The Rocky franchise centers around professional boxing. But the real reason Balboa's adventures pack an emotional punch because they always succeed in telling a human story of overcoming adversity and perseverance in times of struggle. The boxing, in this context, provides a useful backdrop.
Like those who came before it, Creed is no different in this respect. Yes, Michael B. Jordan is physically commendable in the ring. But the momentum of the story is powered by relationships, with Stallone's Balboa the father figure to Adonis Johnson Creed, son of Rocky's onscreen buddy, Apollo Creed.
Many consider Creed up there with the best in the franchise. Stallone has won a Golden Globe (and he could yet win an Oscar) for his performance.
However, Stallone Originally Didn't Want To Feature In 'Creed' Because It Was 'Too Painful'
Director Ryan Coogler had approached the star of the franchise to feature in his adaptation of the story. However, shortly after initial discussions, Stallone's son, Sage Stallone, died tragically from a heart attack. He was 36.
Understandably, the impact was shattering, which led to Sly almost turning down the role; here he was, set to return as a father figure in a franchise where Sage had earlier played his onscreen son. Talking to Closer, Stallone said:
“It took a while. I really didn’t want to do it — I swear to you. It’s just too painful. It’s rough. There is no closure. There is nothing. The wonderful thing about acting is that it’s a release. I can take some solace in that.”
However, he decided to continue with the project. And, following his emotional triumph at the Golden Globes, Stallone commented that he wanted to respect the memory of his late son through the movie.
A Process Stallone Found Cathartic
Not only was Creed a tribute to Sage, the process of filming a movie with such emotional investment proved to be a therapeutic experience for the 69-year-old actor. He reflected on the effect it had on him:
“Every time you can vent emotions that are real, I think that’s very helpful. Most importantly, I want to respect his memory. I think we did, so it was good.”
Could Stallone Win The Oscar?
Often, actors talk of drawing upon real life experiences to add something extra in a performance. Stallone, and consequently Balboa, has been around for decades, but his seventh appearance is arguably his best yet.
Stallone's scene stealing performance has, bubbling veraciously beneath the surface, a raw and painful undertone. Take a look at his performance in the movie's trailer:
Despite being a Hollywood (and boxing) heavyweight, Stallone's award season recognition for his portrayal of Creed has perhaps taken some by surprise.
However, if on February 28th he walks up to the podium to collect his first ever Academy Award for Supporting Actor, it's fitting it could be for the character who first brought him worldwide fame four decades earlier.
Source: Closer Weekly