Stallone is a legend! There’s simply no question about that. As an actor, a humanitarian, a multiple Academy Award nominee, and now as a superhero! This week marks the release of Sly’s new film, Samaritan. And to celebrate, The Nerds of Color was given the opportunity to attend the press conference for the subversive take on the superhero genre, where we had the opportunity to learn more about the film from Stallone himself, along with co-stars Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones), Dascha Polanco (In The Heights), and Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton (The Umbrella Academy).
Here are five of the best fun facts we learned from the event:
1. Punches were filmed a lot slower in the film than how they look in the finished product
When asked about what it was like to film the action sequences for the film, Asbæk, who plays the film’s villain Cyrus, had this to say:
“I’m not an incredibly physical guy… I’m great at growling. But the physical work… when you’re punching on screen, you have to be slower on camera, and you have to be wider. And you have to punch through the face because you have to see it… If you punch the person so fast, you’re not able to see it. You have to see it in super-slow motion… it’s incredible! But the thing is, it’s movies. It’s fake. It’s not real. But the days where you blow up a house or building or car. Those are the cool days!”
2. Walton’s real life boxing experience helped with his own fight sequences
Walton, who plays Sam, a young boy who befriends Stallone’s character Joe, was asked about his own experiences as a real boxer, and how it compares to fights with Asbæk and Stallone in the film.
“It’s pretty similar. With both you have a little bit of an adrenaline rush. You want it to be perfect. But it’ll never be perfect. But you want to do the best you can do. But it’s that adrenaline rush that gets to you for both 100%. It’s a similar feeling for both boxing and acting. There’s similar ways you have to apply the same amount of work ethic. They’re both hard things to do on a very high level. And they both take a lot of skill.”
3. Polanco performed a lot of her own stunts
When asked about her favorite moments shooting the film, Polanco responded about the multitude of stunts she had to perform.
“I was able to perform a lot of my own stunts, and I take pride in that… especially the roof scene, where I have to battle these four men and save my son… There was a lot of intense action days where we were all on set, and with all the adversities going on in the world, we were still able to push through, and get the job done. And for me, the film, the heroism and resilience it took behind the scenes is almost like the thematic topic and point of the film. The resilience to believe and go forward.”
4. Stallone and the filmmakers took a great deal of pride in telling an original superhero story
Stallone was asked about the pressures and pleasures in creating a new superhero not based on a previously existing franchise or comic book.
“There has been a tremendous accomplishment by certain directors and certain companies, like Marvel or DC, that have really pushed the universe to the max… Everything you can possibly imagine has been created. I always feel there’s nothing quite as relatable as almost getting hit by a car or walking down a dark alley… that’s relatable. So what I’m trying to say (in my awkward way) is that we tried to make the events and the danger plausible and identifiable that can happen to you. It’s something that’s very tangible. It’s not from another universe. It’s right here on the street. So keep your guard up. It can happen. It’s like what I tell my daughter. Life today is one-strike baseball. There’s no three strikes. You gotta be looking all the time. And that’s what I tried to add to this. A sense of impending danger. But it’s real. Not way over the top. Just a little over the top.”
5. The movie really is about the duality of good and evil within everyone, and the vulnerability that exists within us all.
When asked about the themes of the film, and how his performance explored the tug of good and evil, Stallone said this:
“The tug of good and evil is something that is just internal. It’s the tug within us. We are so duplicitous. We can be the highest of angels or the lowest of devils in the same body if pushed into certain directions. It’s like, how were you raised? What are your ethics? What sets you off? What breaks your heart? I looked at [Walton’s character Sam] and go, ‘this is the future. But I don’t know if I want to belong to the future.’ And this kid just pulls me back and says, ‘stop being a coward, be who you are. Save me. Be my father.’ He’s a broken old man who’s going into obscurity. He finds broken objects in the trash which is symbolic of him. He’s trying to fix them. He can fix everything except himself. Along comes the young man, and he fixes me… This kid needs a father and he’s adopted me, and I have no choice. Then you see the hero aspect comes out when before I didn’t care about anybody.”
Samaritan hits Prime Video this Friday, August 26!