At 73 Sylvester Stallone Has Given Up On Hair Dye, And Fans Are Loving His New Look

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One of the biggest action stars in Hollywood history, Sylvester Stallone has experienced a storied career over his five decades in the movie business. Audiences worldwide associate him with muscles, guns and explosions, and he’s continued to trade on that image well into his 70s. However, a recent social media reveal of a startling new look took his fans by surprise.

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Intriguingly, Stallone has fully embraced his action man status in recent years, following initial attempts to escape the genre. In fact, 2010 saw the release of The Expendables, a film Stallone wrote, directed and starred in. It was the ultimate celebration of macho 1980s’ action heroes and became Stallone’s most successful opening weekend anywhere in his career.

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Furthermore, the film featured Stallone teaming up with modern action stars like Jason Statham and Jet Li, alongside nostalgic heavyweights Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke. Also, it featured a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stallone’s longtime rival for the accolade of number one action icon. Two sequels followed, adding stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Harrison Ford and Wesley Snipes.

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Come 2014, while promoting the third entry in the franchise, Stallone spoke with website Collider. And he outlined his admiration for those capable of thriving as action stars in Hollywood. “Everyone has this conjecture that action films are somewhat less prestigious than dramatic films,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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Then he expanded on this feeling by saying, “They’re not going to make films like this much longer because it takes a certain person that’s willing to commit and go for it and have an aura.” With characteristic conviction, he added, “The hardest thing is to find an action star.”

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So it was clear that Stallone still felt passionate about action movies. As he went on to explain further to Collider, “I don’t give a damn what anyone says, stars they come and go. “An action star you can count on one hand, because it’s a very interesting element.”

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Certainly, the A-lister’s recent projects show a man fully aware that the action genre has been his bread and butter for years. You see, in 2018 and 2019 he starred in Escape Plan 2: Hades and Escape Plan: The Extractors. These were the second and third instalments in a series he started in 2013, initially co-starring Schwarzenegger.

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Now, Escape Plan was a modest theatrical hit worldwide, but when it came time for the sequel, Schwarzenegger didn’t return. However, Stallone wound up making the two sequels alongside Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who returned from the first film. What’s more, they added newcomer Dave Bautista, the former WWE wrestler who broke out with Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy.

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Both sequels were released straight-to-DVD/video-on-demand in the United States, though they did have small theatrical releases in countries like Russia and China. But the budgets fell with each instalment, leading to the third movie costing just $3.6 million to produce. When compared to the $54 million budget of the first film, that’s a significant drop.

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Of course, these films might suggest that Stallone has been on the wane, with the actor attempting to cling on to former glories. But, aside from the Escape Plan franchise, “Sly” has actually experienced some significant success in recent years. And he has accomplished this by reprising some of his most famous roles.

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You see, 2006 saw the release of Rocky Balboa, the sixth entry in the movie series that will probably always define Stallone. And it was the first time that he’d played the fictional boxer since 1990’s Rocky V, which was a flop. But Rocky Balboa was a huge success, and it could be seen as the starting point of a renaissance for Stallone’s old characters. However, it hadn’t been an easy production.

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That’s right, because in a July 2019 interview with Variety, Stallone talked about the extremely difficult circumstances of trying to get Rocky Balboa made. And he spoke about how, in the early 2000s, he was fired by his agents and manager. You see, they made the call after a string of his movies were critical and commercial flops.

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“Listen, I have nothing against them,” he said. “And I understand it now being on that side of the desk. They couldn’t do anything for me. They couldn’t get traction.” The A-lister even revealed that his management encouraged him to seek other opportunities outside of acting. “It was about 2002,” he lamented, “and nothing was cooking for me for about six years.”

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And Stallone pointed to a few movies that had hurt his career. Indeed, he believed D-Tox, “had a cloud over it” due to a troubled production. He added that, “It sat on the shelf for two years, and so that was kind of the beginning of ‘Stallone is [over].’” Furthermore, he seemed to accept personal culpability for Daylight, which “didn’t deliver, so you shoulder that.”

