Zac Wenzel at MovieWeb posted 10 Major Roles Sylvester Stallone Didn’t Get or Turned Down. Before you click over, here are my thoughts on each role listed…
10. Star Wars (1977) – I don’t think Han Solo would have been a good fit for Sly. Plus it may have impacted Sly’s directorial debut with Paradise Alley. I know I’m in the minority, but give me Paradise Alley over Star Wars.
09. Witness (1985) – While I think Sly would have made a good John Book, it would have impacted Rambo: First Blood, Part II which came out the same year. I’ll take Rambo over Witness (although I am a fan of both.). It’s funny to note that these first two roles that could have starred Sly, instead went to Harrison Ford.
08. Face/Off (1997) – Sly was originally supposed to star with Arnold Schwarzenegger. John Woo would direct. While I would have loved to see Sly in a John Woo film, it wasn’t to be. Sly instead went on to star in Cop Land, a movie many consider to feature Sly’s best acting. I thought Face/Off was good, but Cop Land much, much better.
07. Jackie Brown (1997) – Wenzel says Sly was up for the role of Louis Gara that was ultimately played by Robert DeNiro. I had always read that Sly was up for the Max Cherry role that was played by Robert Forster. I would have loved to see Sly work with Tarantino. Of the two roles mentioned for Sly in Jackie Brown, I think that Max Cherry would have been the better pick. Again, things probably turned out for the best. Sly went on to do Cop Land and Robert Forster got his comeback role.
06. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – Everyone knows this story. Sly departed from Beverly Hills Cop and turned his screenplay into Cobra. Eddie Murphy starred in Beverly HIlls Cop. Both movies went on to be successful.
05. Die Hard (1988) – While I would have loved to see what Sly would have done with the role of John McClane, Bruce Willis was perfect for the role. Die Hard brought Willis back to the “A” list – remember when Die Hard was first advertised they didn’t play up Willis! Sly went on to do Rambo III.
04. The Godfather: Part III (1990) – It would have been interesting if Sly had accepted Paramount’s offer to write, direct and star in Godfather III. At the time there was talk that John Travolta would co-star. Not accepting was a smart move on Sly’s part. No matter what he did, it would have been unfavorably compared to the first to Godfather films. Heck, even when Francis Ford Coppola came back to do the third, it was savaged by critics. Sly went on to do Rocky V. It is the consensus weakest in Sly’s Rocky franchise. BUT, and this is a (pardon the expression) big but, had there not been a Rocky V, Sly might not have had the burning desire to do Rocky Balboa!
03. Batman & Robin (1997) – I am soooooo happy Sly didn’t get involved with this mess.
02. Pulp Fiction (1994) – I would have loved to have seen Sly in Pulp Fiction. He would have directed by Tarantino. If he accepted the role that went to Samuel L. Jackson, he would have been paired with Travolta. They would have made an interesting hit man team. However, Samuel L. Jackson owned that role and it shot him to the “A” list. It would have also been interesting to see Sly play Vincent Vega (Travolta’s role) or Butch (Willis’ role). Sly went on to do The Specialist with Sharon Stone.
01. Superman (1978) – According to Wenzel, Brando had final say on the casting of Superman. Brando rejected Sly as being too Italian. I always thought that picking an unknown to play Superman was the right way to go. Christopher Reeve was perfect as Clark Kent/Superman. I’m glad Sly would later work with Superman director Richard Donner when they did Assassins. Superman came out in 1978. Sly had both Paradise Alley and FIST that year. I love Superman, but I’ll take Sly’s two for the one.