Revenge is Swede
PHILADELPHIA After playing one of the most iconic villains in the Rocky movie franchise, Dolph Lundgren is getting back in the ring to take another swing.
In Creed II, the 61-year-old Swede is back playing the role that made him a star, mentoring his son, Viktor (played by Florian Munteanu), who takes on Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of the man Drago killed in the ring in Rocky IV.
If the Drago we met in 1985 seemed like an unbeatable machine, the one we encounter in 2018 is the shell of his former self.
“There’s a lot of pain and anger and revenge themes in there — and that drives my character forward. He’s relentless and doesn’t care about anything; he just has to win. It’s win at any cost. Son, no son, whatever he has to do to win, he does.”
Q It’s been 33 years since Rocky IV. Did you feel you had unfinished business with Drago?
A Yeah, I did. It’s a powerful picture, and it’s lived on and it’s survived. It’s timeless in a way; even in the way it was shot. It has stood the test of time, whereas some movies from the ’80s haven’t — they just look dated. But Rocky IV still has punch to it, emotionally and visually. Creed II is different, but it still packs an emotional punch — for everyone, really.
It’s really about family; fathers and sons. I think that’s a great thing, especially in today’s world where there’s a lot of sabre-rattling and us versus them talk. There really are no bad guys out there, just a sequence of events. We’re all part of it, and that’s how the movie works, too.
Q In the years since Rocky IV, you’ve worked with Sylvester Stallone multiple times. How did it feel to be facing him again as Drago?
A It felt a bit bizarre and a little unreal. I’ve done three Expendables films and we’re on the same side, but to be facing down each other in the ring again it was a little unsettling. There’s something about him. His look, his energy, my energy and when you cut back and forth, it’s pretty strong. It has a little bit of magic. Especially when we’re up against one another. We have a few scenes that are both physical and emotional.
Q What about the relationship you have with Sly? You just mentioned three Expendables movies.
A Yeah, we’ve done five movies. I don’t know who else he’s done five pictures with. I don’t know why, it just happens that our destinies have been intertwined. I didn’t know anything when he hired me. I was a kid, and I hadn’t done anything. He became a friend and a bit of a mentor and someone that I looked up to a lot, and I still do. He’s an accomplished, clever guy.
Q What’s Ivan’s driving purpose in this movie?
A My character is all about getting back what was taken from him and to win at all costs. That’s it, that’s my goal. I’m using my son as my tool, but I start to realize that perhaps there are other things in life as well. It’s not easy. Thirty years of pain is what fuels the guy. That was the tough part of the performance because Steven (Caple Jr., the director), wanted all that. He wanted me to show that pain on screen.
Q Ivan had a pretty famous catchphrase in the Rocky IV — “I must break you.” Is that going to come back in Creed II?
A They bring back some of those classics, but in a slightly different way.