Sylvester Stallone may be 67, but he trained rigorously to play an aging boxer in the film, "Grudge Match."
"I’ve always enjoyed working out, but this thing was pretty extraordinary," Stallone told the Waynesboro Record Herald.
"We got to prove that you don’t have to be crawling around at a certain age, or that you’re obliged to start winding down."
Stallone stars opposite Robert De Niro, 70, in "Grudge Match. They trained separately for the film, in which they play rival boxers who are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final grudge match — 30 years after their last match.
Stallone is a longtime workout fanatic who trains even when he's not preparing for a film role. Sylvester, who still keeps his body fat at 4% to 7%, previously said he follows a low-carb, high-protein diet and works out three days a week.
I follow a high-protein diet: Anything with a face, that's what I eat, with something green next to it. I focus on a variety of exercises, working out three times a week for 90 minutes per session. I really feel good."
Stallone was concerned that De Niro would not be in shape by the time shooting started, but was pleasantly surprised by the end result.
“We couldn’t get together, so by the time we finally got in the ring together, I was thinking, ‘Oh, God, I hope he looks good, I hope he can punch.' With the 'Rocky' films it was five or six months of preparation, with the [other] guy, and you’re working every day. But we didn’t have that opportunity, so I have to give Bob a little credit for his professionalism.”
De Niro confessed the grueling boxing workouts were difficult, and credited Stallone for choreographing the fight scenes.
"The training was hard," said De Niro. "I worked with the same trainer Sylvester has worked with for about 10 years, and he was a big help.
I worked as hard as I could to get to the point where we would meet. Sylvester choreographed it and laid it out, and my trainer would come over and we would work on it. Then we got together and we worked it out. Sylvester made it all happen."
Both actors have played iconic boxers in previous films. De Niro played Jake LaMotta in the 1980 classic "Raging Bull," while Stallone portrayed Rocky Balboa in the hit "Rocky" film series from 1976 to 2006.
Stallone was initially skeptical about whether film executives would want to bankroll a movie about aging boxers, but said boxing films have an enduring appeal for a simple reason. "Boxing is a metaphor for life," he said. "As life knocks you down, can you get up again?"