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Sly's Many Faces In 'Spy Kids'

CAROUSEL - Russia's Anastasia Davydova and Svetlana Romashina dive on their way to win the gold medal of the duet technical synchronized swimming event, at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Rome, Tuesday, July 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Sylvester Stallone is known for his heroic characters, like Rocky and Rambo, but in his new film "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over," Stallone gets to show a different side. In fact, he gets to show many different sides.

Stallone plays an over-the-top villain named "The Toymaker" - a computer mastermind and inventor with multiple personalities. Actors who do kids' movies often say they do it so their own kids can watch them on the big screen, but Stallone tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler it was a movie he did for his own pleasure. In it, Stallone had to deal with five different personalities.

"I did it for me, solely, my inner weird child. At first I thought they were making a big mistake. And then I went to my children; I said, 'What do you think about toy kids? They started flipping out. 'Oh my God, the messiah. You're doing something that will last, finally.'"

Forget "Rambo." The Toymaker is the hero in his kids' eyes. Stallone says, "It's such a different generation. The game is the thing now. Pretty soon, it's going to be an educational toy. Instead of going to college, jam your head into this - you'll get four years of education in one game. I think it's going to be an amazing learning tool some day."

As the Toymaker, Stallone explains he can't take over the world but he can control the minds of the kids.

"He creates a game where once the child begins to play, he has their conscience. And then the parents can't get the child back until the Toymaker releases the mind," Stallone says.

A new experience for him was also acting almost entirely in front of a green screen. "It was sort of like being submerged in endless photosynthesis," he jokes, "or in my grandmother's old shag carpet. But it was all so high-tech and imaginative, I sometimes felt I was in the middle of a dream."

It was a performance that pleased writer-director Robert Rodriguez. "Stallone really went wild in the part of the Toymaker and we had a blast," he says. "He never left the set. Every day, he was a different character. We'd shoot all the footage for that character, wrap that character, and start a new one the next morning. It was demanding and thrilling."

Next for Stallone? "Rocky VI," which he just finished writing. He says, "I'm really looking forward to it. People are skeptical about it. That's what the whole premise is. People are skeptical of anyone who reaches a certain age and who wants to continue being competitive. So we use boxing as a metaphor. Then I'm working on a script called 'Thugs Lives.' It's really interesting, dealing with the hip-hop world and the Ramparts problem in L.A."

About Sylvester Stallone

  • Born on July 6, 1946, in a New York City charity ward; forceps delivery severed nerve in Stallone's face, paralyzing one side of his lip, chin and tongue so that he grew up with a lopsided appearance and indistinct speech.
  • By age 15, he had attended some 12 different schools because of behavioral difficulties. Briefly attended beauty school to follow in his father's wake, but discovered he lacked the talent for hairdressing.
  • Attended American College of Switzerland in Switzerland (1963-66 (end date approximate). Won athletic scholarship; also taught girls' physical education. Also attended the University of Miami in Miami, Fla., where he majored in drama (1967-69) but did not graduate. Discouraged from pursuing acting by teachers, he dropped out to move to New York City.
  • While in New York, he worked as usher at Walter Reade Theater and wrote screenplays; also swept out Bronx Zoo lion cages and wrote early drafts of what would become "Rocky."
  • Wrote a biographical drama about Edgar Allen Poe, which many who have read it claim is one of the great un-produced scripts in Hollywood.
  • In 1971, made his first film appearance in soft-core porn film, "A Party at Kitty & Stud's." Also entered mainstream film with bit part as a mugger in Woody Allen's "Bananas."
  • In 1973, he played first major role in "Rebel." The following year he had his first feature film in a leading role, "The Lords of Flatbush;" and moved to Los Angeles.
  • In 1976, he made his screenwriting debut, "Rocky," in which he also starred and earned Oscar nominations as Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.
  • In 1978, he made his directorial debut, "Paradise Alley;" also scripted; later turned screenplay into a novel.
  • In 1979, he wrote, directed and acted in "Rocky II."
  • In 1981, he co-starred in the John Huston-directed "Escape to Victory."
  • In 1982, he reprised his signature role in "Rocky III," which he also wrote and directed. And first played character of John Rambo in "First Blood."
  • In 1983, produced his first feature, "Staying Alive"; also directed and contributed to screenplay. The following year, he starred opposite Dolly Parton in "Rhinestone."
  • In 1985, he got his first executive producer credit for TV's "Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story." And directed, wrote and starred in "Rocky IV."
  • In 1988, again played other signature role in "Rambo III;" for which he also wrote the script.
  • In 1990, re-teamed with original director John V Avildsen for the fourth sequel "Rocky V;" also starred and wrote the script.
  • In 1991, opened Planet Hollywood Restaurant in New York, co-owned with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.
  • In 1993, made his first film with Renny Harlin, "Cliffhanger;" and rewrote the script.
  • In 1997, delivered a change-of-pace turn as a partially deaf New Jersey sheriff in the independent film "Cop Land."
  • In 1998, Stallone provided a character voice for Weaver, the soldier ant buddy of Woody Allen's Z in the animated feature "Antz."
  • In 2000, he had title role in the remake of "Get Carter." And teamed onscreen with Burt Reynolds in "Driven," directed by Renny Harlin.
  • In 2003, he signed to write "Rocky VI" and reprise his role as Rocky Balboa. Reportedly, he is running a youth center when he is lured out of retirement for one last fight.