"Unless she was a mute, I knew she had the part" -Sylvester Stallone
Left: Cynthia Rhodes in "Staying Alive" (1983).
The following excerpts taken from People Magazine's July 25th, 1983 cover story Two for Travolta that featured the cast in "Staying Alive." Article written by Carol Wallace.
Finding the pair was no easy task for director Stallone. He plucked Travolta's co-stars from a pool of more than 2,500 aspirants after an extensive transatlantic search. While Rhodes, 26, a blond, merry-eyed Nashville native, had a bit part in that other dance flick, Flashdance, it was her come-hither gyrations in the rock group Toto's Rosanna video that caught Stallone's eye.
On co-stars Finola Hughes and Cynthia Rhodes: "They're both originals," raves Travolta. "I hate to use the cliché, but they're stars - they each have a strong presence." Stallone is equally captivated. "Finola was truly a great find, and Cynthia even more so because she's amazingly talented in every area," he says. He wanted Cindy for the role of Jackie, the chorus girl who is Manero's wholesome, long-suffering lover. "Unless she was a mute, I knew she had the part," says Sly.
Stallone's successful strategy was to nip any first-time jitters with large doses of praise, pampering and playfulness. If he caught either actress eating sweets (Cindy sometimes devoured a one-pound bag of M&M's in a day), he teased, "How are you doing, whale hips?"
He [Stallone] also let kissing scenes run on, overtime that nobody griped about. "John's a great kisser," says Cindy, giving him a high eight on a 10-point scale. Finola is more generous. "He's an 11," she insists.
For both women, the prospects of working with two popular male idols was daunting. "I thought Sly and John would be egotistical and make me feel like a peon," says Rhodes. "But when I met them, it was like I had know them all my life."
Although Cindy and Finola compete for John's bod in the film, off camera their paths rarely crossed. Sly reports: "I don't think they realized how much they liked each other until the last two days of the film, when they flew to New York and talked the whole way about every subject known to man." The acrimony on the screen is acting. "Usually you get two women like this and they're scratching each other's eyes out," observes Steve Inwood, who plays a Broadway choreographer in the film. "These two would have coffee together. I used to tease them and say, 'C'mon, girls, start something. This is getting boring.' "
"They [Finola and Cynthia] have a magic with the camera that I was totally blown away by," raves Sly. If stardom isn't a strut away for these two, then, says Stallone, "I give Up."
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