... He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) ...
"He-Man is a nobleman, a leader and the quickest of the warriors," says Dolph Lundgren, who portrays the rightful ruler of Eternia with mighty sword in hand.
At six feet, six inches tall and 240 pounds, the blond, muscular Lundgren is physically ideal for the role of He-Man, one of the "Masters of the Universe," but it is the champion's inner qualities that interested him in the character.
"He is an old-fashioned hero of great strength, sensitivity and good humor," Lundgren explains. "He-Man is truly a Renaissance man, and this makes him a tremendous role model for children in these confusing and changing times."
Lundgren is also a Renaissance man whose pursuits range from the scientific and the physical to the artistic and musical. He played trombone and percussion instruments as a teenager in Scandinavia and Germany. Later, while he was studying Chemical Engineering, Lundgren earned his second-degree black belt in karate and became Captain of the Swedish Full-Contact Karate Team. He eventually became a heavyweight karate champion in both Europe and Australia.
"Karate taught me many lessons," comments Lundgren. "For me, it was not just another sport. The concentration, the discipline and self-respect will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Following a stint in the Swedish Marine Corps, Lundgren received a Fulbright scholarship to continue his studies in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A fateful stop in New York en route to Boston changed Lundgren's life forever. "For eight years, my goal had been to become a chemical engineer," he recalls, "but suddenly I realized I didn't want to spend the next three years in a lab."
Trying his hand at acting, Lundgren won a small role as a KGB agent in the 1985 James Bond movie, "A View to a Kill." He soon became world famous in his next performance as Ivan Drago, Sylvester Stallone's imposing Russian opponent in "Rocky IV."
Though originally considered "too tall" for Drago, Lundgren petitioned for the part until he got it. Comparing his distinct roles as Communist nemesis and people's hero, Lundgren notes that his "Rocky IV" performance "was based on the reality of Drago's social background, as well as boxing as a contemporary sport. He-Man however, is a fictional character without a background of reality. You can't do research and find out where He-Man went to high school."
Both of Lundgren's starring roles, of course, have dictated he keep himself in top physical shape. "Playing He-Man was even more physically demanding than being Drago," he observes. "Not only was there a tremendous amount of action, but it was very difficult to keep the energy level up and maintain muscular definition over 45 consecutive days of shooting."
Lundgren's on-the-set regimen included a low-fat, low-sodium, high-carbohydrate-and-protein diet specifically designed by the actor, and regular workouts in a gym outfitted in the back of the truck.
As He-Man, Lundgren is the quintessential hero: strong, handsome, quick-witted and agile. The one-time champion athlete and chemistry scholar has finally discovered a career that requires the use of all his gifts. "Acting has become a substitute for the competition I experienced in sports and academics," Dolph Lundgren says. "It challenges my body, my mind, and for the first time, my emotions."