Director Walter Hill and Sylvester Stallone on the set of...

Director Walter Hill and Sylvester Stallone on the set of "Bullet to the Head" Credit: Director Walter Hill and Sylvester Stallone on the set of "Bullet to the Head"

Walter Hill knows a thing or two about action movies, having directed Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Charles Bronson and many other stars over the course of more than three decades in the film business.

In the new buddy cop flick "Bullet to the Head," the filmmaker finally teams up with Sylvester Stallone.

amNewYork spoke with Hill about the film, which hits theaters this Friday.

You've got a long history in the action genre and so, obviously, does Stallone. What took you so long to work together? Sly and I, we have known each other a long time. I met Sly the first time before "Hard Times" came out [in 1975] and before he had done "Rocky." He and I had and still have the same lawyer. We were introduced way back then. I'd sent him scripts a couple times to try and tease him out and get him to do something. He'd done the same with me, and it just never quite [worked out] - whether it was time and circumstance, or whatever. But I've always admired him.

Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger seem to be having a resurgence, with new action vehicles starring each of them opening within a month of each other. You've worked with all of them. How do they compare? I came out of the experience of those films really on a positive basis with all these guys. At least when I run into them, they're very nice to me, so it seems OK. The first premise is they have a great gusto for the genre ... Bruce and Sly are much more alike than Arnold is. Arnold's hard to define. I always thought whatever you said about him, there were always these other things that were true ... Bruce and Sly are both trained actors. They've gone through the process, they learned, they studied, they went out, they tried, they were rejected, they failed, they succeeded marginally and then they succeeded and then they became gigantic successes. Whereas Arnold was a world figure before he ever did a movie.

We love "The Warriors." Do you have a favorite memory? Paramount seemed to be under the impression that the story was something like "Saturday Night Fever," that is to say kids from Brooklyn lost in Manhattan. They kept thinking it was going to be what I would call a very middle class movie. By middle class, I mean the aspirations of the characters and the overall fit, as "Saturday Night Fever" was it seems to me a very admirable way. It was a very entertaining film, but this thing obviously had not a f------ thing in the world to do with that in a million years.

Are you surprised at how successful it's been? You're always surprised when anything good happens. I'm a perfect believer that the world breaks everybody in the end, but sometimes things do go all right.

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