Sylvester Stallone Says Dolph Lundgren Nearly Killed Him While Filming 'Rocky IV'

Sylvester Stallone
Foc Kan/FilmMagic

Sylvester Stallone is sharing that when he squared off in the ring against Dolph Lundgren on the set of 1985's Rocky IV, it pushed him right to the brink.

"He hit me so hard he almost stopped my heart," the 72-year-old actor said during a discussion on Friday at Cannes, via Vulture. "I told him, 'Why don't we just do it? Just try to knock me out. Really cut loose as hard as you can.' That was a really stupid thing to say. Next thing I know, I'm on a low-altitude plane to the emergency room, and I'm in intensive care for four days. And there are all these nuns around."

The leading man, who was on hand at the French film festival to screen some footage of his upcoming film, Rambo V: Last Blood, also admitted that he flat-out despised Lundgren when he met him, which he found useful in casting Ivan Drago, his Soviet nemesis in the boxing film.

Sylvester Stallone
Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic

"And then Dolph Lundgren walked in, and I hated him immediately," he recalled, later adding, "I had to find a superhuman being as an opponent, someone who would be overwhelming." 

When considering his animus for the fellow actor back then, he realized, "Oh, that's right, he's perfect … This is what I would imagine they would create as an athlete -- someone who is literally perfect. Indestructible. Shoulders, calves, forearms, giant butt, neck, back, everything."

Lundgren also appeared alongside Stallone in last year's Creed II. In it, his character's son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), is defeated by Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan).

During the chat, Stallone also reminisced about fighting hard to get the roles that made him a star -- including the title role in the 1976 film Rocky, which he wrote. One problem was, according to Stallone, people complained that they struggled to understand him when he spoke due to a birth defect.

"I knew it was bad when Arnold Schwarzenegger said, 'You have an accent,'" he joked, via The Hollywood Reporter. "I have an accent? …They wanted another actor [to play Rocky] -- Robert Redford, Jimmy Caan. They would've taken a kangaroo."

Along the way, Stallone admits that he learned "not to try and go outside my box."

"Dustin Hoffman is not playing Rambo, and I'm not playing Tootsie," he stated. "Every time [I went outside my box], I wound up in a Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot."

Rambo V: Last Blood is slated to arrive on Sept. 20.


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