Dolph Lundgren on 'Blessings' Since Cancer Battle and Revisiting 'Rocky' as He Returns to Philly (Exclusive)

Dolph Lundgren for Zaxbys

ET has an exclusive look at Lundgren's return to Philadelphia for Zaxby's latest commercial.

Philly is tough, but Dolph Lundgren is tougher! The 65-year-old actor reprises his role as the "enemy" in Zaxby's latest commercial.

Returning to Philadelphia -- the City of Brotherly Love and the hometown of Rocky Balboa -- Lundgren is ready to break bread with his enemies as he lives though the city's nostalgia -- and noise. 

In a new play on the Philly Cheesesteak, Lundgren takes a bite out of Zaxby's new Fried Chicken Philly -- a twist on the staple that may upset the natives, but it's all in good fun.

"The whole thing is a fun project for me," Lundgren tells ET about the commercial. "I'm kind of having fun with that character and the whole setup, you know, and I just really enjoyed it."

He adds, "I thought the concept was a lot of fun, made me laugh. I took about 20-30 bites of that sandwich. It was pretty good."

Lundgren made his first trip to Philly while playing Captain Ivan Drago in the Rocky franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. For him, filming the commercial was a homecoming of sorts. 

"It was shot in Philly, which was great, it was fun to return," he says about the spot. "I've been there many times but I was there for this film Creed 2 I did, which I was there for three months. I really enjoyed it. I liked Philly. I liked the people and have good restaurants. The size of the city, just very kind of comfortable."


Philly also brings back memories of his first meeting and constant training with Sly while filming Rocky IV -- a working relationship that turned into a years-long friendship.

"Working out with Sly and getting to know him," Lundgren says about his fond memories of the city and the set. "We were lifting weights every day, boxing every day, six days a week for five months before the start of the movie, which is quite unusual these days. We got to know each other pretty well. Especially in the ring, when you're actually throwing each other around and boxing. I think that those memories of that workout period, preparation with him, are quite fun."

He adds, "Over the years, it's grown to a pretty close personal relationship. I'd say he's the actor that I'm closest to in Hollywood. I would say, him and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We've done six movies together over 35 years. He has three daughters, and I have two, and they're friendly. We don't talk every day, but we do have a good relationship."

A year and a half ago, Lundgren was faced with a "life-changing" cancer diagnosis -- which he revealed earlier this year. After being misdiagnosed by one doctor and told he had three to four months to live, the Expendables star found another, and went through treatment. Today, he is on the other side and feeling better than ever.

"I'm living a normal life. I'm still taking oral medication, but it doesn't really affect me," he tells ET. "I mean, there's no side effects. Every day to me is a blessing, and I really enjoy it, and I feel really good about that."


Another blessing is his wife, Emma Krokdal. Lundgren and the 27-year-old personal trainer tied the knot this summer in Mykonos, Greece, after an engagement that was plagued by his diagnosis.

"We actually got engaged the week that I found out the cancer was back," he says. "That was before COVID. So then we went through COVID. And then wanting to see how these treatments worked. But everything seemed fine. So this summer, in Mykonos in Greece, we finally got married and that was really just a small wedding. A few friends. It was really nice."

The world will have a chance to learn more about Lundgren and his life on and off the big screen with a new documentary.

"I have a documentary they've been shooting about my life for two years," he reveals. "They’ve been filming it and we're in there editing right now. I'm going to see it in a few weeks and I think that it will come out next year, so that's pretty exciting."