During the filming of Rocky IV’s climactic fight scene, Dolph Lundgren, who played Ivan Drago, hit Sylvester Stallone so hard he went to the hospital.
Rocky IV star Dolph Lundgren hit Sylvester Stallone so hard during filming that he sent Stallone to the hospital. After becoming a breakout star in Hollywood thanks Rocky in 1976, Stallone went onto become one of the industry’s biggest action icons, but he also continued his beloved boxing franchise, which now sits at six films and two spin-offs. However, despite the Rocky franchise’s long history, Rocky IV, a much weaker outing in the eyes of critics, remains one of the most fan-favorite Rocky movies. Thanks to its numerous eye-catching montages, its dramatic twist with Apollo Creed’s (Carl Weathers) death, and a memorable villain in the Russian Ivan Drago (Lundgren), it has withstood the test of time for most Rocky fans. Also, it inspired the narrative for 2018’s Creed II.
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The fourth installment of the franchise saw Rocky Balboa attempting to avenge his friend Apollo by fighting the seemingly indestructible Drago in his home country of Russia. In a classic ‘80s boxing scene, Rocky IV concludes with a long, hard-hitting, and memorable final fight that sees Rocky, in classic underdog fashion, toppling the Russian. The popular Rocky installment celebrated its 35th anniversary this past Friday, and fans are now awaiting the director’s cut of Rocky IV that Stallone said will release to celebrate the 35th anniversary. However, Rocky IV’s anniversary has also been celebrated by revisiting the famous story of the pain Stallone experienced in crafting Rocky’s epic fight with Drago.
In an article from The Hollywood Reporter celebrating the 35th anniversary of Rocky IV, they “unearthed previous interviews” of Stallone and Lundgren, where the two stars discussed the incident that led to Stallone being “in the hospital for nine days.” According to Stallone, he told Lundgren while filming the fight scene, “Just go out there and try to clock me,” explaining that, “For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all.” However, after receiving an uppercut from Lundgren that “caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage,” Stallone was forced into the ICU. Stallone joked, stating that doctors said his injury usually happened during “head-on collisions,” and the actor replied: “Close. I did hit a bus, of sorts.” In a previous interview with Lundgren that Hollywood Reporter also highlights, the actor simply joked: “All I did was obey orders.”
The story is a legendary one in Rocky folklore, as Stallone has said many times during various interviews over the years that Lundgren was the hardest puncher of all his Rocky opponents. Lundgren’s punching power is a somewhat unsurprising fact for those aware of the Swedish actor’s background, as the actor did previously compete in karate, and that combined with his size and physique, made for a bad combination for Stallone. It’s a fitting story to revisit on the film’s anniversary as not only is it still incredible to hear the details, but it encapsulates the dedication and realism that Stallone tried to bring to his boxing franchise. Also, considering Rocky IV’s longstanding appeal, clearly, the hospital trip didn’t go without some kind of reward.
Stallone’s Rocky IV director’s cut has captured the attention of fans and media in recent months because the star has claimed he always thought the film could have gone “deeper and better,” and he believes he was “right.” Also, the director’s cut will not feature Paulie’s infamous robot, meaning there will be less obscure and pointless elements to this new version. There is currently no set date for the release of the director’s cut, so for now, fans of Rocky IV can celebrate the anniversary with this classic behind the scenes story.
Next: Why Stallone’s Rocky IV Director’s Cut Is Wrong To Remove The Robot
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