Sylvester Stallone: Rocky’s ‘Creed 3’ absence is ‘regretful’

Sylvester Stallone didn’t splash out when recently asked for his opinion on Creed III, the latest boxing film in the Rocky franchise and the first to disqualify him from the cast.

In a candid interview for a Hollywood Reporter cover story published Monday, the screen icon lamented his absence in the upcoming “Creed” movie, starring Michael B. Jordan as Rocky’s protégé, Adonis Creed. The third Creed film hits theaters March 3 and marks Jordan’s directorial debut.

“It’s an unfortunate situation because I know what it could have been,” said Stallone, who has played Rocky Balboa in all other episodes of “Rocky” and “Creed.”

“It was taken in a direction very different from what I would have taken. It’s a different philosophy – [producer] Irwin Winkler and Michael B. Jordan. I wish them well, but I’m much more sentimental. I like it when my heroes get beat up, but I just don’t want them to go into that dark room. I just feel like people have enough darkness.”

Stallone has been open about his dislike of the Winkler family and what they’ve been doing with the “Rocky” franchise for the past few months. In July, the veteran actor released a series of scathing Instagram posts skewering Irwin Winkler, his son David Winkler and “their entire extended family” for allegedly exploiting the beloved character and movie empire Stallone created.

Despite writing and starring in the six films with “Rocky” in the title, Stallone is not credited as a producer on any of them. (He is credited with producing Creed and Creed II). And he’s been vocal about wanting more involvement in the blockbuster saga. By the time THR’s cover story came out, however, Stallone had accepted that this “would never happen.”

“It was a deal that was made without my knowledge by people I thought were close to me, and they basically gave away all the rights I would have had,” he told the trade publication.

“At the time I was so excited to be working and I didn’t understand that this was a business. Who would have thought Rocky would carry on for another 45 years? I have never used one [line of dialogue] by someone else – and the irony is that I don’t own any of it. The people who have done literally nothing are controlling it.”

Stallone also revealed that the Winklers had recently asked him to do another “Rocky” movie and that at first he was “ready to do it” — until they refused to give him “a piece” of what what he had “created all those years ago.”

“You can not [make a Rocky sequel] just because you want your kids to have a job,” Stallone told THR. “Or if you don’t get more money that you can block it. The other producer, Bob Chartoff, was always very nice. Irwin Winkler was just the opposite.”

Though his opinion of the Winkler family remains low, Stallone said he was able to reconcile with actor Dolph Lundgren after calling his former co-star about not reporting him in the ” Drago” spinoff, which centered on Ivan Drago, Rocky’s old rival, Lundgren’s Soviet-Russian boxer. Lundgren claimed at the time he believed Stallone was on board.

“Actually, I’ll call [Lundgren] today because he underwent an ankle situation,” Stallone told THR.

“The Dolph thing again. This is a classic case of them running around trying to constantly pick aspects of Rocky without even asking me to join them. … I’m the only one who gets left out.”

Representatives for Jordan and the Winkler family did not immediately respond Tuesday to the Times request for comment. Sylvester Stallone: Rocky’s ‘Creed 3’ absence is ‘regretful’

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