A real-life Romanian boxer has been cast in Creed 2 to play the son of Rocky IV nemesis Ivan Drago. Creed 2, of course, is the follow-up to hit 2015 sports drama Creed, a spinoff of the Rocky franchise that starred Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson, a promising boxer living in the shadows of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the late father he never knew. Knowing he has the heart and physical potential to be a champ, Adonis seeks the help of his father's former opponent and best friend, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), as he pursues the world light heavyweight title.
Throughout the Rocky film series, the saga has really had only one true villain, the Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in Rocky IV. Set in the waning days of the Cold War, Drago was originally meant to participate in an exhibition match in the U.S. against Creed, who treated the event as more of a spectacle. Drago, however, was deathly serious about the match, and beat Creed so severely that he perished in the ring. Devastated by the loss of his dear friend, the only way Rocky can cope is to avenge Creed in a full-scale match in the hostile environment of Russia.
Related: What You Never Knew About Ivan Drago
Now, it appears that payback time has come for Adonis, too, as Creed 2 has officially cast Drago's son. According The Tracking Board, the role will be played by Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu, a boxer of Romanian origin born in Germany in 1990. The casting of Munteanu in Creed 2, which marks his U.S. film debut, comes as somewhat a surprise, especially after word surfaced in November that the production was looking at MMA fighter Sage Northcutt, who confirmed he auditioned for the role. But fans of Munteanu started to suspect something major was ahead for the fighter, since he's been busy in the past couple of weeks posting Instagram updates teasing a "great project" in Los Angeles. See one of his posts below:
Stallone first teased the Rocky IV-inspired narrative for Creed 2 last summer with an Instagram post that featured Adonis and the elder Drago face-to-face in a boxing ring, and confirmed last July that Lundgren would be reprising his role. The suggestion for an actual matchup between the much younger Creed and the elder Drago in Stallone's Instagram post was clearly a stretch at the time, so casting Munteanu signals what fans have been suspecting for the past couple of months: Creed will indeed be seeking revenge against Drago in the ring, but through his son. The challenge now for the production will be to make sure that the narrative doesn't too closely mimic Rocky IV.
The casting of Munteanu seems to be the final piece of the puzzle needed before Creed 2 finally goes into production. Stallone, who co-wrote the film with Luke Cage creator Cheo Hodari Coker, will once again play Rocky in the Creed sequel, but has passed on the director's chores to Steven Caple Jr. Tessa Thompson, who won raves as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, is also reprising her Creed role as Adonis' girlfriend, Bianca. Creed 2 is set to go into production in March in Philadelphia and will hit theaters on November 21.
Source: The Tracking Board
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