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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK


Rocky planning ring comeback

MGM looking to tempt Sylvester Stallone back into the ring

Sylvester Stallone is in early talks to write, direct and star in a sixth instalment of the Rocky film franchise that propelled him to stardom.

Rocky VI is one of several movie projects Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer vice chairman Chris McGurk has mentioned as top priorities for the studio.

Other planned productions include a new Pink Panther movie, a remake of 1975's Rollerball, a Basic Instinct sequel and two new Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles.

[ image: Balboa ended up brain-damaged in Rocky IV]
Balboa ended up brain-damaged in Rocky IV
However, a spokeswoman for 53-year-old Stallone declined to comment on the Rocky VI rumours, which surfaced in the Hollywood Reporter entertainment trade paper.

The original Rocky movie, made in 1976, won three Academy Awards, including the Oscar for best picture.

Stallone, who became an overnight celebrity with the film's success, received acting and writing nominations.

It also paved the way for four more films in which Stallone portrayed the fictional boxing champion Rocky Balboa.

Stallone wrote the screenplays for all five films and directed three of them.

The budget for Rocky VI is expected to be a modest $30m. The original Oscar-winner was made for just $1.1m in 1976.

The staged fight scenes were often the main attraction in Stallone's rag-to-riches boxing saga, which also featured veteran Burgess Meredith as his trainer and Talia Shore as his girlfriend/wife.

The story so far

The original film began with boxer Rocky Balboa getting an unexpected shot at the world title when reigining champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) decides to fight a no-hoper.

[ image: The staged fight scenes were the main attraction]
The staged fight scenes were the main attraction
The first sequel in 1979 picked up where Rocky left off with both fighters in hospital after their bloody battle which was won by Creed.

There's a re-match in Rocky II and 1982's Rocky III sees Balboa defending his title against Clubber Lang (Mr T).

In 1985's Rocky IV, Balboa takes on Russian champion Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). The film also featured Stallone's future wife Brigitte Nielsen.

Rocky V rounded off the sequels in 1990. Balboa is forced to retire after having permanent damage inflicted on him in the ring by Drago, but decides to take on his young protégé Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison).

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