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Dolph Lundgren
He-Man Masters Hollywood

by William Franklin, Men's Fitness, Vol. 3, N°8, September 1987

Dolph Lundgren may have mastered the universe as He-Man in the upcoming, much ballyhooed Cannon Films release, but conquering Hollywood may be more of a challenge for the Swedish kickboxer-turned cinematic icon.
But Lundgren exudes confidence as he prepares for the anticipated battles with agents, producers and the press. With a triumphant film debut in Rocky IV, as Stallone's ultimate Russian nemesis, and now with the larger-than-life lead performance in Masters of the Universe tucked under his he-man-sized belt, Lundgren seems prepared-even anxious-to go the distance in Tinseltown.
"I've learned a lot about this place," says the six-foot six actor as he muses about his experiences following the success of Rocky IV "Many people in Hollywood have their priorities completely out of sync. There's such an overemphasis on fame and fortune and there's so much that's completely out of the actor's control.
"The stark truth is there is only one way to go if you're at the top," he continues. "Some people are never happy, even when they are at the top. Above everything else, I plan to be happy."
Part of Lundgren's sense of contentment may be attributed to his decision to make a quick exit from the frantic, fast-lane lifestyle that found him out till dawn-one night in New York, the next in Paris or Buenos Aires-usually accompanied by the legendary Grace Jones. Lundgren explains that although his much publicized romance with the dynamic Jones is over, they remain close friends. "We did everything we could, but it just wasn't right and we couldn't force it," he explains.
Currently Lundgren is talking houses, friends and financial security, a whole new lexicon for the once irrepressible late-nighter. "It's time for me to revert to the basics, to have a more normal life. I've been seeing a beautiful Italian-American woman for a couple of months now, and with her my life has calmed down a lot."
The former chemical engineer, who was offered a Fulbright scholarship to study at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may be reverting to basics, but his monumental portrayal of He-Man, produced by the famed Golan-Globus team, is anything but scaled down.
"I had to train for four months for this role," Lundgren says, "and I had to continue to work out daily during the 5l/2-week shoot. Sometimes I'd have to get up at 5 A.M. to get in a 45minute workout during the day. I would break up my exercises, doing my chest in the morning, for example, my shoulders during lunch and putting in some time on the stationary bicycle in the evening. And, of course, I would pump up on the set a lot during the day.
"The combination of training hard and being involved in a lot of action scenes," he explains, "made it essential for me to treat my body well and also to obtain maximum recuperation. So I got regular massages from Drew Francis, who also works on John McEnroe and Chris Evert Lloyd, to stay loose and maintain good muscle tone. And when that isn't enough and I needed some kinks worked out, I relied on my chiropractor, Greg Teft. "My diet was much better planned than it had been for Rocky IV" Lundgren says. "I talked to a number of nutritionists, and the program I came up with was very, very strict. For example, I cut out fats as much as possible. I wouldn't eat bread, dressings or sauces. Everything had to be unprocessed, quality food with high nutrition and no extra calories.
"My fluid intake was water, iced tea and coffee. After a while, I adjusted to always being just a little hungry. I got used to it because I knew that it contributed to how good I looked on screen. But beyond that, being hungry makes you edgy and more aggressive, and I found this contributed to my being able to play He-Man, a character filled with restless energy-just barely under control.
"I playa fantasy character, but I tried to bring some realism to the role. I tried to show a soft side along with a hard side, and to incorporate some wit and intelligence along with the brawn. He-Man is larger than life, but he's also a Renaissance man."
When quizzed about his own attitudes, Lundgren responds, "My sense of what it means to be a man in the '80s revolves around a balance between one's emotional side and one's physical side. There has to be a balance there. The combination of emotionality and physicality creates a kind of sensuality I think is essential for contemporary man."
Lundgren expresses admiration for Marion Brando, an actor he sees as possessing a winning combination of the overtly physical and the unapologetically vulnerable. "Brando was the first to play the likable villain. The Wild One was a great image. I would like to play those kinds of roles, not the sugar-soft kind. Or a good kind of guy who's slightly unlikable. You've got to have those two sides, other-wise you're boring." Lundgren is unlikely to bore audiences with his next project, in which he will playa chiaroscuro, good-bad character: an assassin with a heart of gold. "I'm looking forward to filming in Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa. It's an R-rated action/adventure/ drama with political overtones." The as yet untitled Warner Bros. project is currently in preproduction, with a start day slated for mid-August.
Lundgren insists that it's probably his European upbringing that has inculcated in him his "dark side." "Europeans tend to have a slightly more decadent, raw, sensual side to them, which is why the press in Europe seems much more responsive to me. Many Americans don't pick this up." Lundgren's future plans include making the kind of "art films" most often produced in Europe, as well as the more commercially oriented audience-pleasers he insists American filmmakers do so well. "In the States everything revolves around the dollar," he says. "Commercial success is everything. I would like to do the small art film as well as the big American box-office hit. Ultimately, as with everything else, there has to be a balance. And a balance in Hollywood is not easy to achieve."