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Director Steven Caple Jr. Explains How Sylvester Stallone Shaped Creed II

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In addition to co-writing the script for Creed II, Sylvester Stallone was initially on board to direct the film. While he ultimately handed that job to Steven Caple Jr., his preparation had an important influence on the final product.

“One of the things he shared with me was finding Florian,” Caple told Slash Film. “He had been doing a worldwide search for this guy who was going to play Drago’s son. He showed me multiple audition tapes and submissions from wrestlers, actors, real boxers, and fighters. He saw this YouTube clip of Florian working out and he’s like, ‘Man, if this guy works for you, you should definitely bring him in and meet him and talk to him… he looks perfect.’ He was right. The video is an intimidating workout video of Flo. It showcases a little bit of acting chops. You can definitely tell he’s scary, but he was just a beast. He was just a master. That’s probably one of the biggest things he left me.”

As a screenwriter, Stallone also made the crucial decision not to explore the evolution of Russia’s relationship with the United States. “Sly didn’t want to go that direction,” Caple explained. “I was glad he didn’t. I think for us, we definitely wanted to keep it a human story. We wanted to focus on the characters and not necessarily make a political statement. It just didn’t feel like it was the movie to do so. It didn’t feel like the platform. When I got into the project, I thought he was definitely going to dive into it a bit, but he didn’t want to dive into it at all. He really wanted to focus on his character, what Rocky was going through and he wanted to add some emotional state and layers to it, and textures to the country in Russia, but not necessarily the politics.”

Creed II is in theatres now. Check out the trailer below.