Arnold Schwarzenegger once used his longrunning career rivalry with Sylvester Stallone to trick the Rocky star into taking on a box office dud.
The Terminator veteran spent the bulk of his early film career being pitted against Stallone, who had also established himself as a Hollywood action man, so he decided to use their fierce competitiveness to his advantage after coming across the script for 1992 buddy cop comedy Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
“I read the script (for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot). It was so bad,” the 70-year-old cringed during an appearance at the Beyond Fest 2017 film event. “You know, I’ve also done some movies that went right in the toilet, right? That were bad. But this was really bad.”
Schwarzenegger had no intention of actually signing on for the project, but purposely put the word out that he was seriously interested – just so Stallone would take the bait and appear to steal a film Arnold knew would bomb at the box office.
“So I went in – this was during our war – I said to myself, ‘I’m going to leak out (the news) that I have tremendous interest,'” the actor shared. “I know the way it works in Hollywood. I would then ask for a lot of money. So then they’d say, ‘Let’s go give it to Sly. Maybe we can get him for cheaper.’ So they told Sly, ‘Schwarzenegger’s interested. Here’s the press clippings. He’s talked about that. If you want to grab that one away from him, that is available.’ And he went for it! He totally went for it.”
The deliberate attempt to sabotage Stallone’s career worked as Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, which co-starred Estelle Getty as the tough guy’s movie mother, was savaged by critics, and he subsequently admitted he deeply regretted taking on the Roger Spottiswoode release, branding it one of the worst films in cinematic history.
Luckily, Schwarzenegger and Stallone have long since put their differences behind them and are now friends after teaming up for the first installment in The Expendables movie franchise in 2010, and Schwarzenegger couldn’t be happier.
“I’m so glad we straightened out our mess because it wasn’t pretty,” he said. “We were attacking each other in the press relentlessly.”