×

‘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.”

Popular on Variety

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.

More Scene

  • 'Little America' Team on Creating Immigration

    'Little America' Team on Creating the Immigration Anthology Series for Apple TV Plus

    Respect and authenticity were the key words at the screening of the new Apple TV Plus series “Little America” on Thursday in Los Angeles. Produced by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon and inspired by true stories featured in Epic Magazine, “Little America” is an anthology series focused on immigration. For executive producer Sian Heder, [...]

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival - Egyptian

    Sundance 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Heading to Park City? From intimate dinners and cocktail parties to late night bashes (that end just in time to head to brunch), there’s plenty to keep this year’s film festival attendees out of the cold between screenings. Here is Variety’s ultimate party guide for Sundance 2020:  Thursday, Jan. 23 “Summertime” Premiere Party Lyft Lounge, 8-11 [...]

  • BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21:

    Jenna Andrews Hosts Zhavia Ward, Lennon Stella at Jed Foundation Fundraiser

    Jenna Andrews, the Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and executive, hosted a pre-Grammy event in partnership with The Jed Foundation at Alice and Olivia in West Hollywood on Tuesday.  The non-profit Jed is dedicated to protecting emotional health and preventing suicide. The foundation has partnered with high schools and colleges in order to “strengthen mental health, [...]

  • Coldplay - Chris Martin

    Grammys 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Let the music play, indeed. The Grammys are just days away and dozens of parties are happening every night this week leading up to the big day, Sunday, Jan. 26. And the partying continues with several bashes following the ceremony. (All events listed are by invitation only unless marked otherwise; this list is being updated [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content