Hyping up Rocky fans in anticipation of the franchise's latest installment, Sylvester Stallone sat down with Dolph Lundgren to discuss the latter's Rocky IV casting. The two aging actors from the 1985 film will soon star in Creed II, where another Russian boxer battles an American in a fight of the century in order to avenge the death of Apollo Creed; although, this time, it may be even more personal.
In what's generally considered one of the fan-favorites in Stallone's boxing franchise, Rocky IV began with a fight between Russian machine Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and American hero Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) that ended when Drago murdered Creed in the ring. An emotionally distraught Rocky Balboa (Stallone) decides to avenge the death of his friend and despite all odds, the famed American underdog comes out on top. Five movies comprised the original Rocky franchise, until Stallone donned his gloves once more in 2006 for Rocky Balboa. At 60 years old, Stallone pushed the age limit of even his cinematic boxing career. In more recent years, the actor made a more believable transition for 2015 release Creed, becoming the trainer for the son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson Creed (Michael B. Jordan). Creed II follows the perhaps predestined fight between the sons of Creed and Drago - providing a final chance for retribution.
A tweet from the official @RockyMovie account delighted fans with a clip of Stallone and Lundgren chatting about casting decisions from back in 1985. Lundgren questions his casting and Stallone explains that upon seeing the actor's photos he knew that Lundgren was the man for the job. Considering Drago's status as one of the 1980s most iconic movie villains, it's safe to say Stallone chose wisely. Here's his full quote, followed by the video clip.
I said, 'Everyone's gonna hate this guy, because he's flawless. He's 6-foot-6 and no flaws, no weaknesses.' I said, 'This is interesting, because Rocky's just the opposite. He's really flawed. He's a throwback, and you're a throw-forward. And we both can fight and we both got styles that were perfectly contrasting.'
The fight of the century tagline may be an overstatement, but that flagrant hyperbole is not diminishing the excitement of Rocky fans everywhere. Creed 2 is already on pace to overshadow the box office opening of its predecessor. That's no easy feat, as the first Creed film performed quite well financially, earning $173 million worldwide on a budget of $35 million. Far beyond monetary success, Creed provided Stallone with his first Academy Award nomination - for Best Supporting Actor - since the first Rocky's release.
Some critics feel as though Stallone should've retired Rocky decades before he met Apollo Creed's son, long before his wife Adrian died of cancer and - some would even argue - before he avenged Creed by challenging Ivan Drago. Yet, Rocky fans continue to rush to the box office to watch underdogs claim victory - whether or not Stallone is the man in the ring.
- Creed 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018