“He walked into the room and I hated him”: Sylvester Stallone Reveals Why He Chose Dolph Lundgren For Rocky 4

Sylvester Stallone's candid hatred and the unlikely casting choice of Dolph Lundgren for the iconic Rocky IV role.

"He walked into the room and I hated him": Sylvester Stallone Reveals Why He Chose Dolph Lundgren For Rocky 4


  • Sylvester Stallone's admission of personal dislike shaped the unconventional choice of Dolph Lundgren, adding depth to the casting of Rocky IV.
  • Sylvester Stallone's casting of Lundgren in Rocky IV stemmed from a visceral reaction and admiration for the actor's physical attributes.
  • Stallone's quest for a fierce Drago led to a dramatic encounter, emphasizing the challenges and meticulous casting decisions in filmmaking.
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In the rough terrain of Hollywood’s iconic action cinema, few figures have carved a mark as enduring as Rocky Balboa. The fourth chapter of the legendary Rocky saga sparked curiosity, not only for its captivating narrative but also for Sylvester Stallone’s unexpected pick of Dolph Lundgren as the formidable antagonist. 

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Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky

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Stallone’s choice to cast the 66-year-old as the imposing Ivan Drago remained veiled in mystery. So, what compelled the actor to make this intriguing decision? 

Sylvester Stallone Clarified The Choice Of Dolph Lundgren For Rocky IV

In demystifying the rationale behind his casting choices. Sylvester Stallone has recently shared insights into the selection of Dolph Lundgren to portray the formidable Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

dolph lundgren (via his instagram)
Dolph Lundgren (via his Instagram)

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This revelation comes as the two aging actors gear up to co-star in Creed II, setting the stage for another epic clash between a Russian and an American boxer. It intensified the narrative as they sought vengeance for Apollo Creed’s death.


Regarded as a fan favorite in Stallone’s boxing franchise. Rocky IV commenced with a fateful bout between the Russian powerhouse, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), and the American hero, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Resulting in Creed’s tragic demise in the ring.

Stallone’s decision to cast Lundgren was unveiled during a candid discussion at An Experience With. The actor delved into the visceral reaction he had upon meeting Lundgren, admitting


“He walked into the room and I Hated him. This guy Jump the evolution scale by about a thousand years. He’s 6’6”, he has hair that you need a lawnmower to cut, cheekbones that look like a Harley, and lips that they’re so big that if he flew over 10,000 feet they would explode…Neck, shoulders.”  

Beyond the intimidating appearance. Stallone acknowledged Lundgren’s genius, adding a layer of complexity to the character of Drago.

While Lundgren’s imposing presence undeniably enriched the cinematic experience. Stallone also previously disclosed the challenges he faced in finding a man capable of convincingly embodying the role of Drago.


Nevertheless, the artist had earlier also disclosed the challenge of finding a suitable actor to credibly portray Drago.

Sylvester Stallone Detailed The Difficulty In Finding A Credible Drago Performer

Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables
Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables

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Delving into the intricacies of casting for Rocky IV. The 77-year-old navigated the challenges of securing an actor to authentically portray the iconic character, Ivan Drago.

Expressing the difficulty in finding a credible Drago performer, Stallone emphasized the meticulous process of selection. As per TheWrap, Stallone shared the arduous journey of seeking a suitable actor for Drago, stating,


“I wanted in ‘Rocky IV,’ I really wanted a big, horrible vicious guy, like a primitive, and I couldn’t find him.” 

Further, the First Blood star added,

“I was finding giant wrestlers and football players, and then all of the sudden, the doors open, smoke comes in, there’s light, there’s the proceeding hair line and shoulders this wide. Everything is perfect. Even his calves were coming through his closing. He was muscular.”

Wrestlers and football players fell short until, dramatically, a perfect candidate emerged (Lundgren). A figure with an imposing physique, flawless features, and even impressive calves.


Stallone’s account is an interplay of suspense and revelation. It underscores the challenges in identifying the right fit for a character of Drago’s magnitude. This narrative complexity mirrors the complexity of the casting process itself.


Written by Muskan Chaudhary

Muskan Chaudhary, Junior Content Writer at Fandom wire. Having completed her degree in Commerce, she has written over 500 articles spanning FandomWire and Animated Times in the pop culture. She is dedicated to bring the latest and informative content from the entertainment world, thus expanding her knowledge in the field. Apart from her contributions to FandamWire, she has a keen interest in video games, sketching and playing tennis.