Sly Goes X-Treme

Doser [a regular SZ visitor] sent in the pic to the right and the info below:

“It was a very well balanced article. It dealt with the story line for “Driven”, and how it was filmed from the racer’s POV. They really want to put the audience in the driver’s seat. The publication is from a sports supplement company, so naturally there was emphasis on the conditioning that was needed for the actors to be in shape for their roles as race car drivers.”


Doser says: “I saw Rocky in the theater in 1976 at a very impressionable age. It changed my life. I was on the brink of heading in the wrong direction, but thanks to SLY, I didn’t.”

Thanks to Doser for sending us in the cover picture and article summary. Doser is quite often found on the SZ message boards carrying on thoughtful discussions.

– Craig Zablo (April 1, 2001)

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

“Driven” Trivia Contest



Know your STALLONE TRIVIA? Want to win a “Driven” one-sheet poster?

Then here’s what you need to do:

  • Answer the ten STALLONE TRIVIA QUESTIONS listed below.
  • E-mail your name, answers, and home address to
  • Everyone who answers all questions correctly will be entered into the prize drawing!
  • 10 lucky SZoners win a “Driven” one-sheet poster courtesy of Warner Bros. and StalloneZone!

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Ok, here’s the rules:

  • The posters can only be mailed to addresses in the US and Canada (due to mailing restrictions).
  • Only 1 entry per e-mail address.
  • The contest ends at 5 pm E.S.T. on Saturday, March 31st.
  • The contest is NOT open to any staff members of [Sorry John, Jazz, and rOb!]
  • Names of Winners [but not addresses] will be posted on this site with our Weekend Update.


1. SYLVESTER STALLONE plays Champ racer Joe Tanto in Driven. What is the name of the movie that starred SLY as a racer named Joe Viterbo?

2. RENNY HARLIN is directing SLY in Driven. What is the name of the movie that first paired SLY and RENNY?

3. SLY wrote the screenplay for Driven. What was SLY‘s original title for the film?

4. SLY is an accomplished actor, director, and screenwriter. What movie did SLY write that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture?

5. SLY seems to like 5 letter names for his characters. Name three of his characters that have five letters in their last name and the name ends with an “o.”

6. Most people think that Rocky was SLY‘s first feature film screenplay that sold. It was his second! What was the name of his first?

7. The “tag line” for Driven is “Welcome to the Human Race.” What was the tag line for SLY‘s last film, Get Carter?

8. SLY teams with an international cast in Driven. What actor made his US debut with SLY in Nighthawks?

9. Actors and actresses who work with SLY quite often get noticed and move on to stardom [ANNE ARCHER, ARMAND ASSANTE, TOM SIZEMORE, BENJAMIN BRATT, etc.). Who was the actress who got her big break working with SLY in Demolition Man?

10. What is YOUR favorite SYLVESTER STALLONE movie, and why?

Good Luck!

Craig Zablo [March 27, 2001]

StalloneZone Helps Promote “Driven”

There have been two promotions that have been put together [so far] to promote “Driven” and StalloneZone is proud to have been selected to particpate in both!

The first promotion involves free magnets which have the 2001 CART RACING SCHEDULE on them with a sticker that says “April 27th: DRIVEN opens.”

The second promotion is “Driven” postcards. I have been able to score a limited number of these to make available to SZoners for free!

Craig Zablo

(Update – Unfortunately I no longer have these items available.)

Positively “Driven”

The March/April issue of Cinescape contains a very positive article by Steve Hockensmith called “Hot Wheels” which gives us a preview of what to expect when “Driven” premieres on April 27th. In addition to the picture to the left there are 4 other small [2 of which contain SLY] pics from behind-the-scenes. The buzz just keeps getting better!
– Craig Zablo [February 24, 2001]

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]

EW’s Advance Look at “Driven”

The February 16, 2001 issue of Entertainment Weekly contains the following write-up about “Driven”


what’s the big deal? SLY writes himself a Rocky of the racing circuit

The last time STALLONE buddied up with action auteur HARLIN – for 1993’s Cliffhanger – they rappelled back to base camp with $260 mil worldwide. And since the thriller was also STALLONE‘s last hit, it makes sense that he’d tap the Finnish director to help steer him back onto the fast track. In fact, it’s why STALLONE penned this race-car-driving saga. “I’m trying to do something different with my career,” he admits. “Yeah, this movie has action and adventure, but it’s really a drama underneath, like Rocky.” How so? Well, the actor plays a retired driver whose days in the victory circle are over. Then a sage racing-team owner [REYNOLDS] offers him a second chance – not to get behind the wheel, but to help train a cocky young prodigy [Remember the TitansPardue]. Still, despite all the human drama, HARLIN promises it’s the wipeouts that’ll fuel this vehicle. “The way we’re shooting these crashes is brand-new,” he says. “You’ve never seen it before. The viewer’s going to be right there in the driver’s seat, spinning out of control.” Pass the Dramamine. [April 27]

I really like the overall positive tone of this write-up. It’s especially gratifying that the writer feels that the “big deal” about “Driven” is that SLU wrote the screenplay himself!

Craig Zablo [February 4, 2001]

Stallone News for the Week

The picture above (minus the SZ tag, of course) appeared earlier in the week at DARK HORIZONS in an item about Warner Brothers’ 2001 movie line-up.

Entertainment Tonight’s website ran an item on Thursday saying that Sly and Jennifer co-hosted the opening of Downtown Disneyland in an event which benefited the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Sly also announced that his next movie will be a comedy. The picture above accompanied the item.

Earlier this week I received an e-mail from Simon Barber who is the new web master of Frank Stallone’s Official Website.

If you haven’t checked out Frank’s site in a while, you really should. Frank and Simon have updated and re-designed all areas (and have added more content as well)! You can find them at (they’ve moved from the old location) or by clicking |HERE|. Be sure and tell them the SZ sent ya!

[January 14, 2001] – Craig Zablo

Sly in FHM


A hotshot rookie driver hits a slump and realizes he needs the help of a grizzled old vetern who, incidentally, looks a lot like Rocky Balboa.


Go speed racer In a feat that never ceases to amaze, screenwriter STALLONE strung together enough words to pen an entire script. At least you can count on director RENNY HARLIN [“CLIFFHANGER’] to make stellar racing scenes.
Get this: While filming, HARLINE was planning the DVD, which will let the viewer watch the races from various angles: high above, on the side or in the driver’s seat.


1 SYLVESTER STALLONE wrote his first draft of the script in three frenzied days. That version ended with Rocky throwing the fight.

2 Even though he had only $105 in the bank, STALLONE originally turned down offers of as much as $350,000 for the script from producers who wouldn’t let him play Rocky.

3 To get the green light from the studio, the producers had to agree to keep their budget below $1 million and agree to cover any extra charges out of their own pockets. Both producers ended up mortgaging their house.

4 When production moved from LA to Philadelphia, STALLONE could only afford to travel by train. Accompanying him on the 3-day ride was his dog Butkus, who appears in the film and who had putrid gas throughout the trip. In Arizona, SLY literally picked up the pooch and squeezed him, but the dog refused to empty its bowels until they got to Philadelphia and SLY‘s hotel carpet.

5 The famous shot of Rocky celebrating at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps was originally filmed as a tight shot on Rocky with a zoom out. Later, the director decided he wanted to start wide and zoom in. In the film, the footage is actually playing backward.

Thanks to Ernest “Jazzman” Resendes! – Craig Zablo

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