Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone keeps dropping behind-the-scenes details of his early relationship with his Rocky IV costar Dolph Lundgren and the natural tension between the two imposing males. There’s a reason Stallone chose Lundgren as The Italian Stallion’s nemesis – the pair’s chemistry was palpable and the ‘Rocky’ franchise lead wanted a visceral reaction from the audience.

Trouble Casting Ivan Drago

Fox News reported that while appearing on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Thursday night to promote his new movie Rambo, Stallone started talking about the iconic Rocky movie franchise. He explained that it was difficult finding someone to cast as Rocky Balboa’s nemesis, Ivan Drago, in Rocky IV until he found Dolph Lundgren.

“In ‘Rocky IV’ I really wanted a big, horrible, vicious guy,” Stallone confessed. “Like a primitive. And I couldn’t find him. I’m finding giant wrestlers and football players and that. And then all of a sudden the door opened, the smoke came in, there’s light. [He had a] proceeding hairline, shoulders this wide, everything was perfect.”

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Stallone “Hated” Lundgren

Surprisingly, Stallone said that he “hated” Lundgren when he first met him.

“Even his calves were coming through his clothing. Just muscular,” the star continued. “Blue eyes are staring into my soul. He was the real Terminator, and I was like, ‘I hate this guy. He’s too perfect. And if I loathe him, I’m sure the world will.’ He’s not really, but he looks like something from a thousand years into the future.”

Although Stallone “hated” Lundgren while they filmed the 1985 movie, they have gone on to be good friends in real life and have remained close since the movie’s release.

“There’s an idea we’ve come up with called ‘The International,’” Stallone explained. “It deals with the UN but it’s a different kind of UN, a little hardcore. There’s a lot of action in it but it also really feeds into who Dolph is, because he is international. He’s incredibly intelligent, so he’s going to bring a different spin to the whole thing.”

Last year, Stallone and Lundgren reprised their Rocky IV characters in the movie Creed II.

Lundgren Nearly Killed Stallone

This comes months after Stallone revealed at the Cannes Film Festival that Lundgren nearly killed him while they were filming a fight scene for Rocky IV.

“He hit me so hard he almost stopped my heart,” Stallone recalled. “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.”

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Stallone later added that the impact of this felt like a car crash. Thankfully, he survived to tell the tale!

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