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Sylvester Stallone had a lot to prove to many when he made Rocky. In addition to proving to producers that he was a viable lead for the film, he also had to prove himself to his own co-stars. Veteran actor Carl Weathers, for instance, admitted he was less than impressed with Stallone’s acting when they first met.

Carl Weathers originally wasn’t wanted for Apollo Creed

Carl Weathers sitting down smiling in a black suit.
Carl Weathers | Jesse Grant/Getty Images

It might be difficult for some to picture anyone other than Carl Weathers in the role of Apollo Creed. But the actor wasn’t the studio’s first choice to play the character. In fact, Weathers revealed that he wasn’t the studio’s choice at all.

“One would think when you do something that successful, you would think, ‘Oh, man, they must’ve really wanted him, he was that good in that,’” Weathers confided on The Rich Eisen Show. “Nope. They didn’t want me. They didn’t want anything to do with me because I was nobody.”

At the time, Weathers revealed that he was just a fairly new actor trying to make a career for himself. When Weathers’ agents got him the script for Rocky, the actor was told that producers didn’t really want to meet him.

After much hassling and begging, however, Weathers was eventually able to read for the part. But the audition didn’t go quite as Weathers planned.

How Carl Weathers told Sylvester Stallone he wasn’t a good actor to his face

Carl Weathers eventually found himself reading the script with Rocky star alongside Sylvester Stallone himself. But Stallone was also virtually unknown at the time. So when Weathers was introduced to his future co-star, he didn’t know he was auditioning with the lead.

“I was introduced to him [Sylvester Stallone], the writer,” Weathers revealed. “He comes into the room, out of some vestibule somewhere, and he sits down. They introduce, ‘Well, this is the writer of the screenplay.’ So I’m reading with him.”

Weathers and Stallone would later start rehearsing lines from the script, with the former doing everything he can to secure Apollo.

“I’m standing up, I’m chomping at the bit,” he recalled. “I’ve got all this energy going. And at the end of it, the reading, it’s like, quiet. It’s like crickets, man.”

Because of the silent reaction, Weathers thought he’d left a negative impression and lost the role. Weathers would then prematurely blame Stallone for his performance.

“I’m really nervous because I think I blew the interview and blew the audition. So I chirp out, ‘You know, if you get me a real actor I could do a lot better,’” Weathers remembered. “And Stallone looks up at me like, ‘This idiot, who’s he? Who does he think he is?’”

But Weathers believes that outburst might have further helped him clinch the part.

“As far as I know, as far as I’ve heard, one thing Sly always said was, ‘He was so arrogant, I knew he could do the role,’” Weathers recalled. “But I wasn’t being arrogant, I was being nervous, man. I wanted the role!”

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When Creed came out, Weathers had his own thoughts about the series.

Although he wasn’t featured in the movie, Weathers still felt he was a part of Michael B. Jordan’s sports drama.

“With this movie, I am close to it without being close to it at all,” Weathers told The Hollywood Reporter.

However, he didn’t look at it as a sequel to the Rocky films that he was once an integral part of.

“I don’t think I would call it a sequel,” Weathers confided. “In my mind, it is its own entity. I think it stands on its own.”