If Sylvester Stallone had acted on his initial impulse his iconic 1982 action film, First Blood, would never have been released.
He wanted all of the copies destroyed.
"That movie was so bad I wanted to buy it back and burn it," Stallone told reporters in Los Angeles last week.
"That's not a joke."
Today, almost 40 years later, First Blood has grown into a five-film franchise and the character Stallone played, Vietnam War veteran John Rambo, offered the public insight into post-traumatic stress disorder.
The latest is Rambo: Last Blood and depicts Stallone's Rambo still attempting to deal with his inner demons, but finding refuge on an Arizona ranch with an adoptive family: a grandmother Maria (played by Adriana Barraza) and her teenage granddaughter Gabriela (Yvette Monreal).
Rambo's quiet life on the ranch ends when Gabriela travels to Mexico in search of her biological father and is abducted by a drug cartel.
Stallone, who turned 73 in July, is in a jovial mood as he discusses what a disaster the original, pre-release cut of First Blood was.
It was three hours long and Stallone was not sure America in 1982 was ready for the storyline about a Green Beret returning from Vietnam and battling law enforcement in a small US town.
"It was overblown, too long and I'd never seen an actor attacking his own country," he said.
Stallone, who co-wrote the film, said the film was eventually cut to 85 minutes but 11 studios and distributors still refused to buy it.
A decision was made to do a roadshow in the hope deep-pocketed film distributors in Poland, Russia and other territories might want to back it.
To help, a 20-minute version of First Blood was created for the roadshow and it did the job with the film finding backers and earning $US125 million at the global box office.
"It had such a horrible start which is usually the story of my life," Stallone laughed.
"Everything that starts bad turns out good.
"Everything that is good becomes a horror."
Life is good on the home front for Stallone, who after marriages to Sasha Czack in 1974 and Brigitte Nielsen in 1985 ended in divorce found love with James Packers' ex, Jennifer Flavin.
They married in 1997 and have three daughters: Sophia; Sistine; and Scarlet.
"It's not easy," Stallone, asked what it is like to be the only male at home, said.
"I lose every debate.
"I'm never right.
"Every piece of furniture I pick is wrong.
"Even the dogs are female."
Rambo: Last Blood opened in Australia on Thursday (September 19).