When it comes to the battle of the brawns, it would be hard to separate Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, but if it’s brains you’re after, this little trick Arnie played on Sly back in the ’90s puts him in pole position. Apparently, the actors’ intense rivalry over who was the best action movie star was so heated that Stallone accepted a role in one of the worst movies ever made, just to spite his Austrian adversary.
It’s fair to say that while Stallone and Schwarzenegger have made some of the best movies of all time, both actors have also been responsible for some stinkers in their careers. Perhaps none worse, though, than Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, a ‘90s movie with a lowly 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Turns out, Stallone only took the job after executives told him that if he didn’t want it, the role would go to his rival Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not willing to let his nemesis get the better of him, Stallone snapped it up, and regretted it ever since.
At a Q+A session back in 2017 at Beyond Fest, Schwarzenegger revealed he read the script for the action comedy movie and could tell it was going to be terrible. He could have just passed on the offer, but he wanted to have some fun with it.
“So I went in – this was during our war – I said to myself, I’m going to leak out that I have tremendous interest,” Schwarzenegger said. “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!”
It’s an incredibly crafty move from Schwarzenegger, but you have to applaud the sheer spite of it all. Luckily, the pair have now put their rivalry aside and have even worked together on The Expendables movie franchise since.