Ivan Drago was a terrifying character in Rocky IV, but his steely demeanor couldn’t be further from the actor portraying him. By all accounts, Swedish-born actor Dolph Lundgren is a nice guy. So how did he end up sending Sylvester Stallone to the ICU?
Let’s just say the punches Lundgren threw as Drago in Rocky IV didn’t need any help from Hollywood magic. Those things were rockets, and Sylvester Stallone learned that the hard way. While rehearsing the fight sequence for their climactic boxing match, Stallone urged Lundgren to hit him harder, over and over again. You know, to really sell it for the cameras.
Well, Dolph Lundgren is a fully trained martial artist and one he connected with Stallone’s chest on what was very nearly a heart-stopping punch. The shot caused Sly’s heart to swell, sending him to the hospital for more than a week. Needless to say, when Lundgren found out what had happened, he felt terrible about the situation.
“He took some hard shots, and so did I. But when I found out, I was obviously distraught. I felt bad. I just did what he told me to do, and I didn’t want to hurt him. I’m quite a nice guy, and I’ve never had any aggression towards anyone. But I was happy when he came out of the hospital, and everything continued,” Dolph Lundgren told The Hollywood Reporter recently.
What’s more, the Ivan Drago actor didn’t even find out what he’d done until after the production wrapped up work on the fight scene.
“I didn’t really know it was my fault to start with; I just thought he was overworked. He was directing, acting, and duking it out in the ring with a 10-year younger European heavyweight champion in karate, meaning me,” Lundgren continued.
We Nearly Got a Rocky-Drago Rematch from Sly Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in ‘Creed II’
Rocky fans have likely been following the well-received reboot movies following the career of Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan).
Well, the second Creed movie finds Adonis touching gloves with Ivan Drago’s son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu), which means Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone meet face to face. They even filmed a brief moment where Rocky and Drago get into a brief fight at the hospital. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it to the final cut of the movie.
“It was a quick little fight, and I thought it worked. But the director [Stephen Caple Jr.] and MGM felt that it was extraneous and that it didn’t add anything,” Lundgren said in the interview.
But all is not lost. According to Dolph, Rocky fans may get an entire Drago spinoff soon.
“By the way, I think there’s some talk about doing a whole spinoff on Drago with MGM. So you may get more of that,” Lundgren continued.