Creed 2 star Dolph Lundgren has revealed he initially didn’t want to return as Rocky IV’s Ivan Drago – thinking it would be sad to revisit an iconic role. While the first 3 Rocky movies are relatively grounded sports dramas, Rocky IV dialled up the 1980’s cheese. The story had Rocky seeking revenge on Russian boxer Ivan Drago after the latter kills his friend Apollo Creed in the ring. While the movie is a lot of fun and has a well-deserved cult of fans, it's also a good deal more cartoonish and over the top than any of the other Rocky movies, and feels a little out of place as a result.
Rocky IV also made a star of Dolph Lundgren, who played the near-invincible Ivan Drago. Lundgren’s monosyllabic performance – combined with his shredded physique – made Drago a memorable villain. In fact, Lundgren sent co-star Sylvester Stallone to the hospital during fighting when the latter – who also acted as director – insisted he hit him for real during some takes. This resulted in Stallone being hit so hard in the chest he spent 4 days in intensive care afterwards.
Related: Creed 2 (Trailer #1)
There were clearly no hard feelings between the two actors, however, since Stallone later worked with Dolph on all 3 Expendables movies and now he’s returning as Drago for Creed 2. Fans are excited to see the return of the character for the first time since 1985, but Lundgren revealed during a recent Q&A (via Look Mag) that he was initially reluctant to sign up.
It was a bit strange. It’s a bit weird. At first I didn’t want to do it because I thought it would kind of sad. I didn’t want to hurt that image because it's like an iconic character that people, especially people who work out, really look up to this guy.
It was the quality of Creed 2’s script that convinced him to join, and the chance to explore a whole new side of Drago.
But the script was really good and I get a chance to show another side of the same man 35 years later, and more of a damaged, struggling side. I used some of my own life that I’ve been through the last 35 years in this character so it's kind of full circle. So it turned out to be a really great experience for me. A real dramatic challenge but also a great experience to look back at my own career the way he looks back at his career as a fighter. There’re some parallels that I think are kind of unique.
It will be very interesting to see how Drago is portrayed in Creed 2. Since Rocky IV was so heightened and cheesy, seeing such a larger than life villain fitting into the grounded tone of the Creed series should make for a unique mix. The storyline has Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) fighting the son of Drago, who, of course, killed Adonis’ father decades before. This should make for an emotionally charged sequel, and while Lundgren wouldn’t confirm if Ivan Drago gets a fight scene, it seems highly likely given the intense workout he committed to for the movie.
Source: Look Mag
- Creed 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018