Sylvester Stallone has revealed that a Pele penalty kick broke his finger during the filming of 1981’s Escape To Victory.
“That was one of the low points of my life,” Stallone joked to the BBC after they brought up the second world war/prisoner of war/soccer/drama which starred the Brazilian icon, Ossie Ardiles, Michael Caine, and Michael Caine.
“What a butt-kicking I got! I still have a broken finger from trying to block a penalty by Pele,” he confirmed.
The actor continued, “He put on a pair of World War II shoes which were steel-tipped, and the ball was like a cannonball – it was twice as thick and heavy as footballs are today. He was telling me he was going to take a shot and I thought ‘it’s soccer, what’s the big deal? It’s easy’.”
Stallone explained, “He came to take one penalty shot and he told me exactly where he was going to put it, so I stood there but the ball still flew past me before I could move. He put it literally right where he had said. He did it again, and it ripped through the back of the net and broke a window in the barracks where we were filming. I went ‘are you kidding me?’ I found a new kind of respect.”
Meanwhile, Stallone has admitted that he gets frustrated when he is labelled as just a muscle head actor, even though he has been nominated for an Oscar on two occasions because of his work on the Rocky franchise.
He stated, “It depends what day of the week it is. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, the next day I’m like, ‘Where do they live!’ All of the Rockys I wrote every word, but still, people assume you are Rocky. They still think you are this muscle head. One day I think I’ve got it together, the next day I want to kill everyone.”
Stallone noted that even his Grudge Match co-star, Robert DeNiro, had some harsh words to say about his acting abilities during shooting.
“We were doing a scene,” he recalled, “and I said ‘Bobby, Is it me or do you feel the same way? The first time I’m doing a scene with you I think you’re terrible. I’m saying my lines, but I’m not believing anything you’re saying back to me, you’re just winging it, you’re looking at the lines, you go back and forth.’ And he said, ‘I thought you sucked too’.”