Five things you didn't know about Sylvester Stallone's career

Artist, screenwriter, porn star? There's so much to Stallone we just didn't know.

Jason Statham thriller 'Homefront' came and went to cinemas last week, but one name you won't have seen on the poster is Sylvester Stallone. The Italian Stallion wrote the screenplay for 'Homefront', you see, intending to star in it himself but ultimately opting out and passing the role to his 'Expendables' buddy Statham.

[Jason Statham: I could never replace Stallone]

Stallone's screenwriting is an often overlooked facet of his career, so we decided to see what else the veiny action star had on his resumé that we might have missed.

He started out in porn
Before 'The Expendables', before 'Rambo', before 'Rocky', Sylvester Stallone was just a struggling actor, and like a lot of struggling actors, he crossed paths with the world of soft porn. Stallone's movie debut was in a softcore grot flick called 'The Party At Kitty And Stud's' – the 23-year-old didn't partake in any rumpy-pumpy but he did appear nude for his $200 fee. The movie was later re-released as 'Italian Stallion' after Stallone found fame as Rocky. Things didn't get much better in the meantime: his fee for starring in grammatically dubious teen movie 'The Lord's Of Flatbush' was 25 t-shirts.

He's a talented musician. Or rather, he's a musician
It's a commonly known fact that Stallone can break your neck with his enormous biceps, but did you know he can also break your heart with his beautiful singing voice? Okay, we're making fun, but Sly didn't shy from flexing his tonsils early on in his career, crooning the title track from 1978's 'Paradise Alley' with a vocal reminiscent of Vic Reeves singing in the "club style". Then, of course, there was Sly's singing performance in 'Rhinestone' opposite Dolly Parton, a screen partnership forged in the bowels of Hell. If you don't believe me, search 'Drinkinstein' on YouTube and then come back to apologise.

He started the feud with Arnie... with flowers
Stallone vs Schwarzenegger was an action movie feud that raged for decades, only cooling recently once both men realised they were too old to hold grudges. Sly and Arnie took cheap shots at one another in their movies, but the animosity between the two really lies at Stallone's doorstep.

[10 Actors who didn't bother with accents]

Way back in 1977 at the Golden Globes, Stallone – high on a whiff of stardom – celebrated 'Rocky's' win for Best Picture by throwing the flowers from his table into the air, only to see them land on the lap of his tablemate, Best Newcomer nominee Arnold Schwarzenegger. Close-up on Arnie, fuming, secretly formulating a plan for superstardom and world domination...

He's a talented artist. Or rather... y'know
Sly made his career punching people in the face, but he's a sensitive soul really – in fact, Stallone has said that if he had the choice, he would have spent his life drawing instead of acting. In October last year, a collection of Stallone's paintings were exhibited in The Russian Museum in St Petersburg, bringing together Sly's doodlings and noodlings of four decades. Stallone had actually studied art before he opted for a career in film so there is precedence for his creativity on the canvas: "I think I'm a much better painter than an actor," he says. Insert your own punchline here.

He's turned down just as many classic roles as he's accepted
Sylvester Stallone is just about as famous as it's possible for an actor to be, but that's not to say if he'd played his cards right and been more choosy with his roles, he couldn't have been one of the best. For every Rocky and Rambo, there's a role he turned down that went on to storm it at the box-office. Chief faux pas was turning down John McClane and 'Die Hard' (making Bruce Willis famous and thereby cutting his own eventual shares in Planet Hollywood as a result) but Sly also passed on 'Coming Home' (a role that won Jon Voight an Oscar), 'Beverly Hills Cop' (which made Eddie Murphy a household name), 'Romancing The Stone' and 'Basic Instinct'. Oh, and then there's the small matter of turning down the three roles that subsequently made Richard Gere a superstar: 'American Gigolo', 'An Officer And A Gentleman' and 'Pretty Woman'. You're welcome, Ricky.

Check out Sly's real thoughts on Arnie below, revealing his 'violent hatred' of the star to Letterman.