December 14, 2013

Sylvester Stallone's union troubles.

Just another anecdote from "The Andy Warhol Diaries." This is from the entry for February 22, 1980:
Stallone is so cute, so adorable. I guess he’s lost sixty pounds. He’s sexy. All the stars usually think they should have their portraits done free, though. He’s intelligent, he’s taken over directorship of the movie and now he’s in trouble because the union has a film of him saying, “Lights, action!” It’s going before a board. Stallone was telling stories about how much trouble he’s had with the union, how there’s this little Irish guy that he just wants to beat up so badly. He said he had this one shot all set up, everybody was in costume and makeup with blood and everything for a fight scene and it was snowing, just perfectly and they said, “Okay, stop, everybody break for dinner,” and he said he practically got down on his knees pleading, “Please, just let’s get this one shot, please, I’m a fellow worker, please, I’m Rocky!” and they wouldn’t let him. They broke for dinner and then he had to start all over again.
Please, I’m Rocky! I love that. The workers should view the director as a proletarian because he played one in a movie. And meanwhile, he imagines he's so elite that the artist should provide him with portraiture gratis. But what kind of elite is that? Royalty patronizes the arts.

It wasn't a Rocky movie they were filming. Don't be confused. It was "Nighthawks."

22 comments:

Hyphenated American said...

Unions are evil. End of story.

Hyphenated American said...

Although stalone's claim was funny as hell.

rehajm said...

All the stars usually think they should have their portraits done free, though.

Given what bastards celebs can be, I always wondered why Andy never got his ass sued for stealing their likeness. Those Campbell's lawyers went easy on him, too..

Ignorance is Bliss said...


...he imagines he's so elite that the artist should provide him with portraiture gratis.

Does he? From reading it, I got the impression that Warhol was contrasting Stallone with the other celebrities.

All the stars usually think they should have their portraits done free, though.

traditionalguy said...

Your union plays a lawyer's role.

A victory for your Union is its getting you deal for the most money for the least work, and then enforcing both ends of your deal.

So wealthy Stallone had to be patient. But he was heard to mention that "the Union drew first Blood, Colonel."

Ann Althouse said...

@rehajm Your comment made me Google "lawsuits involving andy warhol." I found this. Of all the things we lost when Andy died, we lost the artwork that he might have made from that.

But, basically, he must have had his lawyers, and things must have been managed behind the scenes.

ironrailsironweights said...

Andy Warhol is (indirectly) responsible for a travesty of justice in New York State. It is not uncommon for a person to be tried and convicted for murder many many years, even decades, after the original assault on the victim. A typical case involves a victim who was shot in the brain or spine, never fully recovers, and years later dies from the consequences of his injury. The assailant will then be charged with murder even though he's probably already served a prison term for attempted murder or assault.

New York is pretty much the only state that engages in this practice. It does so because of Andy Warhol, who died of gunshot wounds more than twenty years after being shot.

Peter

EDH said...

Not sure whose word we should trust less, Warhol's or Stallone's.

Nighthawks (1981)
Sylvester Stallone (Actor), Lindsay Wagner (Actor), Bruce Malmuth (Director) | Rated: R | Format: DVD

Ann Althouse said...

Warhol refers to the movie as "Hawks." I am inferring (after some research) that it was what became "Nighthawks." But "Nighthawks" is listed as a 1981 movie and Andy's Dinner with Sylvester occurred in 1982, so correct me if I'm wrong.

mccullough said...

The black leather trenchcoat Stallone wore in that movie never caught on. It's a great looking coat.

mccullough said...

I thought the journal entry was from Feb 1980

Freeman Hunt said...

The part of shooting movies that takes forever is setting up the shots. The actual camera rolling part is super short. It would be maddening to complete preparations for a shot only to break for dinner.

Freeman Hunt said...

It would be as if you sat down with your co-workers to write a carefully worded business letter on a typewriter and just as it was time to put the finished letter into an envelope and send it off, someone said, "Lunchtime now," and ripped the letter into pieces.

Jeff Gee said...

from the "Nighthawks" imdb page: "When the original director, Gary Nelson, left the project, Bruce Malmuth took over production. When he couldn't make it on his first day to shoot the train chase, Sylvester Stallone directed the chase himself to not miss a day of shooting. This caused trouble with the Director's Guild. Guild rules state that a Director's Guild member cannot be fired so an actor can take over directing a film he is starring in, so the producers asked for and received special permission for Stallone to direct the scene."

Jeff Gee said...

I would guess, btw, that Warhol is (innocently) conflating two Stallone anecdotes. The shot he describes sounds like something in "Paradise Alley," which Stallone directed a couple of years earlier. He was probably bitching about the DGA flap on "Nighthawks" and then brought up the earlier incident to illustrate how it's a never-ending blah blah blah.

Kirk Parker said...

Freeman,

Spot on!

The loss to productivity due to rigid union work rules is catastrophically huge, tempered only by the (thankfully) shrinking role of unions in the private sector.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Jeff.

Great analogy, Freeman.

ironrailsironweights said...

Union work rules are the major reason why so much movie production has moved to Canada from Los Angeles. While the Canadian pay scales are about the same, the work rules are less restrictive.

Peter

William said...

Many years ago I had dinner in a restaurant that was graced with the presence of Sylvester Stallone. It was a neighborhood place, since defunct, and I don't know why Stallone chose to eat there. Anyway, he did. When he went to the bathroom, he was accompanied by a bodyguard. The bodyguard made sure that the bathroom was empty and then stationed himself outside to make sure that no one interrupted the serenity of the moment......I thought it was a kind of dick move on Stallone's part. Many years later, however, I saw him on a talk show explaining this very issue. He told how tough it was being known as Rocky. One time he was taking a wiz in an airport urinal when someone came up behind him, slapped him on the back of the head, and told him that he didn't look so tough....I can see now that I was too hasty and judgmental in my opinion of his bathroom etiquette. I think in the coming year we should all resolve to be more tolerant and forgiving of our celebrities..

Ann Althouse said...

Stallone in person is surprisingly short, so he's at risk as jerks imagine it would be cool to take on Rocky.

I think he's 5'7".

Eric said...

I guess this was before producers got smart and started shooting more movies overseas.

I don't know why anyone makes a movie in the US any more. I wouldn't dream of it unless I needed landmarks. Even then I'd be tempted to shoot the thing in New Zealand and CGI in the landmarks.

Tom said...

I don't by the "I'm Rocky line." My friends and I have a joke pattern when we're making fun of another friend that is very similar to this statement. We'll say the person make two statements that are both true (or at least reasonable) and then the person's third purported statement is completely absurd. I think that's what Warhol is doing here. And if you read it that way, it's pretty funny.