Dolph Lundgren Nearly Punched Sylvester Stallone on ‘Expendables’ Set Over Tense Direction: ‘I’m Gonna Knock Him Out and F— This Movie’
Dolph Lundgren revealed on “In Depth With Graham Bensinger” that he nearly punched Sylvester Stallone during the making of their 2010 ensemble action movie “The Expendables.” Stallone helmed the film himself, marking the second time he directed Lundgren in a movie after 1985’s “Rocky IV.”
“We had some good times and bad times, kinda like family to some degree,” Lundgren said about his long-standing working relationship with Stallone. “He was very harsh on me in a scene in ‘The Expendables’ where he kinda yelled at me in front of the whole crew and had me do about 20 takes on a scene. It was like, ‘My grandmother could do it better than that. What the fuck, what are you doing?’ You know, basically in front of everybody. And there was press there that day too, international press.”
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Lundgren continued, “We took a lunch break and I remember I was kind of in tears. I was really upset. I called my wife that time and I basically just told her, ‘If he says one more word, I’m gonna knock him out and fuck this movie, I’m outta here. I’m just gonna punch him out and fucking leave.’ And I think when I walked on the set, people felt it wasn’t such a good vibration. And then I had a tap on the back and it was Sly. And he was like, ‘Uh, I’m sorry about that. Let’s just do another take and let’s just keep moving on.’ And we’ve had a few run-ins over the years, but what can I say, he’s a crazy Italian. I think he knows that I’ve always respected him and loved him, and I think that’s why we’re still friends.”
Lundgren and Stallone remain close, with Lundgren even appearing in Stallone’s new Paramount+ reality series “The Family Stallone.” Both actors reprised their “Rocky” roles in 2018’s “Creed II.” MGM announced last year it was developing a new “Rocky” spinoff movie centered on the Drago family. Lundgren starred as Rocky’s Russian rival Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV,” while Florian Munteanu debuted as Ivan’s son in “Creed II.” Robert Lawton was hired to pen the script. Stallone spoke out publicly against the spinoff and said he was never told about its development.
“By the way, I have nothing but respect for Dolph but I wish HE had told me what was going on behind my back,” Stallone said at the time, hinting at tension between the actors. “Keep your REAL friends close.”
Lundgren then got involved by telling “Rocky” fans to relax. “Just to set the record straight regarding a possible ‘Drago’ spinoff. There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor,” Lundgren wrote. “There was a press leak last week which was unfortunate. In touch with Mr. Balboa – just so all the fans can relax… There ya go.”
Stallone and Lundgren have since squashed their beef. The actors went on to headline two “Expendables” sequels together, 2012’s “The Expendables 2” and 2014’s “The Expendables 3,” and they’ve got “The Expendables 4” opening in theaters on Sept. 22 from Lionsgate.
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