9:43am PT by Ashley Lee
Sylvester Stallone Recalls Rough Road to 'Rocky' Films (Video)
Though he has six Rocky movies and a new Broadway musical under his belt, Sylvester Stallone nearly missed out on the role as the Italian Stallion.
Stallone told Today in a segment that aired Tuesday morning that though he was the writer who owned the rights to the boxing story, studio heads were instead eyeing Burt Reynolds, James Caan or Ryan O'Neal for the ring.
"They wanted every celebrated actor at the time," he said. "And big-name directors. When they found out I wanted to be involved, they scattered, ran for the hills." He turned down a $300,000 buyout in an effort to hold out for the title role. "It was really insane at the time 'cause I was pretty broke."
Even after winning the best picture Oscar and following the film with a handful of sequels, its musical iteration was initially met with resistance, with someone telling Stallone, "That's a great idea for someone who's a fool," he recalled. But he stayed on as producer of this season's stage premiere, starring Andy Karl. "There's so much silence in the movie," said Stallone. "That gives room for song."
Watch the clips below.