...So what is the Stallone Surprise, the project he's always wanted to write or direct?
For years Stallone's wanted to create an epic, and the book that intrigues him is Franz Werfel's "The Forty Days of Musa Dagh," detailing the Turkish genocide of its Armenian community in 1915. (After futile attempts to turn the novel into a movie, filmmakers finally succeeded in 1982, but it was a low-profile production.)
French ships eventually rescued some Armenians, and Stallone has his favorite scene memorized: "The French ships come, and they've dropped the ladders and everybody has climbed up the side. The ships sail. The hero, the one who set up the rescue, has fallen asleep, exhausted, behind a rock on the slope above. The camera pulls back, and the ships and the sea are on one side, and there's one lonely figure at the top of the mountain, and the Turks are coming up the mountain by the thousands on the far side."
A pretty great shot.
The movie would be "an epic about the complete destruction of a civilization," Stallone said. Then he laughed at the ambition. "Talk about a political hot potato. The Turks have been killing that subject for 85 years."
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