Sly, Stone and Liotta

The April 9, 2001, issue of People contains the picture above with the caption: “At the MGM pre-Oscar party in L.A. honoring producer DINO De LAURENTIS, Hannibal’s RAY LIOTTA [center] gave a piece of his mind to director OLIVER STONE [ left] and SYLVESTER STALLONE, whose race-car film Driven opens April 27.
– Craig Zablo

Sylvester Stallone Honored

Tuesday April 03 02:13 AM EDT

Clinton, Ford top Family Celebration
By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) — Presidents FORD and CLINTON, ‘N Sync, SYLVESTER STALLONE and the cast of Fox‘s “Ally McBeal” were all honored for their charity work Sunday night at the second annual A Family Celebration awards dinner and benefit concert.

“Whether you’re in politics or business or the entertainment industry, one quickly discovers that the true measure of a well-lived life is not the legislation that you pass, the stock options that you exercise … the weekly boxoffice receipts or even the Academy Awards that fill your resume,” FORD said. “Rather, it’s the family you love and the family that you are excited to live with.”

Held in the ballroom of the Regent Beverly Wilshire, the evening raised almost $1.5 million for various charities and honored people for giving to their communities.

FORD, who was presented the Special Giving Award from CNN‘s LARRY KING, received two standing ovations. His speech struck an emotional chord with the audience that numbered more than 700. FORD recounted how his mother left his abusive father and was remarried to a paint salesman. He said he learned that while his family was financially poor, it was emotionally very wealthy — something he has carried with him all his life.

“A household does not need fancy clothes or elegant furnishings to be successful,” FORD said. “Aristocracy is of the soul, not of the cloth. On the other hand, a household lacking in love and moral instruction can never be judged a success.”

The television drama award went to the cast of “Ally McBeal,” the creative achievement award was presented to SYLVESTER STALLONE and the lifetime achievement award was given to BOB NEWHART, who did a quick, updated version of his beloved phone comedy routine.

The Heart of Giving Award went to producer LOREEN ARBUS, while JEFFREY BONFORTE of received the Internet Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Humanitarian Award was given to entrepreneur-philanthropist ROBERT LORSCH.

In receiving the Award of Merit presented by ELIZABETH TAYLOR, CLINTON pointed out that caring people can and should do more than government institutions.

“What I want you know is that the great strength of this country is not always primarily in its leaders or its government, but in its people,” he said. “In their minds, their hearts, their words and what they believe is important. The older I get — and these days that seems to be an irreversible process — the more I become convinced that the way your life turns out pretty much depends on what you think is important. I came here tonight to say thank you for believing that this is important and to ask you not to forget how important it is and what a precious gift it is to be in a position in life where you can give. Because everybody who can really give always comes out ahead in the end.”

An informal popularity contest was waged between CLINTON and ‘N Sync, whose members received the Harmony and Spirit Award. CLINTON, who received two standing ovations, scored big points when he joined legendary bluesman B.B. KING onstage and played the saxophone to a screaming audience.

N Sync had the support of shrieking girls, some of whom rushed onstage and danced with the band during their final song.

During ‘N Sync‘s performance, LINDA THOMPSON, wife of the evening’s musical director DAVID FOSTER, had her cell phone on so her children at home could listen to the pop group sing, while actor JAMES MARSDEN sneaked to the stage with a small camera to snap a photo.


Proceeds the benefit go to Alzheimer’s Lakeway Program, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Challenge for the Children, Locks of Love, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Wildlife Waystation, among others.

Craig Zablo

Sly in “Total Film’s Top 50 [Twice]

The April 2001 issue of Total Movie, features “Going the Distance: ‘Rocky’ at 25.” The eight page article by Edward Gross [author of Rocky and the Films of Sylvester Stallone] provides an extensive look at “Rocky” [and its sequels] with over 25 photos [including the one to the left]. The article provides quotes from SLY, TALIA SHIRE, JOHN ALVIDESEN, ROBERT CHARTOFF, CARL WEATHERS, and others involved with the films.

The magazine comes with a DVD which provides a trailer for “Rocky” and a snippet of the interview with SLY that will appear on the “Rocky” special edition dvd. All in all, easily worth the cost of the mag!

[Now I’m REALLY psyched for the “ROCKY” Boxed Collector’s Set! Click |HERE| to check it out!]

Craig Zablo

Sly in Premiere!

Premiere contains an article entitled “They Wuz Robbed!” which compares the results of two polls [one with 25 film professionals such as QUENTIN TARANTINO; and the other with 2,000 film fans] of who should have won Academy Awards during the last 25 years. The piece is accompanied with some spectacular artwork by ROBERTO PARADAshowing Rocky putting Travis Bickle in a headlock while Ghandi and ET look on! There’s also of SLY and ELIE SAMAHA

Harlin Talks Up Sly

On Friday, March 30, 2001, posted a very positive piece on “Driven.” The article featured several quotes from director RENNY HARLIN who talked about the problems that he and SLY had getting the movie started and why they teamed up to get it made.

HARLIN also says that his “goal was trying to do to car racing what “Matrix” did to hand-to-hand combat and that type of action movies – so the audience [would see] something that they don’t get on TV, but really use the the technology to make the film almost like a video game in the sense that when we are in the racing sequences the audience really feels like they are sitting in the car and they are steering the car and they really get what the driver gets. And then in the crash sequences, finding points of view and ways of showing that would hopefully be pretty mind-blowing for the audience.”

As to SLY, HARLIN states, “[STALLONE] didn’t want to make it a STALLONE racing movie like “Rocky” or something like that where he is the center of the story… I thought it was very interesting that he took that approach and very smart I think. HARLIN went on to say that the response to SLY in test screenings “scored through the roof because you really, really feel for him.”

