“Dolph Lundgren walked in, and I hated him immediately,” Stallone said at Cannes

By Matt McNulty
May 28, 2019 11:43 AM

Sylvester Stallone knew he had met his match the second he locked eyes on his Rocky IV costar Dolph Lundgren.

The 72-year-old action star spoke about his legendary career at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. Stallone did not mince words when it came to his fictional boxing opponent, Ivan Dragon, from the 1985 sequel.

“Dolph Lundgren walked in, and I hated him immediately,” Stallone said, according to Vulture.

“I had to find a superhuman being as an opponent, someone who would be overwhelming.” Rocky’s Soviet nemesis fit that bill perfectly, Stallone recalled. “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.”

Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren
Credit: Gisela Schober/Getty; Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Things didn’t get any better as the filming schedule picked up. The actor claimed that Lundgren nearly killed him as the two filmed their big fight scene for the Rocky sequel, leaving Stallone in the hospital for days after just one punch.

Sylvester Stallone
Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

“He hit me so hard he almost stopped my heart,” he said. “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 pair ultimately patched things up, going on to reunite for all three Expendables movies, with a fourth sequel which began filming in April.

'Creed II: La Leyenda De Rocky' Madrid Photocall
Credit: BorjaB.Hojas/COOLMedia/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Stallone’s presence at Cannes coincides with the upcoming release of Rambo V: Last Blood. The actor participated in a career overview before screening a restored print of the 1982 film First Blood. Stallone was joined at his Cannes career retrospective by his wife, Jennifer Flavin, and his daughter, Sistine.

Rambo V: Last Blood hits theaters in the fall.