‘Tulsa King’s Sylvester Stallone Opens Up About ‘Finally’ Landing a Mob Role

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by: Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images)

When Sylvester Stallone received an unexpected call from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan one afternoon, he had just one word to say: “Finally!” The award-winning director wasn’t calling to offer the action movie legend a role as a cowboy or pioneer. No, Sheridan and Yellowstone producer David Glasser had a far different idea in mind – Sylvester Stallone would be absolutely perfect for the leading role in Tulsa King, the mob drama they had dreamt up just days before.

At long last, the moment had finally come. Despite being one of the most celebrated tough guys in cinema history, Sylvester Stallone had never portrayed a mobster, a role he, too, felt that he would be perfect to play. His plight began all the way back in 1972 when Stallone auditioned as an extra for The Godfather but was denied.

“For some reason, gangsters have this aura, kind of like a cowboy or superhero,” the Tulsa King star told Fox News. “I don’t know why, but they do. And I’ve been left out every time! I remember going in to audition for The Godfather as an extra, one of 250 people at the wedding.”

“They said I don’t look Italian enough,” he continued. “Thirty-five years later, I hired that person, and I reminded them every day how Italian I am.”

Sylvester Stallone Gushes About His ‘Tulsa King’ Role

For Sylvester Stallone, playing Dwight “The General” Manfredi in Tulsa King was a lifelong dream come true. The crime drama is set to premiere tomorrow, November 13, but it can’t come soon enough for its starring actor, as he’s already a major fan of the show.

During his chat with Fox News, Stallone raved about the show and his character, explaining that “The General” isn’t quite as tough as his name and position suggest. “What it is, and it wasn’t in the original script, but eventually with [Sopranos producer] Terry Winter, we put in some aspects of it,” Stallone said. “He goes to prison because he keeps his mouth shut for a crime, we’ll find out, he didn’t even do. And he’s expecting some reward for being so loyal.”

“His reward is exile to Tulsa,” Stallone continued with a chuckle. “And I get there, and this is where the audience [can relate]. There’s nothing worse than being thrown out, alone, completely abandoned, 76 years old… Do I go here to die, or do I fight back?”

“He starts to build a family, but it’s all misfits! I’ve got cowboys and Indians and nerds, you name it. But that becomes his new family, that’s what’s so interesting.”

Stallone then explained that, while he’s immensely happy with the show and his part in it, he never imagined filming a show would be so difficult. Until now, the actor has been a film star, making Tulsa King an unexpected challenge. “I didn’t realize, it’s quite different than movies,” he said. “It really is. It’s much harder…it’s a real grind. You enjoy doing it, but it’s a great deal of effort.”