Sly Solo? Stallone Admits He Was Considered for ‘Star Wars’
He was a scrappy underdog from Philly who got a shot at the heavyweight title. He was also a Vietnam vet out for justice. He was even a truck driver turned professional arm wrestler. But he missed his chance to be a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.
In a recent question-and-answer session with the readers of Ain’t-It-Cool-News, Sylvester Stallone opened up about the roles he has played in his career, plus a few that he didn’t. Most notably, he revealed that he was actually considered for the role of Han Solo in the original “Star Wars.”
Stallone was asked by a fan to confirm that he had answered a casting call for the character, and he replied, “Yes as a matter of fact I did and it didn’t meet with much approval since when I stood in front of George Lucas he didn’t look at me once.” He goes on to say that he recognized immediately that he was wrong for the role, saying “Well, obviously I’m not the right type.” Stallone doesn’t seem to have any regrets, though, adding, “[It] all worked out for the best since I don’t look good in spandex holding a ray gun.”
George Lucas can’t be blamed too harshly for not giving Stallone much consideration at the time. At the time, “Rocky” had yet to be released, and Stallone’s biggest role had been as Machine Gun Joe in the cult movie “Death Race 2000.” Originally, “Star Wars” was scheduled to be released in December of 1976, which would have put it in theaters at the same time as “Rocky.” But delays in finishing the movie’s groundbreaking special effects pushed the release to May, 1977.
Sylvester Stallone is in good company when it comes to actors who were considered for parts in “Star Wars” but didn’t get them. Christopher Walken was reportedly Lucas’ second choice for Han Solo, and Kurt Russell also screen-tested for the part. According to casting director Dianne Crittenden, Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss, John Travolta and even Robert De Niro were all discussed as possibilities. One actor who was not considered for the role: Harrison Ford. Since Lucas didn’t want to use any actors he worked with on “American Graffiti,” Ford was brought in solely to read scenes for other actor’s auditions. But after countless run-throughs of the scenes, it was clear that Ford was the best choice.
The other main roles were also highly contested. Lucas held his auditions for “Star Wars” simultaneously with his friend Brian De Palma’s search for actors for the movie “Carrie.” Sissy Spacek and William Katt read for the roles of Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, but ended up getting the leads in the scary Stephen King adaptation instead.
Sylvester Stallone isn’t the only star to recently admit he passed on a visiting Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. In an interview last month with ShortList.com, Leonardo DiCaprio revealed that he turned down the part of Anakin Skywalker in the “Star Wars” prequels. He said he met with George Lucas about the role, but he “just didn’t feel ready to take that dive.” In the same article, DiCaprio says he also passed on playing both Spider-Man and Batman’s sidekick, Robin.
Stallone might not have piloted the Millennium Falcon, but it didn’t stop him from spending four decades as a major movie star. His latest film — which he also wrote and directed — is “The Expendables,” which opens on August 13.
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