Sylvester Stallone's Nighthawks Is Becoming A Limited Series Starring Frank Grillo

While guesting on the JoBlo podcast "The Beard and the Bald," action star Frank Grillo of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Boss Level" fame announced that he has been handpicked by Sylvester Stallone to lead a new limited television series based on Sly's 1981 thriller "Nighthawks." The project was announced last year as a co-production between Universal Television and Balboa Productions, with Grillo adding that Sly himself will both direct and appear in the project. Grillo confirmed:

"We're redoing Nighthawks as a limited TV series –- eight episodes. I'm playing him. He's directing, he's gonna direct 'em, and then he's gonna be in it... It's happening as we speak, we're selling it right now. I just love Stallone and I'm at this point where I'm sitting across from him and he's telling me I'm the only guy to play the role... This is AMAZING!"

Grillo, who will star in a whopping eight movies this year including the Gerard Butler co-starrer "Copshop" opening Friday, has been apparently been friendly with Stallone for a while, as proven by this 2019 tweet of he and "Copshop" director Joe Carnahan hanging with the "Rocky" star at his house watching — what else? — boxing!

A Troubled Stallone B-Side

While "Nighthawks" is not among Stallone's most iconic films like the "Rocky," "Rambo" or "Expendables" franchises, the cop movie retains a cult following due to its intensity, violence, and prophetic urban terrorism plot. It was originally conceived as "The French Connection III" and was meant to team Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle with a partner played by Richard Pryor. When Hackman balked at reprising Doyle again, Universal snatched up the project and retooled it for Stallone and Billy Dee Williams, the latter then hot off of "The Empire Strikes Back."

Production on "Nighthawks" proved to be a nightmare, however, with original director Gary Nelson ("The Black Hole") replaced after only a week, and newbie director Bruce Malmuth brought in to replace him. Many in the cast have confirmed that it was actually Sly who secretly ghost-directed the movie, as he would go on to do on several more projects throughout his career. The actor also wielded a heavy hand in the editing room, with he and Universal butting heads over the final cut, which ultimately saw co-stars Billy Dee Williams and Lindsay Wagner's roles drastically reduced, along with much of the violence. Stallone has indicated in interviews that he did not necessarily get his way with the final product, which wound up delayed for release by over a year before grossing a middling $20 million at the box office.

Despite all the hassles of shooting, Stallone maintains a fondness for the film and has praised co-star Rutger Hauer's performance ... despite the tension between the two during filming. The late Hauer's first Hollywood role as international terrorist Heymar "Wulfgar" Reinhardt is indeed incredible, and although Grillo is attached to play the Stallone part of Sergeant Deke DaSilva (who in the movie has an unforgettable scene in drag!), it has yet to be announced who will play his nemesis.