Ageing raging bulls

Ageing raging bulls
Cinema Still: Grudge Match, starring Sylvester Stallone.

NEW YORK- If you were going to make a movie about ageing boxers, you would probably want Robert De Niro or Sylvester Stallone in it.

After all, both men have starred in iconic boxing films - De Niro with his Best Actor Oscar-winning turn in Raging Bull in 1980, and Stallone as the scrappy fighter in the Rocky franchise from 1976 to 2006.

Now 70 and 67 years old, respectively, they would not have to fake the "ageing" part, either.

Yet their vastly different acting resumes made it rather unlikely that they would ever share a screen. Stallone's oeuvre has been populated by mumbling action heroes, while De Niro is considered one of the finest dramatic talents of his generation after electrifying performances in such films as The Godfather Part II (1974) - which won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar - Taxi Driver (1976) and The Deer Hunter (1978).

It took a comedy, Grudge Match, to finally bring them together. Directed by Peter Segal (50 First Dates, 2004) and opening in Singapore next week, it sees the pair play bitter sparring rivals who return to the ring to settle a 30-year-old score.

Speaking to reporters at a press event in New York this month, Stallone and De Niro tell Life! they can relate to the fact that both their characters are underdogs - and repeatedly mocked for being over the hill.

A lot of actors feel like the odds are against them, says Stallone, who notes that even the successful ones sometimes have a chip on their shoulder.

"Sure you feel like an underdog. Because when you're establishing yourself and trying to get a job and going against the studios, it's a big mountain to climb.

"And I don't know if you ever really get over it. It's kind of like if you didn't have a lot of money - no matter how rich you are, you still feel like, 'I could go broke tomorrow'."

Sitting next to him, De Niro nods.

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