Warning. Minor spoilers for Creed II follow…
In Creed II, the follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed Rocky spinoff, Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed finds himself pitted against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Rocky IV villain and Apollo Creed killer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).
The film sees Lundgren reprising his Rocky IV role of Drago, but as it happens he’s not the only familiar face from the 1985 sequel to make their comeback, as the sequel also includes a somewhat surprising cameo from Ludmilla Drago, the now ex-wife of Ivan, who also happens to be played by Sylvester Stallone’s real-life ex-wife Brigitte Nielsen.
Speaking to SlashFilm to promote the release of the movie, director Steven Caple Jr. explained how Nielsen’s return came about: “It was sort of a last minute call before I flew out to film in Philadelphia. We were developing the script and the Dragos layers were coming about. It started to feel like it was missing something. It felt like there was another piece missing and it naturally became Brigitte, Ludmilla. When developing it, I asked Sly if it was okay to bring her back. He thought it would be cool because the fans love it, they had a nostalgia feeling and people wouldn’t necessarily expect it. Yeah, we called her. It was just an emotional roller coaster. When I first had the phone conversation with her, she was pretty much excited and crying on the phone honestly because she was honored to be back in the franchise. We brought her out to Philly and had her on set.”
Meanwhile, Lundgren also shared a few comments about reuniting with Nielsen some 33 years after the release of Rocky IV:
“Whoa, that was surreal. I knew she was in the picture. They told me and when I read the script, I jumped when I read it. I was like, ‘Oh, shit, who came up with this? That’s pretty good.’ Then I was in my trailer getting ready for a scene and somebody comes in and says, ‘Brigitte wants to say hi to you.’ So I said, ‘Okay, send her in.’ She comes in and she was taller than I remember and very, very sweet and nice toe everybody. It just brought back so many memories of the film, her marrying my boss, Mr. Stallone, and I think dramatically it’s a big moment. It’s sort of a turning point in the picture where as an audience you sort of can’t help feeling some pain for Ivan and for his son. When she shows up you realize now she’s married to some other guy and he’s much richer, all of that. It was a big moment for me as an actor to try to play that, the mixed emotions of feeling betrayed but at the same time kind of wanting her back to some extent. I don’t know what came across but there’s something really interesting about that.”
Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.
Creed II sees Steven Caple Jr. directing a cast that includes Michael B. Jordan (Adonis Creed), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa), Tessa Thompson (Bianca), Dolph Lundgren (Ivan Drago), Florian Munteanu (Viktor Drago), Phylicia Rashad (Mary Anne), Wood Harris (Tony ‘Little Duke’ Evers), Andre Ward (Danny ‘Stuntman’ Wheeler), Brigitte Nielsen (Ludmila Drago), Milo Ventimiglia (Rocky Balboa Jr.) and Russell Hornsby (Buddy Marcelle).