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Michael B. Jordan and Sly Stallone Talk Creed

November 20, 2015

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By: Lynn Barker

The film Creed presents the aging champion boxer Rocky Balboa in a new light; as a coach and mentor to the struggling son of his biggest rival Apollo Creed who has passed on. Young Adonis, “Donny” Creed, played by a very in-shape Michael B. Jordan, wants to make it on his own in the fight game without using his dad’s famous name. Can the process of readying young Creed for a champion match save both the young boxer and the aging Rocky who feels he doesn’t have too much to live for anymore?

Rocky coaches Adonis CreedRocky coaches Adonis CreedCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Legend Sylvester “Sly” Stallone and Michael B. Jordan got together in L.A. to talk about the Rocky legacy and this very involving new film. It’s time for a whole new generation of Rocky fans!

Can I live up to my dad's fame?Can I live up to my dad's fame?Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  Sly, when you were approached to do yet another Rocky film, what were your immediate thoughts?

  • Sly: I said, “No, no, no.”  It was such a struggle to get the last one done and I was so happy with Rocky Balboa (2006), and the conclusion of Rocky's story is over with, so I thought we don't need to go any further with it.  I dismissed this idea but there's a whole other generation out there, two generations since Rocky started...their story has not been told.  I thought it's very ingenious, then I finally agreed to do it after I was shamed for my narrow-mindedness.

Adonis asks Rocky to train himAdonis asks Rocky to train himCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:   Sly, you always told us the great story of how you created Rocky.  Can you believe how this has gone on for so many decades?  How does it make you feel?  And who do you miss the most from the cast who's not here anymore?

  • Sly:  Of course Adrian (Rocky’s wife played by Talia Shire), numero uno.  She was the heart and soul of the whole thing.  I was just thinking about it the other day. What's amazing is this character and the stories have stayed around without any special effects, any car chases, blowing up anything, which is what I usually do.  Seriously, no bullets, no cursing, no sex scenes, nothing.  That's why I think it's just so phenomenal, that a generation that wasn't around when we did the third one, forget the first one, that they would embrace this and take it to a new level.  
  • I am very proud, and stunned. Here we are in the seventh one, but actually you're in Creed one, so Rocky's story is done. Hopefully this is a beginning of a whole new series and it just continues to go on.  The stories are very now, as opposed to retro.

Rocky thinks this kid may have what it takesRocky thinks this kid may have what it takesCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  Michael, you're part of a 40 year legacy right now.  Your reaction, your gratitude...Is it anxiety?  Is it pressure?  Talk about that.

  • Michael: It's more an honor to be accepted into this legendary world that's been around for 40 years; longer than I've been alive and to be trusted with these characters that Sly built his career on, it's an honor.  The team that we have, I never felt more safe and willing to take risks and chances, experiment. Sly did the biggest thing for me and that was take that pressure off of me. (He told me) not worry about competing or try to live up to what the Rocky (films) were, just to be myself and do what we were meant to do. 

Ready to trainReady to trainCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Creed - Official Trailer

 

Q:  Cool. Sly, it's touching to see Rocky’s transformation after he’s been sick and lost a little bit of hair in this film. How was the experience for you, especially after playing this character for 40 years.

  • Sly:  Yes, truthfully when you sit in the (makeup) chair and you come in as one person then you open up your eyes an hour and a half later and you've been transformed into a person who's not healthy, it's very relatable.  This is makeup, but this is what people live through every day, and this is their destiny.  I went, “My God, I have a big time responsibility to try to take this very seriously.”, and I did, and it helped with the acting.  

An ill Rocky thinks about his futureAn ill Rocky thinks about his futureCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: How did playing Rocky as ill affect you? (Note: He isn’t ill throughout the movie).

  • Sly: I became much more sympathetic to other people.  Their destiny is pretty fraught with danger and despair and pain. It made me definitely realize that the clock is ticking because any day age could flip the coin on us and take away our health.  It opened my eyes and made me very very aware of mortality. Well that’s depressing (laughter).

Adonis challenges Rocky to fight his own battleAdonis challenges Rocky to fight his own battleCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  Michael, it must be great stepping into Creed's shoes.  Can you talk about what you did to get in shape for this?  Was Sly very tough on you with all of the workouts and transformation?

  • Michael:  Sly told me I worked too hard!  As far as getting in shape, the biggest thing was time.  I had the opportunity to start training, change my diet dramatically, and be consistent with working out.  (The director) surrounded me with great boxing minds and I literally was a sponge and tried to pick up as much as I could from everybody while we were still trying to define what style Adonis was going to fight in, what type of fighter he was going to be.  We tried to pick out some memorable fighters that kind of fit the character and went from there. 

Faster! Faster!Faster! Faster!Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  Who were those fighters?

  • Michael:  Timothy Bradley was definitely one.  CP Parnell was another one that I loved his style, the way he evaded punches and slip and whatnot, so those are two for sure.  And then learning from Andre Ward was very beneficial.

Michael B. Jordan as Adonis CreedMichael B. Jordan as Adonis CreedCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q:  Sly, we know you as a boxer, a director, a writer, as an actor... I believe this is the first Rocky you did not write, is that correct?

  • Sly:  That's correct.

Q:  What was your input in this film beyond being an actor?  Did you talk with the producer about Rocky in general?

  • Sly:  Well actually, we spoke mostly about basically about what Rocky, his flow, the way he processes.  He doesn't just answer immediately.  Or if he has something to say to you, it usually comes around in a roundabout way.  It's just so when you write something for him, it's more convoluted.  It's usually very gentle, it's not confrontational, it's polite, he's kind of shy in a way.  After that, everything just fell into place, it was wonderful. 

Should I give up?Should I give up?Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Creed is in theaters Wednesday, November 25th!!

Creed Movie PosterCreed Movie PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros.
Have Your Say

Have you seen the Rocky movies on home video or T.V.? Are you a Michael B. Jordan fan? Lay down a comment below!