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Sylvester Stallone Explains How Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis Inspired His Role In Tulsa King

Few people have done as much in Hollywood as Sylvester Stallone, who's tried out a host of different roles throughout his decades in entertainment. From the boxing underdog Rocky Balboa to the war hero John Rambo, and even the superhero Samaritan, as the years have gone on, there's been less and less new stuff for him to explore at the movies. Thankfully, television — a frontier Stallone has hardly delved into — has offered him the chance to try out something new via Taylor Sheridan and Terence Winter's Paramount+ effort, "Tulsa King."

On "Tulsa King," Stallone stars as Dwight "The General" Manfredi: a Mafia leader who's been in prison for the past 25 years. Now a free man, he's sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to try and set up a new branch of his criminal enterprise. This endeavor leads him to make alliances with folks he's never met and, therefore, folks he's not entirely sure he can trust. In addition to this serving as Stallone's scripted television debut, the role of a high-ranking Mafia member is also relatively new territory for the seasoned actor. Nevertheless, he's putting his best foot forward.

To prepare for "Tulsa King," Sylvester Stallone looked to author Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" — a book about salesman Gregor Samsa, who's mysteriously turned into a giant bug overnight – for inspiration. Here's why he used this strange literary classic as a guide.

Stallone wanted to portray a different kind of gangster

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sylvester Stallone touched on a range of topics, including "Tulsa King." As he explained, when it came time to map out his portrayal of Dwight Manfredi, "The Metamorphosis" was a huge help. He said, "I thought about Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis.' Like, what if you woke up and you were now in a different profession, but you had the same personality?" Stallone notes that it was of the utmost importance that he portrays a different kind of gangster on the show without falling into the clichés that can make such characters fall flat.

Speaking of gangsters, as it turns out, Sylvester Stallone has quite a bit of first-hand experience with them in real life. During a chat with Parade, he recalled an unexpected meeting between himself and three men who came to warn him that starring in a rumored film about real mobster Sammy "The Bull" Gravano wouldn't be wise. All of a sudden, these three guys show up at my door and say, 'That's not a good idea.' So I told them 'A: I have no plans to do that, and B: Stop staring at me like I'm a warm meal," he told the publication, mentioning that the following day, they all went out to play golf together.

"Tulsa King" premieres exclusively on Paramount+ on November 13, 2022, so if you're a fan of crime dramas, Sylvester Stallone, or both, you'll want to make sure that your subscription is paid up and your schedule is clear. Or, if you're lucky, you might be able to go watch the premiere in a theater near you.