a 1987 Cannes Festival press conference, producer Menahem Golan
declared Dolph Lundgren would appear in three Masters of
the Universe films. Lundgren let him talk silently and
later denounced the mess on the set of the original. After he
refused the sequel, it seems Cannon seeked desperately for a
new He-Man and even published an ad in Premiere magazine...
was a product of what could have been a career shifting period
of my life. I knew that Cannon had the rights to "Spider-Man"
and sequel rights to "Masters of the Universe".
I also knew that the "Spider-Man" rights were
about to expire. I proposed to Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus
that I make both pictures back to back in North Carolina (at
De Laurentiis' studio in Wilmington). Cannon agreed. And I cast
both pictures. I can't remember who we cast for Peter Parker,
but big wave surfer Laird Hamilton was cast as He-Man (replacing
Brooklyn sets for "Spider-Man" were built on
the Wilmington stages and I had a number of creative discussions
with Stan Lee and Joe Calamari of Marvel. I had wanted to use
the Black Spidey costume, but this was vetoed. The script was
based on the original story only. The budget was my largest at
$6 million. "Masters of the Unverse 2" was based
on my story. Sets and costumes were built. The film was fully
cast. Mattel Toys had a great many approvals and it was a trying
process getting everything okayed by the corporate giant. It
had a budget of $4.5 million.
The concept was to shoot 2 weeks of "Spider-Man"
first. The section of Peter Parker's story before he was bitten.
Then we would shoot 6 weeks of "Masters 2".
The actor cast to play Parker would undergo a streneuous 8 week
workout regimen supervised by a fitness professor at UCLA, Dr.
Eric Sternlicht to build size and muscle mass. After shooting
"Masters 2" we would resume shooting "Spider-Man".
Two weeks away from shooting, it was discovered that Cannon had
bounced the rights check to Marvel, canceling the deal and it
was discovered that Mattel was owed a large rights payment as
well. With Cannon in deep financial straights, the negotiations
with Marvel and Mattel fell apart! Remember this was 1988 and
the junk bond market which had fueled Cannon's rise had collapsed.
Having spent well over $2 million on sets, costumes, and prep,
Cannon was desperate to find away to recoup their spend. I suggested
we do a film that could utilize as much of what had been built
and prepped and that would cost very little in addition. I wrote
a first draft of what became "Cyborg" over a
weekend and brought in a young actor - who wanted to be a screenwriter
- to do polishes. His name was Don Michael Paul and he has gone
on to write and direct "Half Past Dead" and
Harley Davidson and the "Marlboro Man".
I was interested in Chuck Norris to star as he was under contract
to Cannon. Instead Menahem suggested a Belgian kickboxer they
had just starred in "Bloodsport". That's how
Van Damme became the lead. His accent was so thick, that we had
to change the character from an over the hill ex-Army Ranger
to what the Gibson character became. It pretty much gutted the
What I remember most from the film was exhaustion. The turnabout
from prepping to shoot "Spider-Man" and "Masters
2" to writing and shooting "Cyborg"
was punishing. We had to figure out ways to use what had been
built and created for two different films in a short period of
time. As I recall, the budget on "Cyborg" was
less than $500,000 including Van Damme's salary. It was shot
in 24 days of principal. All in all, my expectations were quite
low for the film's success given the mad circumstances."
by Albert Pyun from La
Cosa Fantastico, #113 July 2005 (translated from Spanish),
Interview by Nicanor
Loreti. Thanks to Mighty McT for providing the info!
"Laird Hamilton takes
over Dolph Lundgren's He-Man role in Cannon's "Masters of
the Universe II." Albert Pyun directs the sequel, which
takes the superhero to Earth disguised as a football quarterback."
Angeles Times / January 24, 1988) Thanks to
Mighty McT for providing the info!
the time I was proposed it, I was shooting Red Scorpion.
Masters of the Universe was a nightmare. 5 months of filming,
2 by night. The studio had big troubles and the budget was huge.
And it was first starring role. It was very tough. In general
I don't like myself on a screen, but there... There are yet some
special effects, some sequences to save. Not more. I'd like to
forget. On the other hand, it helped me in my career and taught
me a lot. Masters of the Universe was number one in rental
videos in England but I didn't get much money in the story. Anyway,
what counts it what we want to become."
Dolph Lundgren in Impact, #20, April 1989 (translated
Loundgroun will still shoot a few Masters of the Universe
episodes, the company Cannon welcome him, we predict him a bright
Menahem Golan in Starfix, special Action et Aventure #2,
June 1989 (translated from French)
He-Man was pretty much my lowest point as an actor","it
was a kids' movie. How much could I do as an actor when I was
running around in swim trunks and chest armor? There was talk
of my doing a second one, but I wasn't available, and from what
I understand, the whole idea of a sequel fell through."
Lundgren in Comics Scene, # 9, Summer 1989
expensive, the film looses a few million dollars, which doesn't
keep Golan from announcing its sequel, that Albert Pyun must
direct. Aware of his hunk hero's lack of personality, Swedish
Dolph Lundgren refuses categoricaly to retake service, denouncing
monstrous mess that reigned on the set"
from Mad Movies, # 61, September 1989 (translated from
of the Universe, Red Scorpion 2, The Punisher 2
and even the sequel of Cover Up... The list of sequels
projects on Dolph's agent desk is long." from
Impact, # 30, December 1990 (translated from French)
is said you needed change as the shooting of Masters of the
Universe ended... -Yes. At this time, I knew I wouldn't
do in any case a sequel, which would bring me to B movies or
worse. I had to change. I wanted to be able to play any kinds
of roles. I can do love films, comedies, drama, not only action
from Cine-News, #28, January 1991 (translated from French)
there were plans to make a sequel to that dreadful live-action
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE movie! They already had the sets ready
when the project fell apart. They still had these sets they had
spent money on, and Golan-Globus aren't guys to let things go
to waste, so they decided to put together another film project
with the specific purpose of using those sets. That movie, born
from the ashes of the never produced MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
sequel, is the Albert Pyun masterpiece CYBORG, starring master
thespian Jean-Claude Van Damme!"