Sylvester Stallone is pulling a few punches.
The legendary actor, who notably created and portrayed boxer Rocky Balboa in the landmark 1976 film Rocky and its following sequels, criticised the recently revealed Drago spinoff and called out returning producer Irvin Winkler.
“ONCE AGAIN, IRWIN WINKLER, this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me,” he wrote on Instagram as he shared in now deleted screenshots of the project’s announcement, according to People.
Stallone, 76, criticized his longtime pal Dolph Lundgren, calling the spinoff concept “another heartbreaker.” After The Wrap revealed that Stallone will reprise his role as Russian boxer Ivan Drago in the planned sequel, the actor referred to his former co-star as a “parasite.”
“I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites,” he continued. “By the way, I once had nothing but respect for Dolph but he NEVER told me about what was going on behind my back with the character I created for him!!! REAL FRIENDS Are more precious than gold.”
However, Stallone did not stop there. Following his harsh remark, he posted a photoshopped image of a vampire-like Winkler drinking Rocky’s blood and stabbing him in the back.
“After IRWIN WINKLER And FAMILY SUCK ROCKY DRY!” he wrote along with the disturbing image. “Presumed to be the most hated, untalented, decrepited [sic], Producer in Hollywood and his cowardly children have found their next meal… Drago, RETURN MY RIGHTS BLOODSUCKERS!”
He added, “Throughout history so many artists in every industry, recording, painting writing, you name it have been destroyed by these blood suckers Who have destroyed so many families, lining their pockets with other people! DOLPH, why? Not a phone call? #parasite producers #exploited artists victims.”
Following Stallone’s criticism, Lundgren turned to Instagram to clear the air on a hypothetical Drago spinoff.
“There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor,” he wrote on Aug. 1, along with photo of the two co-stars in better times. “There was a press leak last week which was unfortunate. In touch with Mr Balboa – just so all the fans can relax…There ya go.”
This isn’t the first time Stallone has expressed a desire to have control over the franchise. Stallone confessed to Variety in 2019 that he had “zero ownership” of the property and regrets not pressing hard enough during the initial film’s negotiations.
Stallone, who received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and Best First Screenplay for the original Rocky picture, returned his role in the sequel Creed in 2015 and Creed II three years later. The next Creed film, without Stallone, will be released in March 2023.