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In March of this year, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation gave the Razzy for the worst actor of the twentieth century to Sylvester Stallone. After reigning as a box office superstar during the 70s and 80s, Stallone's career over the last several years has taken a nose dive. He hasn't appeared on screen in three years, and his last film, Cop Land, which he saw as a way to break out of his action hero image and do some "serious acting," earned him little respect from audiences or critics.

In fact, he says in Susan Faludi's book Stiffed: The Betrayal of the Modern Man, that between 1998 and 1999 he didn't make a dime. He blamed studio bigwigs at Miramax and his agent for blocking his attempts to reinvent himself as a serious actor.

But now, with the release of Get Carter, a remake of a 60s Michael Caine film, and two more films currently in production, Stallone's fortunes may be about to change. The rise to stardom, his transformation into a superstar, the subsequent fall and the possibility of a comeback are all clearly marked in Sly's horoscope.  As we will see, Pluto, the planet of transformation, plays a prominent role in the Sylvester Stallone story—a story we might call “The Anatomy of a Metamorphosis.”

The Need to Relate and Achieve

Born July 6, 1946, in New York City at 7:20 pm, Stallone has the Sun in Cancer in the Seventh House, making him a very emotional person with a great need to relate to others for fulfillment. His Moon is at the very top of his chart in Libra, conjunct Jupiter and the Midheaven. The Moon's placement gives him a subconscious drive for achievement and confidence in himself (Jupiter). Individuals with Tenth House Moons often achieve wide public recognition, but typically their popularity is as inconstant as the Moon itself.

Sly's Sun receives a wide square aspect from Neptune, an aspect found prominently in the horoscopes of actors. Neptune likes to pretend. As a child with slurred speech and drooping eyelids (the result of a severed facial nerve caused by forceps during his delivery), and a name like Sylvester, he had a difficult time in school, especially growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. Pretending to be like the heroes in comic books and movies was a necessary escape mechanism for him.

Cleaning Cages at the Zoo

He wanted to act, but was discouraged by teachers at the University of Miami, so he dropped out and went to New York after his mother, astrologer Jacqueline Stallone, predicted he would make it in films as a writer. He wrote several unproduced screenplays under various pseudonyms, working at odd jobs to pay the rent. He cleaned cages at the zoo, hawked fish and demonstrated pizzas in the window of an Italian restaurant. Sly's Sixth House of work contains the unconventional planet Uranus in Gemini. Uranus would provide the erratic work history, and Gemini is an indication of writing ability.

During the early 70s, while transiting Pluto moved back and forth three times over Stallone's natal Neptune, he experienced what might be described as a period of creative gestation, during which he burned with the desire (Pluto) to act (Neptune), yet success seemed elusive. He appeared in a number of low-budget films and got small parts in films starrring Woody Allen and Robert Mitchum, but the big break was still to come.

Uranus is known for providing sudden flashes of inspiration. After a role in The Lords of Flatbush, Sly went to Hollywood. There he saw a fight between Muhammed Ali and an unknown boxer named Chuck Wepner, who "went the distance." Suddenly, in typical Uranian fashion, he had the basis for Rocky. He wrote the screenplay in three days.

Enter Pluto, The Planet of Metamorphosis

Sly's timing was perfect, because in 1975, when he began filming Rocky, Pluto, the planet of transformation and power, was finally through with his Neptune and was moving on toward his Midheaven. As it continued through his Ninth House of aspirations, his Neptunian dream of acting and writing came true, and he earned two Academy Award Nominations. After that initial success, his career stalled for the next several years as he continued with Rocky II and a film based on a novel he had written, Paradise Alley. Neither were especially successful.

But in 1981, Pluto once again became active, passing over Sly's Moon-Jupiter-Midheaven combination. He underwent a true Plutonian metamorphosis that year when he made First Blood, playing David Morrell's alienated Vietnam vet John Rambo. Pluto's power to change even altered Stallone's body. With intense physical workouts, he redesigned his whole physical appearance. Compare his somewhat pudgy physique in the first two Rocky movies with his sculpted body image in First Blood and his next film, Rocky III.

Two Billion Dollars at the Box Office

First Blood was a tremendous hit, giving Stallone two mega-franchises (Rocky and Rambo) that together have grossed nearly $2 billion at the box office. Big money is something else that Pluto brings. Sly, riding the wave created by Pluto's transit, was now a superstar. Successes continued as Pluto moved through his Tenth House of career and prominence. But in 1990, Pluto moved into his Eleventh House. He may have started taking success for granted, and after a series of poorly selected films, his star began to fall.

By the end of 1998, Pluto entered Stallone's Twelfth House of endings and behind-the-scenes activities. The offers stopped coming in. His income during this period came from off-screen (Twelfth House) voice-overs for a Lipton iced tea commercial, and the animated film Antz. This transit is often a period of "agonizing reappraisals," when we suddenly come to the end of something—a lifestyle, a career, a relationship. In the Susan Faludi book, Stallone is quoted as saying at this time he felt as though he were in limbo.

"Over the Top?"

But now Sly is ready for a comeback, and once again Pluto is coming to his aid. Still in his Twelfth House, the planet of power is sending favorable aspects (trining) to Sly's Mercury-Pluto conjunction in the Eighth House of his chart. The Eighth House is all about comebacks, the phoenix rising from the ashes and wealth. Other favorable aspects from Uranus and Jupiter in the coming year also point to better times ahead.

While Get Carter has been less than a big hit, and might have been better titled Forget Carter, Stallone is now filming Driven—a car racing film he has wanted to do for years—with action director Renny Harlen. Sly has high hopes that this project will return him to the status of box office champ, but with Pluto still in the Twelfth House of behind-the-scenes activities, perhaps his best chance for success lies more with activities behind the camera, such as writing, producing and directing.

Whichever path he chooses over the next several years, the planets say that one way or the other, Sly, like his underdog boxing hero, Rocky, will not only go the distance, he may even go "over the top."

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John M. Whalen is freelance writer, astrologer, and editor of a business publication based in Washington, D.C. He writes about film, TV, music and travel for various magazines and newspapers. He contributed a chapter on the life and films of director Sam Peckinpah to the new book, The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype.

Send an email to the author.

For more information about John Whalen, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by John Whalen:

  • Astro-Zen   3/10/2012
  • Astro-Zen   9/10/2004
  • Polarized Politics   8/20/2004
  • Saturn and the Vanquishing of Illusion   11/3/2003
  • The Grand Illusion   1/9/2003
  • Two Degrees of Scorpio   10/10/2002
  • Venus Elements   2/14/2002
  • Timothy McVeigh: The Day of Judgment   5/9/2001
  • Kevin Spacey: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma   4/9/2001
  • Keanu Reeves' Excellent Adventure   3/8/2001
  • Steven Soderbergh: Putting the Cuffs on Oscar   3/5/2001
  • The Christmas Eclipse: Bringing Your Heart's Desire   12/25/2000
  • Robert DeNiro: Master of Form and Essence   11/18/2000
  • Yasser, Ehud, Can We Talk?   8/31/2000
  • Alec Guinness: Reluctant Jedi   8/19/2000
  • Human Genetics: O Brave New World!   8/16/2000
  • Survivor: Candid Camera Runs Amok   7/8/2000
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Shaft for the New Millennium   7/1/2000
  • Jackie Chan: Fearless Aries with the Comic Touch   6/23/2000

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