Craig Zablo

“Rocky” One of the ‘Best of the Best’

The February 23, 2001 issue of Entertainment Weekly has an article titled “The Best of the Best” in which EW ranks the 72 Best Picture Oscar winners. Here’s what they had to say about Rocky:

43 ROCKY 1976

Directed by JOHN G. ALVIDSEN Starring SYLVESTER STALLONE, TALIA SHIRE Nominations 9 Wins 3 Stiffest Competition Taxi Driver, Network

A likable triumph-of-the-underdog tale, but why this boxing fable and not SCORSESE‘s Raging Bull four years later?

Let me begin by pointing out a small error… did you catch it? The listing says that “Rocky” was nominated for 9 Oscars but the right number is 10! I’ve already e-mailed them about the error – so let’s talk about the article…

Articles like these are written to encourage discussion about the subjective rankings of personal favorites. So let me say that, personally, I feel that “Rocky” should be in the Top 10 and without a doubt the Top 20 — I am happy to see that the editors of the piece ranked “Rocky” higher than many past winners [even if they didn’t “get it exactly right.”].

Craig Zablo

The Making of “Driven” Part One

Returning to his roots as a writer five years ago, SYLVESTER STALLONE was full of questions about the type of men it took to control a 900-horsepower car at speeds well over 200 miles per hour. At the core of his new film “Driven” is STALLONE‘s fascination with “the men behind the visor,” the only professional athletes who risk their lives each time they practice or compete.

“For years I watched guys in helmets go around and I never knew who they were,” STALLONE said. “I wanted to understand who was living inside the helmet. What’s that man’s life like? What are his fears? How does he find the ability to maintain such extraordinary focus?”

Produced by Franchise Pictures, “Driven” is currently in post-production and will be released on April 27, 2001 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Using the latest moving-camera techniques and computer graphics technologies, director RENNY HARLIN is bringing to life a meticulously researched script that became a labor of love and an obsession for STALLONE.

Early in the research process, STALLONE narrowed his focus to open-wheel racing, attracted by the extremely high speeds and the danger inherent in an open cockpit. Over the next few years, STALLONE attended dozens of Formula One and CART races around the world. In the process, he spent time with drivers and mechanics, team owners and journalists, asking questions and listening to their personal stories.

STALLONE soon identified an intriguing paradox at the core of motor racing: driving requires enormous personal courage and passion, but a racer has few opportunities to display these emotions during competition. Although he and his car are constantly communicating with the pit crew, each driver works alone in a delicate balancing act of risk and reward. Strapped into a tiny, confining cockpit, hands and feet occupied at all times without a break in the action, the athlete is further isolated from his fans by a full-face helmet. The visceral power and storytelling range of cinema seemed a perfect medium to unmask the driver and reveal his personal experience.

In search of a central character, STALLONE created Joe Tanto, a retired race car driver who is called back to racing to help develop a talented, but unfocused young rookie [KIP PARDUE]. For Tanto, getting back on track means navigating a troubled emotional past and once again confronting the racer’s delicate balancing act between the desire to win and the need to survive.

“These guys have many of the same fears and daily concerns or problems we all have,” STALLONE said. “But they have to develop what we call in the film, the ‘quiet spot,’ this extraordinary focus and channeling of energy to do their jobs. A driver is right on the ragged edge between heaven and hell, life and death. He’s the master of his destiny and that’s a rare, powerful place to be.”

Reflecting the multicultural mix of the real-life racing community, “Driven” stars an international cast of familiar faces and newcomers. The players range from BURT REYNOLDS, whose “Smoky and the Bandit” films featured some of the most unforgettable chase scenes of all time, to CHRISTIAN de la FUENTE [Family Law], who started his career as a pilot in the Chilean Air Force. GINA GERSHON plays FUENTE‘s wife, and German actor/director TIL SCHWEIGER plays the world-champion driver Beau Brandenburg. Making her feature film debut, Canadian supermodel ESTELLA WARREN lights up the screen as Brandenburg‘s girlfriend.

Shot on location in and around the actual 2000 CART racing series, “Driven” will offer race fans with a unique opportunity to transcend the visual limitations of televised motorsports, revealing the driver’s full experience of speed. While the wide lenses and high angles of television used tend to flatten and slow down action for the viewer, HARLIN‘s use of advanced technology moving cameras, multiple angles, visual effects and computer graphic imaging promises a spectacular depiction of velocity.

“We’ve never seen what the driver sees at such high speeds,” said STALLONE. “We want to give the audience the terrifying, thrilling experience of what it’s like to be sitting on top of all that horsepower, to get inside the mind of the driver, to see what he sees and feel what he feels.” To accomplish this ambitions goal, STALLONE and HARLIN dove into the traveling carnival of open-wheel racing and created a new way of planning and making an action film.

Part 2 of this series will explore a complex and unusual shooting process that took place during carefully-scheduled breaks in the actual race action at tracks on four continents. “Driven” stars SYLVESTER STALLONE, BURT REYNOLDS, KIP PARDUE, TIL SCHWEIGER, GINA GERSHON, ESTELLA WARREN, and CHRISTINA de la FUENTE. Directed by RENNY HARLIN and written by STALLONE, the film reunites the two following their highly successful collaboration on “Cliffhanger.” “Driven” is produced by Franchise PicturesELIE SAMAHA, STALLONE and HARLIN. ANDREW STEVENS, DON CARMODY and KEVIN KING are the executive producers. It will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures, an AOL Time Warner Company

From a “Driven” Street Team press release – Craig Zablo [February 20, 2001]

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