Part of the beauty of being an actor is that you can look like a badass onscreen without ever really having to take the kinds of hits real fighters do. That's probably some of the reason why you see boxers and mixed martial artists transitioning to the silver screen when they decide they're tired of getting hit in the face. But for Creed II, actor Michael B. Jordan wasn't interested in remaining untouched. In fact, he kind of wanted to get beat up, as he explained:
I'm competitive. You get me and Florian [Munteanu] --- we both are very competitive. When you've got Sly and Dolph sitting over there and they're talking about the good ol' days, when they used to get in there and slug it out and get hit. They went through it and we kind of wanted to go through it, too.
Michael B. Jordan's competitive spirit is such that even when he's acting opposite an actual boxer who is considerably bigger than him, he still kind of wants to mix it up and take a few real lumps. Adding to this desire, as he told CBS News, was the presence of the real Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago, Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren.
Michael B. Jordan heard the two actors recounting their war stories from Rocky IV, when they would blur the line between acting and actual fighting, throwing punches and taking real hits, and he understandably wanted to have something like that be a part of his own experience. Of course, Dolph Lundgren almost killed Sylvester Stallone on Rocky IV, so probably being a little less rough would be prudent.
He wanted to get beat up a bit, and fortunately, Michael B. Jordan had a willing dance partner to oblige him in Florian Munteanu, who plays Viktor Drago in Creed II. Florian is also competitive and also took inspiration from Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone, and he wanted some real bruises as well.
It's cool that Michael B. Jordan wanted to go through the kind of bonding experience that comes with training together, throwing punches and getting punched back just like Sly and Dolph before him. So maybe one day it will be he and Florian reminiscing about their own good ol' days slugging it out on the set of Creed II.
The other thing about Michael B. Jordan actually wanting to get beat up is it probably gave him just a very small taste of what being a boxer is like, and that could have helped inform his performance in the film.
It sounds like Michael B. Jordan took a few licks while filming, but they're probably nothing compared to what it looks like Adonis Creed has to deal with in the film itself when he faces off with the terrifying Viktor Drago.
You can find out who has their hand raised at the end of the bout when Creed II opens on November 21. Check out our Holiday Movie Guide for this and all the other sequels, blockbusters and awards contenders hitting theaters in the coming months.