Sylvester Stallone was overcome with emotion at winning the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for a character he first portrayed four decades earlier. So much so, he even forgot to thank director Ryan Coogler and co-star Michael B. Jordan.
But after the dust had started to settle following Sly's whirlwind success, the 69-year old actor had time to reflect on the achievement while talking to press backstage.
"I Wanted To Respect His Memory"
On the podium, Stallone thanked an old friend, Rocky Balboa himself, for being "the best friend he ever had" in an emotional tribute. But it was his late son Sage Stallone, who tragically died in 2012, who inspired his stellar performance in Creed.
Stallone was asked if his role of father figure and mentor in to Adonis Creed in the film took any inspiration from his real life loss. Sage Stallone, who was only 36 when he passed away, starred alongside Stallone in Rocky V (1990). Stallone responded:
“That’s a very heavy question. To be frank, any time you can vent emotions that are real, I think it’s very, very helpful. Most importantly I wanted to respect his memory, and I think we did.”
"We'd Do Anything For Each Other"
Rocky V wasn't particularly well received, so much so that at the time, Stallone ruled out making any further movies. But even so, the scenes between father and son had an alluring poignancy to them.
But filming the scenes weren't easy. Talking to People in 1996, Sage said:
"When I was screaming 'You never spent time with me! You never spent time with my mother!' that was true. I was looking into my father's face and really saying that.
"I got a lot of things out. We broke into tears a few times. After the film, everything changed. We'd do anything for each other."
The two continued to share a close bond in the following years. Following on from Rocky, Sage again starred with his father in 1996 film Daylight. However, after that film, Sage shunned the limelight to an extent, avoiding well known films and instead opting for lower budget, less publicized movies.
Rocky Balboa returned to our screens in 2006, but Sage couldn't return to sharing the screen with his father due to other commitments. Milo Ventimiglia stood in instead.
"It's Very, Very Tough"
Tragically, Sage was found dead on July 13th 2012 at his home in Los Angeles. He died from a heart attack as the result of heart disease.
Talking to Good Morning America following his son's death the same year, Stallone spoke of his heartbreak at losing someone so close. He said:
"It's tough it's very, very, tough. But if you have good friends and your family’s support, it's just something that’s a horrible situation but ... hopefully it will heal and you try to get through it but it's something that is a reality in life."
Before winning the Golden Globe, Stallone's previous nomination was for the original Rocky in 1976. It's a role that has been synonymous with the Hollywood hard man with a soft side.
Stallone has also been nominated for an Oscar for the same role. Should he win, there wouldn't be a more fitting tribute to his son's memory.