Sage Stallone insists nepotism didn't play any part in his being cast as Rocky Balboa Jr. in "Rocky V," father Sylvester's latest round in the saga of the Philadelphia boxer.
"I went up to the director's (John Avildsen) house and he put me in front of the camera," says 14-year-old Sage, who was born during the filming of the first "Rocky."
"He said he had 10 kids over before me. He put a video camera in front of my face and I said my lines. I guess I was the most natural person there."
Before "Rocky V," Sage had done several commercials for Japanese TV and had been attending acting classes for a year. His father, though, gave him the best acting advice: "He just said, 'Try your best, go over your lines as much as you can and act as natural as you can.' I felt a lot more comfortable doing the movie with him."
Stallone asked Sage to play Rocky Jr. five years ago in "Rocky IV," but Sage turned him down. "I went over the script with my mother (Sasha Stallone)," he says, "but I think I was too young and really wasn't into it at the time."
The eighth-grader hopes "Rocky V" won't change his lifestyle. "I hope that not everyone comes up to me, because I love going out with my friends. I am always shopping in a mall or whatever. I wouldn't enjoy people coming up to me full-time, because I like having my freedom."
Sage will continue acting, but he also wants to direct. "I would love to go to film school. I have got this little production company kind of thing going with my friend. We just go around and do films on, like, trends and different styles and stuff like that."
And whenever he gets the chance, Sage hits the slopes. "Next to filmmaking and stuff like that, skiing is my favorite thing. I go skiing in Aspen--everywhere. I have been skiing since I was 4. I just love it. I feel so free."