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Sylvester Stallone was once one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s idols. Even back before Van Damme became a superstar, the future action hero couldn’t help but look up to the icon. So much so that Van Damme broke into Stallone’s house just to introduce himself to the actor. But Van Damme quickly learned the break-in wasn’t a good idea.

Jean-Claude Van Damme snuck into Sylvester Stallone’s house to meet him

Jean Claude Van Damme posing with Sylvester Stallone.
Jean Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Before he became one of Hollywood’s biggest martial arts action stars, Van Damme was just trying to get his foot in the industry. One of the ways he tried to break into Hollywood was by breaking into Stallone’s home. His plan was to meet his idol personally and convince the Rocky star to collaborate with him.

“I was around his house, and I see this blonde lady — it was his first wife [Sasha Czack] — coming out with a bicycle,” Van Damme recalled to Yahoo.

Upon noticing this, Van Damme seized the opportunity.

“I was trying to go above his wall. … [Czack] saw that, she called the cops. They came right away. But I [said], ‘I’m a big fan. I just want to do karate with Stallone.’ They [heard] the accent, they saw in my eyes I was innocent. They said, ‘Move on,’” he continued.

Van Damme would later finally be able to collaborate with his hero in The Expendables 2. But not after making a bad impression on Stallone.

“At that time I wanted to make one more martial arts movie called Tower,” Van Damme explained. “[Stallone] called me and I heard his voice and Expendables. I said, ‘But I’ve got something for you! This movie Tower.’ So he’s calling me to ask me to be in Expendables, and I’m asking Stallone to be in my movie. So he called the producers. ‘This guy’s whacked, you know.’ So I made a mistake, I guess. So he didn’t talk to me.”

Fortunately, he and Stallone were able to reach a compromise, which paved the way for them to team up.

Jean-Claude Van Damme wanted to change ‘The Expendables 2’ script, but was afraid to tell Sylvester Stallone

After Van Damme’s initiation into The Expandables, there were some areas of the movie he felt needed to change. Particularly, how his final fight was handled.

“When I read the script, the final fight was me running away from him, jumping into a helicopter and taking off and then he came (sic) in the warehouse with a chain and throws it into the propeller and the helicopter is going up, but it’s chained,” Van Damme told WENN (via Hollywood) “We start fighting in the helicopter, break the cockpit, the helicopter falls down and touches his leg and he’s kind of stuck. Then I took (sic) a knife and escape and there’s a big circle of fire and this lady is trying to shoot me. I didn’t like it.”

However, Van Damme was very hesitant in telling Stallone his opinions on the film. So he wrote the Rambo actor a letter instead. But when he went to personally hand Stallone the note, Van Damme realized he’d lost it. So he had to tell Stallone his opinion of the fight sequence to his face.

“He says, ‘Sit down,’ and I go, ‘Oh f*** it, I’m gonna tell him how I feel.’ I say, ‘Stallone, I think people want to see Muhammad Ali against Frasier. It’s a metaphor. Look at your arms, you’re strong. We need to do a fight. I need to give you myself to punch and kick the s*** out of me. And hopefully, I will do some damage to you,” Van Damme recalled. “He said, ‘I tell you what. Go and design the fight!’ Later I look all over the place for the letter; it was stuck to my pocket!”

Sylvester Stallone once claimed Jean-Claude Van Damme didn’t star in ‘The Expendables’ because of Jet Li


Why Sylvester Stallone Once Felt ‘Trapped’ by His ‘Rocky’ Character

Van Damme may have starred in the Expendables sequel, but he originally turned down the role for the first film. According to Stallone, that was because Van Damme didn’t want to lose a fight to another action star in Jet Li.

“I wanted to set Jean-Claude against Jet Li, but he didn’t want to lose to Jet,” Stallone said in an interview with Ace Showbiz. “He didn’t think that was cool. But that’s why it would be cool; to have Jean-Claude beaten by the other man. Hey, they could have a rematch. But Steven Seagal and Van Damme, they weren’t really into our gallows humor.”

But Van Damme gave another reason as to why he first turned down the offer.

“He was unable to tell what it’s going to be. [Stallone said:] ‘You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.’ [So I said:] ‘Sly, what is my character?’ So I didn’t do the movie,” Van Damme confided Total Film (via First Showing.)