After he granted his Rocky a proper swan song in the form of 2006’s “Rocky Balboa”, Sylvester Stallone plans to do the same with his second-most famous cinematic alter-ego. After years of rumors and speculations, Splendid Film announced that the 67 year-old actor/writer/director is set to reprise the role of John Rambo in what is likely to be the last installment of the iconic action franchise about the ruthless war veteran.
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Stallone, who has also signed on to write and direct the film, describes the new installment as “his version of (Coen Brothers’ Oscar winning) ‘No Country For Old Men’”, according to executives at Splendid Film.
The film will see Rambo going up against the Mexican cartel, a plot which Stallone has alluded to two years ago, after he abandoned a sci-fi storyline he was reportedly considering, where Rambo was to shut down a government project creating super-soldiers.
“I know there is [another story to tell]”, the actor told MTV in 2012. “It’s one thing where you lay down the final culmination of your life where you can articulate it, but also act on it where [Rambo] realizes what his destiny really is. It’s not to be a farmer, it’s not to be obscure; it’s to go out in a blaze of glory in a heroic fashion. But is he really doing it for himself or is he doing it because that’s just his id? That’s who he is.”
“I like the whole Mexican situation, what’s going on down there”, he added. “So I’m working on a formula for it right now.”
Stallone first played the troubled Vietnam veteran John Rambo in 1982’s “First Blood”, which, despite being ridiculed by critics at the time for “wooden acting and one-dimensional characters”, became a massive commercial success and has spawned three more films, with the most recent in 2008 seeing the one-man army rescuing aid workers in Burma.
The new installment will be produced by action-films producer Avi Lerner, who has also produced 2008’s “Rambo”, as well as the Stallone-directed “The Expendables” in 2010, and its 2012 sequel.
A third Expendables film, also starring Stallone, is also due for release this year, with a ‘next generation’ Expendables film to follow.
Sylvester Stallone was born in New York City, the elder son of Frank Stallone Sr., a hairdresser and beautician, and Jacqueline Stallone, an astrologer, former dancer, and promoter of women’s wrestling, who is of half Ukrainian Jewish and half French descent.
In 1970, Stallone appeared in the film No Place to Hide, which was re-cut and retitled Rebel, the second version featuring Stallone as its star. His other first few film roles included uncredited appearances in Woody Allen’s “Bananas” in 1971, and “Klute”, in the same year. He had his second starring role in The Lords of Flatbush, in 1974.
Stallone gained worldwide fame with his starring role in the smash hit Rocky (1976), which he also wrote. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay nominations for Stallone. It went on to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing, and has spawned five sequels.
Among his other notable work are the successful Rambo franchise, 1993’s action film “Cliffhanger”, 2003’s neo-noir crime drama “The Shade”, and the high-grossing Expandables franchise.
Avi Lerner was born and raised in Haifa, Israel. He began his career in the film industry after serving in the Paratrooper Brigade, and taking part in the Six Day War of 1967. After a few years, Lerner moved from Israel to South Africa, where he was involved in the production of several locally based films, as well as building a chain of movie theaters.
In the early 1990’s Lerner moved to L.A., where he served as President of Global Pictures, an independent production/distribution company.
After leaving Global Pictures, Lerner founded two production companies, Nu Image and Millennium Films, in partnership with Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Danny Lerner. The companies have a varied output, though the vast majority are action films. Most of the action films Lerner produces are filmed in Bulgaria, where he owns Nu Boyana Film.