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Unfortunately for Stallone, he also believed that 1997’s police drama Cop Land damaged his career. And this was despite his performance being praised and the movie receiving critical acclaim. He explained to Variety, “I worked with the best director I ever worked with – James Mangold. I loved the film, but it actually worked in reverse.”

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As Sly went on to explain to Variety, “It was pretty good critically, but the fact that it didn’t do a lot of box office, again it fomented the opinion that I had my moment and was going the way of the dodo bird and the Tasmanian tiger. So, I’m gone.” However, somewhere in the midst of this low point, Stallone decided to, “try and salvage Rocky and go out on a good note.”

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Frustratingly, no one was interested. He told Variety, “When you’re 60 years old wanting to play a boxer, following a sequel that bombed 15 years earlier, there’s zero chance,” he admitted. “I went to the studios. And Alex Yemenidjan at the time was running MGM. He told me that no one wanted to make it, absolutely no one.”

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Even so, Stallone believed a new Rocky film could connect with audiences. But he struggled to make the power players in Hollywood believe too. “There was such scepticism, and rightly so,” he told Variety. “I get it. The core audience had grown up and was gone.” Therefore, Stallone pitched the movie as something more emotionally resonant than what the Rocky sequels had become.

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Yes, the A-lister remembered, “I said it’s not about boxing – it’s about grief and loss. He finally lost his love, which is the end of the equation for him. The only way he knows how to deal with it is cathartically through fighting.” When the movie finally arrived, Stallone was proven right. It made $156 million at the worldwide box office and reviews were strong.

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Touchingly, the success of Rocky Balboa was very significant on a personal level for Stallone. “I had seen this town from every peak, and I’d seen it from the valley,” he told Variety, reflecting on his rollercoaster career. “I know the terrain pretty well and the fact that Rocky prevailed one more time was even more momentous for me than Rocky 1.” And that was just the rebirth.

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You see, Stallone would go on to play Rocky twice more in the spinoff movies Creed and Creed II. These films follow the story of Adonis, the son of Rocky’s great boxing rival (and eventual friend) Apollo Creed. The first film was received so well that Stallone was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award; his first nomination since the original Rocky in 1976.

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And Rocky may even return to our screens once more, if Stallone and producer Irwin Winkler have their way. Yes, Stallone told Variety that a new film, separate from the proposed third Creed film, is in the works. Interestingly, it comes with a ripped-from-the-headlines story that touches on topics such as immigration and homelessness. Also, Stallone has floated the idea of a Rocky prequel television series.

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Alongside this renewed cinematic life for Rocky, Stallone also resurrected his other iconic character: John Rambo. Just two years after Rocky Balboa hit theaters, Rambo was released to mixed reviews, but good box office. It was the fourth movie in the action franchise that began with 1982’s First Blood and it came a full 20 years after Rambo III.

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But efforts to make a fourth Rambo instalment were ongoing through much of the 1990s and early 2000s. You see, the main stumbling block was Stallone himself. And in the wake of Cop Land, he stated that he didn’t want to make any more action movies. Subsequently, several ideas were pitched, but he didn’t like any of them enough to commit to returning to the character.

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However, Rambo was eventually greenlit in 2005, a year before the release of Rocky Balboa. What changed for Stallone? Put simply, he finally came up with an idea that excited him. He set the film during the Saffron Revolution in Burma, giving it a politically charged energy. Furthermore, he directed it this time; a first for the franchise he had previously co-written.

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In the subsequent decade, different versions of a fifth Rambo film were proposed and then abandoned. Rambo: Last Blood finally arrived in September 2019 and did middling box office numbers. Worse, though, was the critical savaging it received. The movie’s depiction of Mexico was decried, with some believing the script espoused xenophobic sentiments.

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Despite the lukewarm reception to Last Blood, Stallone sounds keen on taking the character further. Speaking to website JoBlo, he spoke about how a future storyline could see Rambo hiding from the law in an Indian Reservation. Also, he’s expressed the desire to make a prequel, exploring Rambo as he was before the Vietnam War.

