In his revivings of the Rambo and Rocky franchises, Sylvester Stallone is taking a last desperate leap at marginal fame, semi-relevance and a revenue surge. It’s a tough place to be in but we all have to keep knocking.

I wish Stallone had kept trying to play Copland-type character roles, but I guess he wasn’t offered much in this vein after Copland came out, probably because people felt he wasn’t that terrific in it.

I got to know Stallone slightly as a result of working for a couple of hotshot publicists (Bobby Zarem, Dick Delson) who represented Sly during the big-dick Rambo II era in ’85 and ’86.

I then interviewed him in May 1992 during the Cliffhanger shoot in Cortina, Italy, for a piece that eventually ran in the New York Times. So I can say with a certain authority that when he’s in the right mood, Stallone is a likable, very funny and witty guy. He has a perverse sense of humor. But this never really came out in his films.

Every now and then Stallone wasn’t in the mood to be likable and witty, and then it was tippytoe time. Sometimes his eyes would resemble a dead shark’s.

I was leaving his Pacific Palisades home once and making light chatter as a kind of exit strategy while Delson and Zarem were doing something in the other room. I noticed a familiar painting on the wall near the front door and said to him, “Francis Bacon…excellent taste!”

A friendly reply might have been “yeah, good old Francis” or “you’re a fan too, huh?” But he was in one of his moods or something. Stallone looked at me like he was Louis Lepke and I was a guy behind on my payments, and said, “You got it.”

He meant “yeah, it’s Bacon” and not “yeah, I have excellent taste”, but it was still kind of a flatline thing to say.