ET Flashback: 'Rocky III' Has The Eye of the Tiger
By DAVID WEINER
June 13, 2012
Go for it! Rocky Balboa has the eye of the tiger in the third entry in the hugely successful Sylvester Stallone franchise, and 30 years after its summer '82 release, we're breaking out vintage ET interviews with Sly and a pre-A-Team Mr. T.
"Rocky has this dilemma, because there's a real conflict in the film about the loss of pride and dignity and manhood and shame," Sly told ET about his signature character's inner turmoil. "I like it the best of the three ... it becomes a star trip [for Rocky] that backfires, and I [experienced] the same thing, so I just put my particular problems in his mouth."
Stallone wrote and directed Rocky III, presenting a leaner, more cut version of himself in the ring as a successful and somewhat jaded Rocky faces his toughest opponent yet -- the hungry, brash and seemingly unstoppable Clubber Lang (Mr. T).
"For Rocky to regain his dignity, the man he has to fight is exactly the same mirror image of Rocky himself," explains Sly. "He's a devastating man. ... He has hunger on his side, and he's youthful and he's angry."
Speaking of hungry, Mr. T explained his drive as an actor and human being, describing to ET how Stallone plucked him from obscurity after seeing him on an America's Toughest Bouncer contest.
"You have to understand I'm a product of the ghetto; my father left when I was about five years old, I come from a family of seven brothers and four sisters, 12 in all, so all my life I wanted to be the best at whatever I had done," said Mr. T. "I wanted to make my mother proud. When you're watching her struggling and what not, I couldn't just be regular. I just had to be the best to let her know her work wasn't in vain."