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There’s a Good Reason Sylvester Stallone Has a Cameo in Trump’s North Korea Film

2 minute read

A surprising face makes a cameo in the four-minute video the Trump Administration made to persuade Kim Jong Un to rejoin the world community: Sylvester Stallone.

Around the 2:45 mark in the video, narrated as though it were a movie trailer, a brief still image shows President Donald Trump standing next to Stallone in the Oval Office.

The image comes from Trump’s May pardon of boxing legend Jack Johnson, which the Rocky star personally lobbied for.

As jarring as the image might be in the frame of traditional diplomacy, it actually makes sense given the audience of one at which the trailer is aimed. The North Korean autocrat is known to be a fan of Western pop culture, and the Rocky series specifically.

In a 2017 interview, basketball star Dennis Rodman said that Kim had a “13-piece girls band with violins” playing classic rock by Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. “When I first went, the live band only played two songs for four hours: the theme songs from Rocky and Dallas,” he said.

In 2012, the Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, reported that a 100-minute program on North Korean Central TV included around three minutes’ worth of scenes from Rocky IV while a group of 10 female instrumentalists played “Gonna Fly Now” from the movie’s soundtrack.

The four-minute film that Trump showed Tuesday also featured stock footage of a dunking basketball player, another Kim obsession.

As unusual as the video was, it may have worked. Kim remarked about the day’s events through a translator that “any people in the world that will think of this as a scene from a … science fiction movie.”

Trump was also a fan.

“We had it made up. I showed it to him today, actually during the meeting, toward the end of the meeting and I think he loved it,” he said during a news conference.

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