The Rocky and Rambo film star travelled to Vatican City on Friday (8 september) alongside his wife, daughters and brother, fellow actor Frank. Footage of their appearance was posted on Vatican News’s social media account.
After introducing the pope to his family, Stallone said: "Thank you very much for taking time from your busy day. We appreciate this very much.”
Pope Francis responded, “I am honoured. I grew up with your films,” to which Stallone appeared visibly surprised. Laughing, he raised his fists in jest, quipping: “Ready? We box.”
Stallone’s wife, Jennifer Flavin, rubbed the actor, writer and director’s back in encouragement following Pope Francis’s comment.
The actor was referring to his popular character Rocky Balboa, the boxing champion he played in six Rocky films from the 1976 original, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, to 2006’s Rocky Balboa. He returned as the character in Creed (2018), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Stallone is the subject of a forthcoming Netflix documentary, titled Sly, that is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on 17 September.
Directed by Thom Zimny (Springsteen on Broadway), Sly will be released in November. The synopsis reads for the documentary reads: “For nearly 50 years, Sylvester Stallone has entertained millions with iconic characters and blockbuster franchises, from Rocky to Rambo to The Expendables.
“This retrospective documentary offers an intimate look at the Oscar-nominated actor-writer-director-producer, paralleling his inspirational underdog-story with the indelible characters he has brought to life.”
Stallone's other credits include Cobra (1986), Cliffhanger, Demolition Man (both 1993) and Daylight (1996).