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Sylvester Stallone Slams "Rocky" Co-Star for Going "Behind His Back"

The actor who brought Rocky Balboa to life isn't happy about plans for a new spinoff film.

They battled it out in the ring and now they're taking it to social media. On July 31, Rocky star and writer Sylvester Stallone shared now-deleted Instagram posts in which he called out the producers of the franchise and his franchise co-star Dolph Lundgren in relation to a reported new spinoff movie titled Drago. Lundgren was introduced as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and reprised the role in 2018's Creed II. The two actors also appeared together in The Expendables franchise.

In his Instagram posts, Stallone complained that he was not made aware of the Drago movie and accused Lundgren of going "behind his back" to work on it. Lundgren responded in his own post, attempting to clarify the situation. Read on to see what happened and why Stallone is so upset about the state of the Rocky franchise.

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Stallone has been lashing out at Rocky producers.

Sylvester Stallone at the 2016 Oscars
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

As reported by Entertainment Tonight, Stallone recently posted a photo on Instagram of himself in character as Rocky Balboa, with producer Irwin Winkler, whose image was edited to include vampire fangs and blood. The 76-year-old actor wrote in the caption, "After IRWIN WINKLER And FAMILY SUCK ROCKY DRY ! Presumed to be the most hated , untalented , decrepited [sic], Producer in Hollywood and his cowardly children have found their next meal… Drago ?"

He continued, "Throughout history so many artists in every industry ,recording , painting writing , you name it have been destroyed by these blood suckers Who have destroyed so many families , lining their pockets with other people work.. #parasite producers #exploited artists victims."

Ninety-one-year-old Winkler has produced many popular movies, including all the Rocky films, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and The Irishman. According to Vanity Fair, although Stallone created Rocky and wrote and directed many of the films in the franchise, he did not retain the rights to the character.

Stallone also blamed Lundgren.

Dolph Lundgren at the European premiere of "Creed II" in 2018
Tom Rose / Shutterstock

In another post, Stallone called out Lundgren for his involvement in the planned spinoff. He wrote, according to ET, "By the way, I once had nothing but respect for Dolph but he NEVER told me about what was going on behind my back with the character I created for him !!! REAL FRIENDS Are more precious than gold."

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Lundgren told fans he was in touch with Stallone about the drama.

Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone at a screening of "The Expendables" in 2010
Dmytro Larin / Shutterstock

On July 31, Lundgren responded to Stallone's accusation with his own Instagram post. Alongside a photo of himself and his co-star, he wrote, "Just to set the record straight regarding a possible Drago spinoff. There's no approved script, no deals in place, no director and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor. There was a press leak last week which was unfortunate. In touch with Mr Balboa – just so all the fans can relax…There ya go."

News of the Drago-focused spinoff just broke.

Florian Munteanu and Dolph Lundgren at the premiere of "Creed II" in 2018
Ron Adar / Shutterstock

News of a Drago spinoff being in the works went public on July 28. The Wrap reported that the film would be a spinoff of the Creed franchise, which is already a continuation of the Rocky universe focused on Apollo Creed's (Carl Weathers) son, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan). Stallone co-starred as Rocky in both Creed and Creed II, and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in the first film.

According to The Wrap, plot details for Drago are being kept secret, but the movie would focus on Ivan Drago (Lundgren) and his son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who was featured in Creed II.

A third Creed movie is also on the way. It's set to hit theaters in March 2023.

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Stallone publicly called Winkler out for not sharing the rights to the character.

Sylvester Stallone at the Broadway "Rocky" opening night party in 2014
Debby Wong / Shutterstock

As reported by The Wrap, Stallone spoke out about Winkler and his family earlier in July, too.

"After IRWIN controlling 'ROCKY' for over 47 years, and now 'CREED,' I really would like have at least a little WHAT's LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN," Stallone wrote in another deleted Instagram. "I believe That would be a FAIR gesture from this 93 year old gentleman? This is a painful subject that eats at my soul , because I wanted to leave something of 'Rocky' for my children, but it's always great hearing from the loyal fans…Keep Punching." Best Life could not reach Winkler for comment.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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