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Lost Action Heroes

#2 L U N D G R EN

by Nick de Semlyen, Empire (UK), #213, March 2007


BORN: November 3, 1957 in Stockholm, Sweden

FIRST SEEN IN: A View To A Kill (1985)

LAST SEEN IN: The Mechanik (2006)

AKA: Venz, Drago, Lance Rockford

KILLER ONE-LINER: "Fuck you spaceman!" (I Come In Peace)

SAMPLE TAGLINE: They think they control him. Think again..." (Red Scorpion)

DID YOU KNOW?: Lundgren is a keen student of history. When in London, he often visits the Imperial War Museum.


Talk us through your fighting style:
I trained in traditinal karate, Kyokushinkai. But being a big guy, 6'5, I rely on power. Not a lot of fast, kung-fu-like movements. More like one kick, one punch.

Do you do your own stunts?
I won't do fire gags. I've done a couple of crazy things: a motorcycle-to-truck jump in Red Scorpion, whih was idiotic, and a high fall for Masters of The Universe. It was a three-storey drop and as I went out I realised there were no crash boxes below. Someone had fallen asleep. (Laughs) The good old 80's.

When were you last in a real fight?
I've only knocked people out once or twice. In a drnken bar fight people can throw 20-30 punches and nobody gets hurt. With people who know what they're doing, it's different. You don't want to be involved, especially if you have a name.

What's your workout routine?
I tend to train early in the morning, like 4 am. I used to do 1,000 pull ups, sit ups and front kicks a day each. Now I don't really max out that much.

What did you do before you got into movies?
I worked as a doorman. When I think back, I didn't realise how well-trained I was. I could easily have killed somebody. I came close to it once or twice, but the cops were pretty cool. I studied Chemical engineering in Sweden, America and then Australia. They ha a karate club at the University of Sydney and I ended up doing security for Grace Jones, with whom I had a little affair. After a few months in New Yrk, I didn't feel like goingback to test tubes.

How did you break into Hollywood?
Within 8 months of studyng acting, I was in California training with Stallone for Rocky 4. Iwent from being this Swedish kid riding hs bike to the gym, to facing 200 journalists, being asked about cold war policy. Then I wore a G-string for a year for He-Man, showing every molecule of my body.

What do you think is your best film?
One I think is very uderrated is I Come In Peace, about the crazy alien guy who comes down to collect endorphins from peopes brains. And Universal Soldier was fun, cos it was all the bg guys. I don't what's going on- I keep excersising and the stars get smaller and smaller. The Rock's a big guy but...I guess we're a dying breed.

Any regrets?
Probably a dozen. (Laughs) I can see a movie and think, "Oh my god, this is shit. Can I pull a hit on the director?" Then after a while you go, "Ah, whatever, it was a payday. I learnt a lot." How did I get involved in Fat Slags? That's a good question. I'd ask that agent of mine, but he's sunk in the Thames River. (Laughs)

What's the best fight or stunt you've done?
Roky comes to mind. It toook us a whole five months to prepare, but most people agree it's one f the top ten movie fights ever.

What movies do you enjoy?
A lot of westerns. Man On Fire was great. And I'm into 70's flicks like Point Blank.

What do you think of other action stars?
You know, I was thinking today, it would be great to make movie with the 80's action rat pack: Jean-Claude and a few others. There are issues with schedules and age and so on, but maybe I'll be the one to make it happen. I was talking to Chuck Norris' people about doing something with him, maybe an action comedy...

What do you do outside of movies?
I'm a little bit of a car enthusiast, nothing too serious. Now I have a great great family and feel very insulated from all the Hollywood BS.

Is there a Lundgren life philosophy?
You can't sum it up in one sentence, but I suppose that bing fit and trying to take care of my body.

What ambitions do you have left?
To enjoy a normal life and have a career. I love the business but if you get too close to it, it can mess with your head. I haven't always concentrated 100% on my job, put it that way.

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