Sylvester Stallone is parting with memorabilia from the "Rocky" and "Rambo" movies, but he's keeping the two characters alive onscreen.
The 69-year-old entertainer announced Thursday that he'll put hundreds of props and costumes from his 40-year career up for auction in October, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting military charities. Some of the items Stallone has agreed to sell include Rambo's Army jacket and Rocky's gloves, robe and boxing trunks.
Stallone isn't saying goodbye to the characters. Instead, he's set to become Rocky Balboa again onscreen in "Creed" this fall and is working on another "Rambo" installment.
Stallone said today's fascination with cinematic superheroes leaves little room for the "lone wolf" or "man against the odds" characters he likes to play.
"That's kind of why I'm still around, because I embrace that and it's become kind of a rarity and there's not many of us left," he said in a recent interview. "Will that come around again? I don't think so. Not in its purest form... So I embrace it and that's why I want to continue to do it until my body explodes."
First up is "Creed," by writer-director Ryan Coogler. Stallone is Rocky, but this time he's coach to a young star boxer played by Michael B. Jordan.
"By no means is this a 'Rocky 7,'" Stallone said. "This is a journey for Michael B. Jordan, who is brilliant in the movie, and Ryan Coogler, (for whom) this is a very personal film."
When Coogler first approached Stallone about the film, he declined, saying he felt Rocky had "run his course."
After making "Fruitvale Station," the filmmaker returned to discuss the role again.
"I've never seen someone who was so persistent," Stallone said. He ought to know, after holding out to play the titular character in his breakthrough script, "Rocky," back in 1976. Stallone earned Oscar nominations for his screenplay and lead performance, and the film won the best picture prize.
At work now on a screenplay for a new "Rambo" film, Stallone admitted, "It really is not fun."
He still thinks the character is compelling — "Where Rocky is the height of optimism, this guy is the height of pessimism," he said — but finds writing more challenging than any other artistic discipline.
"I'm torn because the last one was so satisfying and hit all the buttons," he said. "The idea is: How do you top that? Or do you try to top that?"
Then there's the issue of a potential adversary.
"Rambo has shot just about everybody. There's no one left," Stallone said. "We're down to Eskimos. And penguins."
While fans are waiting for the new films, they can bid on pieces of Rocky's and Rambo's past when Heritage Auctions moderates the Stallone sale on Oct. 14 and 15. Other items available include Rambo's knife and Rocky's Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
"I saw the John Wayne auction and I thought it would have been so much more effective if John Wayne had still been alive so he could explain to his fans what some of his pieces meant to him," Stallone said. "I'm not that young, but still aware enough to appreciate the people that will appreciate owning (these items)."
He plans to use some of the auction proceeds to demonstrate his appreciation to those who have inspired his most popular characters by supporting military charities.
"I think my image and what I've played throughout my career has been very American and very military-oriented and also police-oriented," Stallone said. "It basically is something that has bolstered my career so I thought I'd like to pay back the real people that have supplied the inspiration for the characters I've played."