Carthage native discusses working with Stallone on ‘Rocky’ documentary

Derek Johnson with actor Sylvester Stallone
Derek Johnson with actor Sylvester Stallone
Updated: Jun. 2, 2020 at 3:54 PM CDT
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CARTHAGE, Texas (KLTV) - Carthage native Derek Johnson is ready to release a never before seen look at the 1977 hit ‘Rocky’ with his new documentary ’40 Years of Rocky: The berth of a Classic'.

Johnson wrote and directed the piece with Cinema 83 Entertainment.

Johnson, a Carthage native, and Stephen F. Austin State University alum, grew up loving the Rocky series and the work of John G. Avildsen. He had previously made a documentary about his idol and while showing it to Stallone he was given the opportunity to work with the Hollywood star on a new project with never before seen behind the scenes footage from the 1977 film.

Below is the official release for the documentary which is available OnDemand starting June 9.

40 YEARS OF ROCKY: THE BIRTH OF A CLASSIC documentary will be released digitally in North America via Virgil Films on June 9. The film chronicles the behind-the-scenes journey of a 1976 low budget movie that was written by an unknown actor, Sylvester Stallone, and when released, inspired audiences all around the world to go the distance. The international release of the film will be titled BECOMING ROCKY: THE BIRTH OF A CLASSIC, and will be available on June 9 via Branded Studios. The North American version will stream via on iTunes/AppleTV (PRE-ORDER HERE), Amazon (PRE-ORDER HERE ), Vimeo On Demand and Google Play. The international release will be available on iTunes/AppleTV and Amazon.

The documentary was written and directed by Derek Wayne Johnson, who served as co-producer with Chris May of Cinema 83 Entertainment and Cinema 83 Documentary Films. The film follows the iconic "Rocky" story which became the ultimate underdog movie, and more than 40 years later, Sylvester Stallone recounts the making of the beloved classic through rare home movies filmed by “Rocky” director John G. Avildsen.

“The documentary is a golden nugget for ‘Rocky’ fans and casual audiences alike,” says Johnson. “It’s a charming piece of film history narrated by Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, and will give audiences an intimate, and at times, emotional experience. We’re proud of the film, and audiences can expect new stories and new footage that they’ve never seen before in a blend of director John Avildsen’s home movies, rehearsal footage and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the ultimate underdog film.”

Adds May, “It has been an incredible journey working on this film and we are very excited for everybody to get to see it now. The cultural impact and value of ‘Rocky’ can't be understated, and we are proud to have been able to add ‘40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic’ into that world.”

Leonard Martin raves, “I enjoyed stepping back in time with this peek behind the scenes of ‘Rocky’…and so will any fan of the movie.”

Executive Producer David Polemeni funded the picture through Visionary Private Equity Group. Cinema 83’s next project will be a new documentary via Related Pictures Group about comedic legends Don Rickles and Bob Newhart’s long term friendship, and their impact on comedy.

About Cinema 83

Cinema 83 Entertainment (and its twin company Cinema 83 Documentary Films) is a newly formed production company based in Hollywood, California, created by longtime filmmaking partners Derek Wayne Johnson and Chris May. Cinema 83 produces feature length motion pictures and documentaries designed to inspire, educate and entertain the world. Starting with “40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic” narrated by Sylvester Stallone, Cinema 83 is committed to telling captivating stories.

For more information visit: Cinema 83 Entertainment

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