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... Stallone KO'd My Love Scenes With his Bride ...
Swedish hunk and Rocky's girl play it real cool

by Fred Robbins, Star, December 17, 1985

Dolph Lundgren, the Swedish hunk who sizzles in "Rocky IV" during his red-hot fight scenes with Sylvester Stallone, had to cool it whenever he was on screen with Sly's real-life love. Statuesque Brigitte Nielsen - who in real-life will marry Stallone later this week - plays the wife of Russian boxing champ Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV." But Stallone wasn't going to sit quietly by and watch her in a clinch with Lundgren, who plays Drago.

"We didn't have too many hot love scenes, if you know what I mean," says Lundgren. "We don't really have a deep love relationship." And Lundgren - whose real-life love is actress Grace Jones - feels things could have become sticky with Sly if such scenes were needed. "If there had been love scenes, there may've been a bit of conflict." Sly, who wrote the script, undoubtedly planned it that way. The role of Rocky Balboa's wife would have been perfect for his bride-to-be. But that part has been played by actress Talia Shire since the original "Rocky," almost a decade ago. So the only role for Brigitte was as Drago's wife.

Behind the scenes, the producer/director/actor kept as close an eye on his new love as he did on the shooting schedule. "She has a minor role in the film," says 6-ft. 5-in. Lundgren. "Most of my work was with Carl Weathers and Sly - even though she's my wife. I don't have many exchanges or even eye contact with her because in the story the Soviets use her as a very beautiful publicist to disarm the opposition, which is very smart."

And Lundgren is glad he did not have to deal with any complications in acting with Sly. They both had to go through hardships, sacrifices and discipline to make "Rocky IV," and jealousy would have played havoc with their close professional and personal relationship. "In this film, we trained for four months before we shot it. We were doing weights and eventually working six hours a day in the gym," says Lundgren, who had to gain 25 lbs. to fill Ivan Drago's boxing trunks. But he stresses that gaining weight isn't always as much fun as it sounds. "You can't eat everything you want," he explains. "Even though you want to gain weight, you still want to look good. You can't look like a slob. You can just eat cheesecake for two weeks and gain a lot of weight. But you want to look good. Actually, it involved a very special diet and a lot of hard working out," he explains.

Making "Rocky IV" was more grueling than he imagined. "It was tough. I mean, the physical part was tougher than I thought it would be," he says. "I've been an athlete for 10 years. But this combination of fighting, boxing and body-building was very tough. That, plus the diet, plus the acting, plus the early mornings."

Lundgren also explains why he got to know Stallone better than most film partners do. "We were the ones who had to get up before anyone else, work out and curse about it, then while everybody else is having pasta and dessert, we had to eat fish and salad. We were the ones who had to stay up at night and watch the boxing tapes, being the ring sweating, getting cold, doing weights together. I saw a different side of him than most people see. And that's his rocky Balboa side. Most people see only his business side and his director side. So on that level, I like him like a friend."

A former kick-boxing champion, Lundgren says Stallone has learned a lot about the fight game making the "Rocky" films. "He actually is a good boxer and gave me some tips when we started the movie. He told me he'd lied to the producers of the original 'Rocky' by saying he could box when he couldn't. At first he was terrible, running around waiving his know, he looked silly. But he has picked it up well. It's like his hobby. I think he'd be a good light heavyweight."


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