Sylvester Stallone is celebrated for his popular “Rocky” movie franchise; however, it was his brother Frank Stallone who, while watching boxing on ESPN, happened to discover the perfect person to play the “Tommy Gunn” role in “Rocky V.” The 1990 movie helped boost former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison’s career, which is the subject of the next 30 for 30 “Tommy” (tonight, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
You watched “Tommy” at the screening in Miami, Okla., where Morrison is from. What were your thoughts on the film?
It was very emotional, because now you know the person has passed but you are seeing a young, handsome kid and everything is “what if?” His two sons were sitting there [watching the film] and were pretty choked up. I thought the film was great; it’s a dark film.
What do you hope viewers take away from the film?
This really is a documentary that was put together with passion. But it also is a warning. Take it as an omen: This is what not to do. This is when you have it all going for you, and you don’t hang with the right people. This is what happens. I’m sure if Tommy could live it all over again and he was here today he would be telling people, this is not the right way to go.
What was it about Morrison that made him a good fit for the “Rocky V” role?
Sly was doing a big casting call for “Rocky V,” and he had guys who maybe could fight, but can’t act. He needed someone who was age appropriate. Tommy fit that bill. I think because of his size and build, and he was very articulate when he spoke. I was very impressed by him.
When Tommy Morrison was diagnosed with HIV, his life was completely changed.
— 30 for 30 (@30for30) September 19, 2017