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But what is the underlying reason for Stallone returning to the tried and tested characters like Rocky and Rambo, or bankable action franchises like The Expendables? Perhaps the answer lies in a 2010 indieLondon interview. There, Stallone spoke of how Hollywood has changed dramatically, and stars of his ilk were having to adjust to the new landscape.

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You see, he described how, in the 1980s, studios would just take an action star like he or Dolph Lundgren and, “surround us with guys.” He believed that, in those testosterone-fuelled actioners, “They didn’t need to build character.” However, it is a very different story these days. Stallone believes concept and character now matter more than a star name.

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What’s more, Stallone also believes the Hollywood attitude toward expenditure is different, with studios being more risk averse. He told indieLondon, “There is a lot at stake today. It’s all scientific and every actor is weighed against what he’s going to bring in from territories. It’s like a maths project, it really is.”

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So perhaps Stallone decided his best bet for continuing his career in modern Hollywood was returning to his bankable characters. For example, in 2020 a studio is less likely to greenlight an original Sylvester Stallone drama than a new Rocky movie. Even an original Stallone action movie, outside of Rambo or The Expendables, may have a hard time securing approval.

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All that aside, Stallone’s fans were thrown a curveball on January 28, 2020, months after the release of Rambo: Last Blood. For you see, he posted a video on his Instagram account which showed him in a very different light. Indeed, he’d embraced his natural, older look publicly for the first time. And in doing so he revealed a dazzling gray head of hair and beard, showing that he’d actually been using hair dye for years.

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Writing on the video post, Stallone had the following to say, “Sometimes I wake up I feel like doing nothing. Just relaxing. Just very true. If anyone says different, they’re lying – it’s human nature.” However, rather than giving in to this feeling, Stallone encouraged his fans to push themselves into action.

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To this end, he concluded his message with, “Then you roll over, get a little mad at yourself, and realize to get anywhere you’ve got to make a deposit in the GOAL BANK. So, I’ll go back to my favorite phrase and do it!!” He added the hashtag, “#KeepPunching,” a reference to his most iconic character.

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And Stallone reinforced the hashtag in the short video attached to the message by saying, “Keep punching, my friends” while holding his fist up in a Rocky-esque pose. His inspirational post, and the reveal of his natural hair color, were well received by fans in the comments section. Indeed, they posted messages of support.

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One user posted, “Proud of you with the silver hair,” and another wrote, “Stay gray, my friend. Stay gray #staygold.” Another fan cracked an affectionate joke at Stallone’s expense by writing, “You look ‘greyt’ champ.” Another applauded his newfound openness with, “Stay true to the gray!! Looks good on ya.”

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Later that week, Stallone went out to dinner in Beverly Hills with his wife Jennifer and daughters Sophia and Sistine. And he was pictured outside the Madeo Italian restaurant, still wearing the gray haired look. He appeared happy and comfortable while posing for pictures with his daughters, both of whom are models and Instagram influencers.

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Despite showing the world his silver locks and embracing his 73 years, Stallone’s next two movie projects fit firmly within the action genre he’s always been known for. Yes, he’s currently filming Samaritan, a unique take on an original superhero story. It’s directed by Julius Avery, who made the action-horror film Overlord and is scheduled for release in December 2020.

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Furthermore, he’s in pre-production on Little America, a sci-fi action picture produced by Transformers director Michael Bay. According to website Deadline, the film is, “Set in a dystopian future where America has become bankrupt and turned into a war zone.” Stallone plays an ex-Army Ranger tasked with finding an Asian billionaire’s missing daughter.

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To accomplish this, his character will have to, “navigate the dark underbelly of Little America, a walled-off city within a city in Hong Kong where many Americans have fled.” The film comes from writer-director Rowan Athale. Alongside Bay, it is also produced by Stallone under the banner of Balboa Productions, a film and TV production company he formed in 2018.

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