Hollywood is exciting for many reasons, including sounded rivalries that have existed between the stars since cinema is cinema. And not only in the Seventh Art, but in the entertainment industry in general. Long hours of work, personal incompatibilities and big egos come into play when creating enmities that end up coming to light, making headlines and providing scandalous stories to satisfy our most morbid side.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford or the sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine in the Golden Hollywood, Elton John and Madonna or Taylor Swift vs Katy Perry in the world of music, and more recently Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson against Vin Diesel in the saga Fast & Furious would be some examples. But maybe one of the rivalries with a more surprising origin is that of Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere. This is the story of a confrontation that started with a most insignificant detail and ended up lasting decades.
It all begins in the early 70s. Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone were two young aspiring stars trying to make their way into Hollywood. The two coincided in the filming of the 1974 film Happy Days (The Lords of Flatbush), directed by Martin Davidson and Stephen Verona, a drama about four rebellious boys who become criminals. Stallone played one of the boys in the band, Stanley Rosiello, while Gere had gotten the role of another of them, Chico Tyrell. But an intense incident on the set that enraged the former resulted in the fatal firing of the latter. What happened so that both actors fought and never got to reconcile?
Many know that Stallone and Gere have been enemies for almost five decadesBut the specific details of the event did not come to light for a long time. It was Stallone who told the story with hair and signs in 2006 during an interview for Ain’t It Cool. The actor of Rocky and Rambo He explained step by step how the rivalry between them originated, and the reason could not be more trivial. This is his version of what happened, well loaded with resentment towards his former co-star:
“[Richard Gere] he strutted in his oversized biker jacket like he was the meanest gentleman at the round table. One day during a jam session, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and it got a little out of hand. I kindly told him to calm down, but he was totally into character and impossible to deal with. Later we were rehearsing in Coney Island ” reports.
“Lunchtime came so we decided to take a break and the only place where it wasn’t cold was the back seat of a Toyota. I was eating a hot dog and he came up with half a chicken covered in mustard and fat almost overflowing from the aluminum foil. I said, ‘That’s going to drip all over the car.’ He replied, ‘Don’t worry,’ and I said, ‘If it falls on my pants, you’ll find out.’ Then he took a bite of the chicken and a little river of greasy mustard fell on my thigh. I elbowed him in the head and basically pushed him out of the car”.
This fascinating story, which Stallone related as if every second had been burned into his memory, is surprising, and I would dare to say that something ridiculous, origin of the brawl between the actors. According to Stallone, after what happened, the directors had to make the decision to keep one of them and fire the other, as they could not bear to work together. And the chosen one was Gere, being replaced by Perry King. As a result, Stallone ensures that “Since then, he really doesn’t like me”.
From Stallone’s words, which denotes quite a bit of resentment when talking about Gere’s attitude on the set of the film, it seems that the mustard stain was rather the last straw for him, since it is quite clear that from the beginning the actors did not get along and had already collided before. From the mustard-gate, each went their separate ways and both managed to succeed in Hollywood, becoming two of the most popular movie stars of the 80s and 90s. But the story does not end there. In fact, it becomes more surreal.
They surely know the Crazy rumor that spread years ago about Richard Gere and a hamster. Urban legend says that Gere had to be admitted to the emergency room after inserting the live animal into his rectum and had to undergo surgery to remove it already dead. This crazy story became so famous that it ended up being part of popular culture, inspiring references in series and movies, including the horror hit of the 90s, Scream. As well, according to conspiracy theories, it was Stallone himself who spread the rumor to ruin his reputation (Uproxx).
Of course, Gere does not usually talk about the subject, neither about Stallone nor about the hamster, so we do not have much information about his version of events. Although he has once referenced the rumor explaining that he stopped reading the tabloids a long time ago, he never went so far as to point to his former partner in law. Happy Days as a suspect. Of course, according to Stallone, Gere does believe that it was he who gave rise to the rugged story: “He even thinks I’m the individual responsible for the hamster rumor. It’s not true … but that’s the rumor ” (CinemaBlend).
To this day, Stallone and Gere haven’t made peace, and it doesn’t look like they’re very interested in making it up. Their careers took off shortly after Happy Days And Gere’s firing didn’t specifically affect his future in Hollywood. Stallone became one of the biggest action movie stars of all time thanks to the sagas Rocky and Rambo, and more recently The mercenaries, while Gere established himself as one of the greatest film stars of the 80s and 90s with Pretty Woman, American Gigolo and Officer and gentleman, among others, in addition to winning the Golden Globe later for his performance in the musical Chicago.
The history of their feud goes back to a simple mustard stain and spans more than forty years, proving that at its core, Hollywood is nothing more than an oversized high school playground. We may never know all the details, but at least there is plenty of material for Ryan Murphy to consider making a Feud: Stallone vs Gere. Let’s start the casting.
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Sources: CinemaBlend, Uproxx, Ain’t it Cool
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The story of the fight between Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone