Stallone in Hollywood Animal
Joe Eszterhas was, at one time, the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood. He was also the first screenwriter to make the 100 Most Powerful People in Hollywood list.
Eszterhas’ first movie was F.I.S.T. which starred Sly Stallone. Before the movie was released Eszterhas and Sly had a few very public squabbles, although they did ultimately patch things up.
Here’s how the New York Post described it:
But when he was starting out, he and Stallone clashed after Robert De Niro wavered on playing the role of the Jimmy Hoffa-like character in “F.I.S.T.” Stallone played the part.
Stallone claimed he was writing the script, not Eszterhas, and he fought him and the director, Norman Jewison, over Eszterhas’s plot, which called for the union leader to be fatally shot.
“The public will not accept me dying,” he told Jewison.
“We’re not making Rocky,” the director replied. “Without your dying, there is no ending to the movie.”
“I’m a star,” Stallone countered.
“You’re an actor,” Jewison replied.
They compromised on shooting the scene as written – but only once.
Stallone later told Eszterhas how much he liked his work on “Jagged Edge,” and said that since “I owe you one,” he wanted to hire him for $500,000 for a quick rewrite. Stallone explained that he was directing “Staying Alive,” a sequel to “Saturday Night Fever,” and was halfway through the shooting but was having disagreements with John Travolta about the script.
Eszterhas agreed to meet with the two men in Stallone’s trailer. Travolta wanted to stress the “vulnerability” of his character, Tony Manero, but Stallone preferred to the put the stress on his being “cool.”
Eszterhas said he couldn’t help them.
“Sure you can,” Stallone said and offered to put him up in a hotel suite.
“Sly, you f – – – – d me once on ‘F.I.S.T.’ ” Eszterhas recalled saying. “What do you want to f – – – me again for, now that we’re friends?”
Travolta began to laugh, and so did Stallone, and Eszterhas left them to solve the problem
of Tony Manero’s personality on their own.
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– Craig Zablo