Are Arnold Schwarzenegger & Sylvester Stallone Friends? For Reals?

TMZ Presents: Arnold & Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons
©2024 Fox Media LLC. Credit: TMZ

What happens when you put Rocky Balboa and Conan the Barbarian together in the same room?

Two great action film legends, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, sit down and discuss their lives, careers and their longtime friendship in TMZ Presents: Arnold & Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons premiering Tuesday, April 21, at 8pm ET/PT on FOX.

Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder from Austria who found movie stardom with roles in films like Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, and Stallone, the Oscar-winner for Rocky who went on to star in First Blood and the Rambo series of films, both emerged in Hollywood around the same time and both revolutionized the action movie genre in the 1970s and ’80s.

In the beginning, Stallone and Schwarzenegger had a friendly rivalry that was mostly professional, and they provided motivation for each other.

Rocky came out, and I was blown away by his acting and by the movie,” Schwarzenegger says. “After that, we were at the Golden Globes. And we both won. So there was plenty of room for everybody.”

As Stallone’s profile grew and he began getting bigger roles, Schwarzenegger felt the need to keep up. “My salary was kind of like 10% of his,” Schwarzenegger recalls.

Fortunately, Stallone and Schwarzenegger each found their own niche in the action arena and played to their strengths as actors. Schwarzenegger was in the sci-fi and fantasy realm, while Stallone played more down-to-earth characters.

“He was perfect for Terminator,” Stallone says of Schwarzenegger. “I didn’t have his body, so I dealt more in movements, and being more stealth, more catlike. And he was more powerful-like, yet we achieved the same goal.”

Could Stallone have played the T-800 in The Terminator? “You can’t have a machine that slurs. It doesn’t work,” he says.

The two competed with each other over things like their body-fat percentage and the size of the machine guns they used in their movies.

“We ended up kind of like, ‘You killed 28 people in a movie. I killed 32,'” Schwarzenegger says. Stallone replies, “I’ve got to top that.”

There was also the time that Schwarzenegger and his agent faked interest in the comedy film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Stallone’s competitive spirit kicked in and he snagged the starring role in what would be a major flop.

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