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‘Creed’ Premiere: Sylvester Stallone on Oscar Buzz and Future of ‘Rocky’ Franchise

It’s been almost 40 years since “Rocky” first premiered, but you’d never guess it watching Sylvester Stallone strut down the black carpet premiere of “Creed” at the Regency Village Theater in Westwood on Thursday night.

Stallone, 69, reunited with former “Rocky” franchise stars like Dolph Lundgren and Carl Weathers, while throwing jabs with newbies Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler.

“It was a huge leap of faith,” Stallone said about putting “Rocky” in the hands of a director who’d only done one film prior, “Fruitvale Station.”

“Either you let Rocky go out into the sunset or you believe in youth and a young kid’s ambition, and I thought I’ve been wrong so many times in my life, I don’t want to be wrong again,” Stallone said.

Telling the story of Apollo Creed’s son Adonis (played by Jordan) as he teams up with Rocky Balboa to train, the film had audience members cheering and applauding — especially for the producers who’ve restarted their franchise.

“It was completely unexpected that this would happen,” said producer Charles Winkler, son of original producer Irwin Winkler who was also in attendance. “And we very well may be taking the franchise out now into the future.”

Next to his wife Jennifer Flavin and his daughters, Stallone watched the film alongside stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Angela Bassett and Miles Teller, as well as legendary boxers Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar de la Hoya.

Coogler brought his father as his date because he was his inspiration for making the film in the first place. “The biggest pressure was internal,” he said, “I didn’t want to let my dad down because he loves these movies so much.”

The gigantic after-party was held in a tented parking lot nearby with hanging punching bags and a menu of Philadelphia favorites including cheesesteak and soft pretzels, something Jordan hasn’t eaten in quite a long time, due to his strict fitness regiment.

“I eventually enjoyed it,” Jordan joked about the diet he was on while shooting this film. “At first, it was rough, but hey, if you eat brown rice, chicken and broccoli for 10 or 11 months, your body will change.”

The smell of cheesesteak wasn’t the only thing in the air that night — as early reviews for Stallone’s performance have generated Oscar buzz.

“Just from the trailer, it seems to be the best work he’s ever done. He hits it out of the park, and if there’s a vote, I’ll be voting for him,” said Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the previous films.

Added Winkler, “The talk has happened without us having to boost it at all, and deservedly so. We know Sylvester Stallone as an action star, but we forget he started as a character actor.”

However, according to Stallone himself, it’s the director who should get credit for any award nominations in his future. “I think it’s because of what this young man and has done and how he directed it. He just put me in a good light,” laughed Stallone.

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