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Sylvester Stallone Says He and Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘Really Disliked Each Other Immensely’ in the 1980s

Stallone recalls the actors' box office competitiveness as "not a healthy thing at all, but we've become really good friends.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 28:  Actors Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) and Sylvester Stallone attend the LA Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Terminator Genisys' at the Dolby Theatre on June 28, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone

Getty Images for Paramount Pictu

They just don’t make action movie stars like they used to. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone dominated the box office in the 1980s with their hyper-masculine, star-driven brand of action movies: a feat some studios, but no actor has fully replicated since. You’d think the experience would have bonded the titans of industry, but Stallone says that shared experience is precisely why they weren’t always friends.

In a new interview with Forbes to promote his upcoming Paramount+ series “Tulsa King,” Stallone waxed nostalgic about his rivalry with Schwarzenegger and their eventual ability to mend fences by teaming up for “The Expendables” and “Escape Plan.”

“We really disliked each other immensely because we were… this may sound a little vain, but I think we were pioneering a kind of genre at that time and it hasn’t been seen since really,” Stallone said. “So the competition, because it’s his nature, he is very competitive and so am I… and I just thought it actually helped, but off-screen we were still competitive and that was not a healthy thing at all, but we’ve become really good friends.”

The days of Stallone and Schwarzenegger competing to win the box office appear to be over (at least for now), as both actors have turned their attention to television. Stallone has teamed up with “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan on “Tulsa King,” and Schwarzenegger will lead the upcoming Netflix adventure series “Utap.”

Per critics, Stallone’s television debut is off to a good start. In his review, IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote: “‘Tulsa King,’ Sheridan’s latest series for Paramount, feels like a breath of fresh air. Starring Sylvester Stallone as an aging gangster exiled to Oklahoma after a 25-year prison sentence, the first two episodes feature their fair share of punches, posturing, and family problems. But so far, it has more in common with movies like ‘Space Cowboys’ and ‘The Old Man and the Gun’ than ‘Sicario’ and ‘Wind River’; stories about old men trying to make good before it’s all over, but doing so with a wink and a smile. In the hands of showrunner and co-writer Terence Winter (‘Boardwalk Empire’), there’s also a breezy quality to the proceedings that befits the star’s dual skillset: an intimidating heavy one minute and a waggish teddy bear the next.”

“Tulsa King” premieres on Paramount+ on Sunday, November 13.

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