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Sure they’re best buds today, after having worked together on Hollywood hits like The Expendables and Escape Plan, but back in the day Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone did not have each other’s best interest in mind. As a matter of fact the two biggest action stars at the time were in constant competition for the best big-screen roles, and did what they had to do to secure their spot at the top.
Take, for instance, the time Schwarzenegger devised a plan to get Stallone to bite on a truly horrible script. Perhaps you’ve heard of the title: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. A trainwreck in the making, the concept was first brought to Schwarzenegger who passed on the project. However, before doing so, he feigned interest to lure his action-hero rival toward the awful role. Stallone eventually took the bait, and the rest was a history that he’d rather forget.
Here’s how the story went down, according to Schwarzenegger during a recent Q&A at Beyond Fest 2017 (via SlashFilm):
“I read the script. It was so bad. You know, I’ve also done some movies that went right in the toilet, right? That were bad. But this was really bad. So I went in—this was during our war—I said to myself, I’m going to leak out that I have tremendous interest. 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. A week later, I heard about it, ‘Sly is signing now to do this movie.’ And I said, [pumps fist] ‘Yes!'”
In case you didn’t get a chance to catch the box office flop when it premiered back in 1992, here’s just a (bad) taste of what you missed.
To be fair, no actor, no matter how famous, is immune to the ‘What were you thinking when you accepted that role?’ question. A question one might even ask Arnold after shelling out a few bucks to see the movie Junior.