Sylvester Stallone appeared on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Friday to promote the latest film in the Rocky franchise, “Creed.”
We wanted ask Stallone what he thought of plans to the museum to change the famous “Rocky Steps” as part of a Frank Gehry-designed expansion.
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Alas, this reporter could not get near him — two of his handlers blocked the path with outstretched arms and orders to “move back.”
But Rocky fans? They hate it — at least the ones that showed up at a press conference to catch a glimpse of the movie’s cast did.
“It’s a bad idea,” said Jim McAndrew, of Brookhaven.
The museum last year announced that it would dig a series of galleries under the large plaza at the top of the steps. Those galleries could include a large window cut in the middle of the steps, overlooking the Ben Franklin Parkway in a renovation planned by big-name architect Frank Gehry.
Gehry told Reuters thataltering the steps is not a done deal. But architectural models unveiled as part of the fundraising push to fund the renovation include the giant window.
“Why would they ruin the Rocky steps?” said Bob Creedon, of Turnersville, NJ, who said he was Stallone’s classmate at Notre Dame Academy — a private school on Rittenhouse Square that no longer there.
Rocky Balboa runs up those steps at the iconic end to the 1976 original film’s training montage, raising his arms over his head as he looks over the parkway. He does it again in Rocky II, and according to the blog TotalRocky.com the steps appear in every film except Rocky IV (Incidentally, Stallone lived in one of the high rise apartments, Park Towne Place, that is visible from the top of the steps.)
The steps rank as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Katie Wedeen, of Glen Rock, NJ, was vacationing in Philadelphia with her children Bernie and Rachel and husband Andy. She said her hotel gaveout maps for jogging routes, and the “Rocky Steps” are on them.
But not everyone hates the plans.
Former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, whose underdog status as a player earned him the nickname Rocky during the ‘76 season, said that as long as people can raise their arms at the top of the steps, then a little change couldn’t hurt.
“You still gotta be able to raise your hands,” Papale said.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art did not return a call for comment about the status of the renovations. They said last year that Gehry’s master plan could take 15 years to complete.
It appears that the steps will feature in “Creed” in which Stallone’s character plays the role of coach to Apollo Creed’s son, who is played by Michael B. Jordan. News outlets caught pictures of Stallone and Jordan at the top of the steps during filming.
The movie will be released Nov. 25.