It was revealed in June that Stallone would no longer reprise his iconic role as Rocky Balboa in the ninth instalment of the Rocky franchise.
In earlier interviews, Stallone had said he “bowed out” of Creed III because he “didn’t know if there was any part” for him.
Now, in his recent cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, the 76-year-old actor further opened up about his decision to leave the movie.
“That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been. It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it,” Stallone admitted.
“It’s a different philosophy – Irwin Winkler’s and Michael B Jordan’s. I wish them well, but I’m much more of a sentimentalist. I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don’t want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness.”
Stallone made headlines in July for a now-deleted critical Instagram post aimed at Winkler, producer for the Rocky and Creed franchises, and his son David Winkler, who is also a producer on the Creed films.
“It was a deal that was done unbeknownst to me by people that I thought were close to me and they basically gave away whatever rights I would have had. At the time I was so excited to be working and I didn’t understand this is a business,” he told THR.
“Who knew Rocky would go on for another 45 years? I’ve never used one [line of dialogue] from anyone else – and the irony is that I don’t own any of it. The people who have done literally nothing control it.”
He explained that “they wanted to make another Rocky” and while he was “willing to do it” he said he was denied “a piece of what I created all these years ago”.
“I didn’t expect to get – yeah, forget that. [The producers] still get a piece. I don’t want anyone to control it. If I write it and the studio agrees to do it, it’s done. You can’t [make a Rocky sequel] just because you want your children to have a job,” Stallone added.
“Or if you don’t get more money, that you can block it. The other producer, Bob Chartoff, was always very nice. Winkler was just the opposite.”
The Independent has reached out to Winkler’s representative for comment.
Creed III will mark Jordan’s directorial debut as he takes over from previous Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018) directors Ryan Coogler and Steven Caple Jr.
The film will pick up from its 2018 predecessor and will follow boxer Adonis Creed (Jordan), who was trained and mentored by Stallone’s Rocky.
Creed III is scheduled to release in cinemas on 3 March 2023.