Greta Gerwig deconstructs the Rocky sequels while sharing her unabashed love for Sylvester Stallone

Greta Gerwig deconstructs the Rocky sequels while sharing her unabashed love for Sylvester Stallone

Barbie director Greta Gerwig expresses her love for Sylvester Stallone while revealing how the Rocky movies influenced her new film.

Barbie fever is sweeping the nation, and pink is steadily becoming the dominant color of 2023. After making over $100 million at the box office during its opening weekend, the film’s director, Greta Gerwig, is taking a victory lap, her excited steps likely fueled by the sound of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Why this song in particular? Gerwig is a Rocky fan, and as it turns out, Sylvester Stallone’s Italian Stallion played a role in how Ryan Gosling’s approach to playing Ken came to be.

Speaking with Uproxx about the monumental success of Barbie, being only the second woman to direct a movie that earned $100M+ at the box office during an opening weekend, and how Stallone represents her idea of a “real man,” Gerwig gushes about finding inspiration in an unexpected resource with the Rocky movies.

While waxing rhapsodic about notes she’d received from Mattel executives concerning the film’s characters, Gerwig told Uproxx she thinks Stallone will appreciate her new movie. Eager to profess her love for Stallone and his storied career, Gerwig explained how Stallone’s Rocky Balboa informed Ryan Gosling’s approach to playing Ken.

“I love Sylvester Stallone,” said Gerwig. “I love all those Rocky movies. I love him a lot. So it was a really early thing, actually. When Ryan Gosling and I were texting a lot, we kind of both stumbled upon our mutual love of Sly Stallone. And then we were talking about his look in the ’70s and how terrific it was. And he really adorned himself as a man. And we thought,“Well, that’s a good place to start.” I mean, there are just sort of fabulous images of him, particularly in the Rockys.”

After an attempt to steer the conversation in a new direction, Gerwig insisted on returning to Stallone, whose directing of John Travolta in Staying Alive she positively adores. “But another thing we were looking at was also, obviously, great song-and-dance man of the ’70s, John Travolta. And also Sly Stallone directing John Travolta in Staying Alive.”

Commenting on the progression of Stallone’s Rocky series, Gerwig tips her hat to the continuity of Rocky II and Rocky III, saying, “Oh, oh … when it goes from Rocky to Rocky II, and they’re sort of figuring out sequels? And the idea that Rocky II just starts immediately where Rocky ends is so amazing.” Then, speaking about the move from Rocky to Rocky II, Gerwig exclaims, “Yes! Immediately! And then they cut to the ambulance and we’re watching the ambulance go through, there’s another … I’m going to forget what it was, but they passed by a movie marquee that has another Stallone movie on it.”

During the spirited Uproxx interview, Gerwig comments on her love for a great training montage and how Rocky IV excels in encapsulating Rocky’s hard work leading up to his fight with Ivan Drago. She then jokes that if she makes another Barbie movie, it’ll start with Barbie and Sylvester Stallone, saying it would be an honor to work with him.

Before exiting the interview, Gerwig tells a story about her husband and film partner, Noah Baumbach, attending screenings of the Rocky franchise while living in Philidelphia.

“Because Noah grew up in Brooklyn, he saw all the Rocky movies in the theater at the time. I think it was Rocky’s III. But whatever it was, it was the moment where Adrian was like, “No, Rocky, don’t fight. Don’t do it.” And then Noah said it was his favorite audience participation moment. Some guy just stood up in front of him and just yelled at the scream, “F*ck you, Adrian. F*ck you.”

Knowing Stallone’s Rocky franchise directly influences Greta Gerwig’s  Barbie makes me want to see the movie even more. Did you notice any references to Stallone’s Italian Stallion when you watched the film this past weekend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Barbie is playing in theaters now!