How Sylvester Stallone Got Richard Gere Fired From Movie Amid Feud
The two actors clashed on the set of a 1974 film, before they were major stars.
There are plenty of tales of Hollywood stars not getting along while working on movies, but they usually at least go on to finish the project together, if not entirely happily. Not the case with Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere. Back in the '70s, before either was the major movie star he'd become, Gere was fired from a movie because of his feud with Stallone, one of his co-stars. The incident that sealed the deal? Gere got chicken grease on Stallone's pants.
But while the at-odds actors were spared spending the rest of filming together, their feud continued and it wasn't the last time they crossed paths. Read on to find out more about the dramatic saga, which includes spilled lunch, Princess Diana, an a certain rumor involving a gerbil.
Gere and Stallone were cast in the same 1974 movie.
Gere and Stallone were among the young actors hired for The Lords of Flatbush, a 1974 film about teenagers in Brooklyn, New York in the '50s. Stallone was 27 when the movie was released, while Gere was 24. The Lords of Flatbush was one of the first starring roles for Stallone—Rocky came out two years later. And, had he stayed in the film, it would have been the first feature film role for Gere–his big break came a few years later in 1977's Looking for Mr. Goodbar.
Gere was fired over their feud.
In 2006, Stallone answered several fan questions for the website Ain't It Cool News. Asked to share an anecdote from The Lords of Flatbush, the Creed star explained why Gere was fired and replaced with Perry King. Stallone said that he and Gere "never hit it off," and that the younger actor "would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table."
He went on to say that he and Gere took things too far during a fight scene but that the final straw happened during a lunch break one day.
"[W]e were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hot dog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper," Stallone recalled. The actor told Gere, "If it gets on my pants you're gonna know about it." Of course, that's exactly what happened.
"He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh," the now-77-year-old continued. "I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me."
They reportedly got into an argument over Princess Diana years later.
Gere and Stallone had another run-in years later, at least according to Elton John. In his 2019 memoir, Me, John said that Gere and Stallone got into an argument and nearly a physical fight at a party he held, which Princess Diana also attended.
"Straight away, Richard Gere and Diana seemed very taken with each other," John wrote. "She was separated from Prince Charles by this point, and Richard had just broken up with Cindy Crawford, and they ended up sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace together, locked in rapt conversation."
Later, John wrote, his now-husband David Furnish saw Gere and Stallone almost come to blows. The musician said he believed Stallone had shown up "with the express intention of picking Diana up, only to find his plans for the evening unexpectedly ruined." John said he and Funish showed Stallone to the door, while he said, "I never would have come … if I'd known Prince [expletive] Charming was gonna be here … If I'd wanted her, I would've taken her!"
Stallone denied the story when a fan asked about it on his Instagram. "Total BS for him to sell books," Stallone said of John's claim, as reported by Us Weekly. "Total rubbish."
They also reportedly faced off regarding Gere's ex-wife.
In December 1994, after three years of marriage, Gere and Crawford split up. Entertainment Weekly reported that just prior to the news of their separation becoming public, Gere accused Stallone of hitting on Crawford. The Rambo star said, "It was the most bizarre thing I've ever experienced."
Crawford told U.K. publication The People in 1998, "It was after Richard and I split up. Stallone may have said something to provoke Richard."
And then there's the gerbil rumor…
A completely unsubstantiated rumor that Gere once had a gerbil stuck inside of his rectum and had to go to the hospital to have it removed began circulating decades ago. According to Snopes, this is an urban legend that has existed outside of its connection to the actor.
In 2008, Gere told Metro, "I stopped reading the press a long time ago. Lots of crazy things came up about me at first, especially from the tabloids. There is an infamous 'Gere stuck a hamster up his bum' urban myth."
Proving just how long their feud has persisted, Stallone told Ain't It Cool News that he thinks Gere believes he started it. "He even thinks I'm the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor," the actor said. "Not true… but that's the rumor."
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