d say, ‘Let’s go give it to Sly. Maybe we can get him for cheaper.’ So they told Sly, ‘Schwarzenegger’s interested. Here’s the press clippings. He’s talked about that. If you want to grab that one away from him, that is available.’ And he went for it! He totally went for it. A week later, I heard about it, ‘Sly is signing now to do this movie.’ And I said, [pumps fist] ‘Yes!’
And then this happened:
Schwarzenegger and Stallone are pals now, of course, but I can’t help but imagine just how much more ridiculous — and entertaining — their feud would have been by now.