Sylvester Stallone Only Took Flop Movie Role to Annoy Rival Arnold Schwarzenegger
He starred in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot because of their feud.
Across Sylvester Stallone's 50-year career, one film stands out as a big misstep. The 1992 film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot fooled both audiences who sat through the un-amusing cop comedy and Stallone himself, who says he was tricked into starring in the stinker by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Read on to learn how the action stars' longtime rivalry led to the Rocky star making the biggest mistake of his career.
They were rivals.
Back when their biceps were as big as their box office numbers, Stallone and Schwarzenegger were locked in a hateful feud. "We couldn't stand to be in the same galaxy together for a while," Stallone recalled on The Johnathan Ross Show in 2022, per Business Insider. "We truly, truly loathed each other."
According to Deadline, the clash between the macho men dated back to the 1977 Golden Globes, where they sat at the same table as Stallone lost in five categories. When Schwarzenegger took home the New Star award, he allegedly laughed at the Italian Stallion, who in turn threw a bowl of flowers at him when Rocky won for Best Motion Picture — Drama.
Eight years later, Schwarzenegger made a shocking allegation: "I'd be angry at hearing my name mentioned in the same breath as Stallone's," he told News of the World, as quoted in Vulture. "Stallone uses body doubles for some of the close-ups in his movies. I don't."
Many speculated that the oddly accented villain Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) from the subsequently released Rocky IV was a dig at Schwarzenegger. The two continued to spar in film and in the press, including Schwarzenegger's claim that he had an affair with Brigitte Nielsen before she was with Stallone, and petty jabs in scenes in Twins (1988) and Tango & Cash (1989).
Stallone took the comedy role because he heard Schwarzenegger wanted it.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2022, Stallone admitted that the rivalry also led him to make a career mistake when he accepted a role in 1992's Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. The film, which stars the Rambo actor as a cop who finds a sidekick in his elderly mother (Estelle Getty of Golden Girls fame), was widely panned by critics.
Stallone admitted that he knew the comedy was a flop before it even came out. "It was supposed to be like Throw Momma From the Train with the mom as this really nasty piece of work," he said. "Instead you hire the nicest woman in Hollywood, Estelle Getty, who you wish was your mother. That's the end of that!" So why did he take it? "I had heard Schwarzenegger was going to do that movie and I said, 'I'm going to beat him to it.' I think he set me up," the star explained.
Schwarzenegger had tricked him into taking the role.
The actor expanded on how he had been baited into the role on The Johnathan Ross Show: "He's quite clever," Stallone said of Schwarzenegger. "He goes around town saying, 'I can't wait to do this film…' I go to my agent, 'Get that thing away from him.'"
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to Schwarzenegger, who confirmed the rumor that he had only faked interest in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot to get Stallone to take it. "It's 100 percent true," the Terminator star replied. "In those days we did all kinds of crazy things to get ahead in our rivalry."
The actors are now "inseparable."
Surprisingly, Stallone isn't bitter about being fooled. In a surprising turn of events, the two septuagenarians have become the best of pals. According to Variety, matters between them started to improve when they were spotted dancing together at Cannes in the early '90s and continued when they joined Bruce Willis to open a restaurant franchise.
"When we both invested in Planet Hollywood, we started flying around the world together to promote it and we became fantastic friends," Schwarzenegger told talk show host Graham Norton, as quoted in Variety. "[Stallone] is a great human being and we are now inseparable."
Stallone even joined Schwarzenegger on the campaign trail and attended his 2003 inauguration as the governor of California. The two even cameo-ed together in The Expendables in 2010 and co-starred in 2013's Escape Plan.
Yet, while Stallone has nothing but love for his friend these days, he is quick to remember that Schwarzenegger's career has also had its share of downs—including starring as a male scientist who gives birth in the panned 1994 Ivan Reitman comedy Junior. "At least I wasn't pregnant in a film, Arnold," he joked to Business Insider. "We're even."
For more celebrity nostalgia sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.