Sylvester Stallone says he thought he was going to die after being seriously injured during a fight scene for "Rocky IV."
In the 1985 film, Stallone's character, Robert "Rocky" Balboa, and Dolph Lundgren's imposing character, Ivan Drago, face one another in the ring for an intense match-up. And while they bled on screen, what fans may not realize is that Lundgren "pulverized" Stallone for real. The actor revisited his near-death experience on his YouTube channel’s video, "The Making of Rocky vs. Drago by Sylvester Stallone."
"The first thing we shot [was] my entrance, his entrance, and the introductions and then I got really injured during the fight, and I had to be flown into intensive care to California from Canada," he said, according to the New York Post.
"Well, he pulverized me," Stallone continued. "And I didn’t feel it in the moment, but later that night my heart started to swell. My blood pressure went up to 260 and I was going to be talking to angels, next thing I know I’m on this emergency, low-altitude flight."
Stallone recalled lying in bed in intensive care surrounded by nuns. Worse was that, once he had recovered, he had to go back to filming and finish the fight scene. As for Lundgren’s strong hit to his chest — it is "what’s in the original movie," Stallone noted. "How could you take that out?" he said.
In previous interviews unearthed by The Hollywood Reporter, Stallone said he told Lundgren to forget the choreography for the fight scene.
"Just go out there and try to clock me," he recalled telling the actor. "For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all."
Lundgren also spoke about the incident in a separate interview.
"All I did was obey orders," he joked. "He was the boss. I did what he told me. We came back to L.A. and the producer was like, 'Hey Dolph, you’ve got two weeks off — Sly’s in the hospital.'"
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