Sylvester Stallone is in Philly this week shooting scenes for Creed 2. The eighth installment in the Rocky franchise, due out this November, is said to be the series finale, and Stallone has been indulging in nostalgia.
He’s paid visits to the home of the turtles Cuff and Link, who appeared in the first film, stopped statue of the fictional boxer’s likeness at Eakins Oval, and taken a break for some good reminiscing on the Rocky Steps in Kensington.
Wait. Rocky Steps…in North Philly?
Apparently so. When Sly sat down outside 1818 E. Tusculum St. — the house where Balboa lived in the original movie — he referred to the stoop with a familiar expression.
“I don’t know how many times I’m gonna get a chance to visit this place,” Stallone said in a video posted to Instagram, “so it may be just the last time I sit here on the Rocky Steps.”
That’s certainly not usually the location implied by the phrase, as almost all tourists know. The more common reference for “Rocky Steps” is the grand staircase leading up to the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The name is so commonly used for that stepped plaza — which figured into Rocky’s famous training run through the city — that it has its own Wikipedia entry, its own Yelp page, its own section in official visitor guides and it figures into an untold number of running guides and news stories about the iconic structure.
No doubt the steps are iconic. When starchitect Frank Gehry announced plans to cut a hole in the middle of them, people freaked out. Some Philadelphians dislike the Hollywood-inspired name, arguing that it’s silly for our city to align so much of its identity with a fictional character.
Stallone doesn’t seem to have any such qualms, since he’s posed on the Art Museum steps numerous times.
But the small Kensington rowhome to which he’s assigned the moniker may hold an even bigger place in his heart.
“A lot of memories went down here,” he said in the video from Tuesday. “I remember when I did the scene with Adrian here and I said, ‘Look at this face. This is a face you can trust. Some day they’re gonna put this face on a stamp.’”
Sly also doesn’t seem ready for the franchise to be over.
“Some things come to an end, some things don’t,” he said. “There’s just no end to Rocky. Keep punching.”