Thirty-three years ago, Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago stepped into the ring with Apollo Creed and then Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV. He was a Frankenstein Monster of Soviet ingenuity (and doping). Now Lundgren is reprising the role in Creed II, this time with more depth.
For Lundgren to sign on, it was important to him that audiences saw a different side of Ivan Drago this time around.
“I really didn’t want to do it at first,” Lundgren reluctantly admitted to Den of Geek. “ thought I was going to be used as some kind of pawn, some kind of stereotypical Russian bad guy again. But I wasn’t ready for that. Then when I read the script, I realized that not just was it good, it was fantastic, the whole storyline.”
The new film introduces Florian Munteanu as his son, Viktor Drago, a new challenger for Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed. It’s the first major film role for Munteanu, a Romanian boxer.
“I had to bring a lot more to the table than just the physicality, just being the muscle,” Munteanu said. “ I was very glad and happy too because actually that made me show a lot of my abilities. I really enjoyed playing those emotions, putting those emotions to the screen.”
It could have went the other way, but luckily Lundgren and Munteanu were given a story about family that resonated with them. If anyone got in the way of changing the script, Lundgren was ready to put up a fight.
“I fought for that character,” he said. “The first thing I told [director] Steven Caple was, ‘If anybody tries to change this script, you give me a call.’”
Fans will be happy to know that Rocky and Ivan Drago are still going at it.
“The only one who I’d have to fight literally was Stallone because he’s the producer, and he’s in it even more than I am. But I had a couple arguments with him too, but all for the better of the picture.”
Creed II opens on November 20. Read our review here.