Drago is saying Drag-no to a rumored “Rocky” spin-off.
Dolph Lundgren took to Instagram to clarify his involvement in a Drago-centric installment in the “Rocky” franchise after a “press leak last week” that led Sylvester Stallone to slam producer Irwin Winkler for “picking clean the bones” of the franchise Stallone founded.
MGM was said to be developing a new “Rocky” and “Creed” spin-off centered on Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and his son, played by Florian Munteanu. Lundgren believed Stallone was involved in the “Rocky” spin-off, either as a producer or an actor. Lundgren portrayed Drago in both “Rocky IV” and “Creed 2.”
“Just to set the record straight regarding a possible Drago spin-off, 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 captioned a photo alongside Stallone.
Lundgren continued, “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’s feud with “Rocky” producer Winkler has been at the center of controversy, especially following the news of the “Drago” spin-off film.
“Another Heartbreaker…” Stallone wrote last week. “Just found this out…ONCE AGAIN , this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me.”
Stallone added, “I APOLOGIZE to the FANS , I never wanted ‘ROCKY’ characters to be exploited by these parasites…By the way, I have nothing but respect for Dolph but I wish HE had told me what was going on behind my back.…Keep your REAL friends close.”
In since-deleted Instagram posts, Stallone claimed that Winkler blocked the release of “at least another three ‘Rocky’” films that “would’ve been wonderful” especially for fans. Stallone penned a follow-up Instagram post claiming there is an ownership dispute over the half-century-long franchise. The actor wrote the screenplay for Best Picture Oscar-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Stallone was later nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2015 for reprising the role for spin-off “Creed.”
“After IRWIN controlling ‘ROCKY’ for over 47 years, and now ‘CREED,’ I really would like have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN,” Stallone captioned. “I believe That would be a FAIR gesture from this 93 year old gentleman? This is a painful subject that eats at my soul , because I wanted to leave something of ‘Rocky’ for my children, but it’s always great hearing from the loyal fans…Keep Punching.”
Stallone previously told Variety in 2019 that he has “zero ownership” of “Rocky.”
“Every word, every syllable, every grammatical error was all my fault,” Stallone said. “It was shocking that it never came to be, but I was told, ‘Hey, you got paid, so what are you complaining about?’ I was furious.”
He added, “I mentioned it a few times because after ‘Rocky II’ came out and made a ton of money and then ‘Rocky III’ hit and made more than all of them, I said I’d like to have some ownership since I invented it. And that never happened.”
Stallone explained that he confronted the studio before “Rocky IV” in 1985 in part over licensing deals, saying, “Does it bother you guys that I’ve written every word, I’ve choreographed it, I’ve been loyal to you, I’ve promoted it, directed it and I don’t have 1 percent that I could leave for my children?” only to be told, “‘You got paid.’ And that was the end of the conversation.”