Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Dolph Lundgren discusses working on the new action film The Best Man and shares an update on the development of an Ivan Drago spinoff movie.

The Best Man brings a new spin to the classic action formula, evoking the single-location tension of movies like Die Hard while swapping out a tall office building for a spacious desert resort. The film tells the story of a wedding gone wrong; a group of mercenaries crash the event, only to find that many of the guests are former Special Ops soldiers. The film was directed by Shane Dax Taylor, who also put his own mark on the screenplay by C. Alec Rossel and story by Daniel Zirilli.

For the central character of Anders, Taylor turned to an action legend, enlisting Dolph Lundgren for the role. Lundgren first shot to fame thanks to his scene-stealing starring role and character-saving turn as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, and has gone on to appear in a number of beloved franchises including The Expendables and Aquaman. Lundgren’s character in The Best Man is also a great foil and companion for that of his co-Star Luke Wilson, and both actors shine across their dramatic and action moments alike.

Dolph Lundgren spoke with Screen Rant about his work on The Best Man and the status of the rumored Ivan Drago Rocky-verse spinoff film.

Dolph Lundgren on The Best Man

Dolph Lundgren: When I was younger, it was easier to play a villain because you have less rules. Usually, a good guy is more nuanced, emotionally, so it’s a little more of a challenge. I like both, except I think the best characters are in the gray zone.

I was lucky enough in the first Aquaman to play a character, who is kind of a political figure, who is on one side, and then his daughter gets involved in something, and he switches sides. And the same in Creed II; [my character had] a redeeming quality. It’s always good to start out with a character who is questionable, morally, or [in] his allegiance or her allegiance, and then you can have an arc. The arc is really what you’re after.

If you play good guy, yeah, you can make it funny and interesting without the arc, but if you have the arc, it usually makes it more enjoyable for the audience. So, whether you’re a good guy or a bad guy, if it’s well written, it’s well written. I think what was interesting about this character wasn’t the fact that he was a good guy, but it was that he was a fun-loving devil-may-care type of guy who is kind of drunk [for] half of the movie, at least. I had a chance to play around with that a little bit as an actor.

This is kind of the first jump into action for your director and for your co-star Luke Wilson. Did you have any advice for them, as someone who’s done so much of that?

Dolph Lundgren: No, Luke did great. He was fabulous. We mostly had some dramatic scenes together. We had a couple of little shoot-outs, but he was great. They had good stunt people on set. I enjoyed him as an actor; he was very cool.

The first thing we did together was in the bar, that bar scene, and he just came in improvising, going, “Somebody told me there’s a big blonde guy sitting in the bar here.” It wasn’t in the script, and I just played along with him, relaxed. I became quite a nice scene.

Is improvising something you do often in a scene, or are you newer to it?

Dolph Lundgren: It depends on the material, I think. If you’re doing Aquaman and the writing is very precise, because sometimes there’s information in there that audience needs to get into a certain way, it’s hard to improvise. [With] more modern material, you can do that. Sometimes it frees you up quite a bit as an actor, and you realize that it doesn’t matter how you say it, as long as it comes out real [and] organic. Even in rehearsal, I tend to improvise a little bit around the line. Then, you can still use the real line when the cameras roll, even though you may play with it in rehearsal just to kind of soften it up a bit.

I know you were on a tight shooting schedule with this one on top of their being choreography to learn and relationships to establish. What was the most challenging part of doing this film?

Dolph Lundgren: I think you’re right, it was the schedule. When you’re shooting, you don’t have that much time to go back and re-shoot things or think about it four times. You have to think about it once.

I rehearsed a lot. I like to rehearse a lot at home. I prefer to be quite prepared so I know the relationships. I know how I feel about all the other characters and the events so that when I show up on set, it just becomes real in that moment. It ends up feeling very, very organic, and even if you don’t have that much time, you know what to do.

I think the toughest is the action. When you’re trying to do the action on a schedule, that’s hard. I had my stunt double do stuff for me as well. They actually shot with him after I left, like a second unit idea, which they do in a lot of big movies too.

There have been rumors of an Ivan Drago film, and your character’s son was in Creed III. How is your return to that world looking right now?

Dolph Lundgren: Yeah, MGM has a project on the books. There’s been a script that nobody really liked. Now, they’re, as far as I know, looking for new writer, and to try to tap back into that world.

There was a movie I did called Creed II, where it kind of opens, actually, in Ukraine. So, it’s interesting. Now, it’s more interesting than it was 2018. The idea was to sort of go back and start back in Ukraine again, in Kyiv, but now, of course, there is war going on. There’s a reason for a father and son to come to America. So it’s a little bit of an immigration slash fighter story. I thought it was a great idea, but you’ve got to find the right person to write it, and that’s what’s going on right now.

About The Best Man

Luke Wilson (3:10 to Yuma) and Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) star in this pulse-pounding, action-packed thriller. When a team of ruthless mercenaries violently seize control of a remote resort hotel, former Special Ops soldiers attending their best friend’s wedding must rely only on their wits and training to combat the terrorists and save the hostages held for ransom.

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