Sylvester Stallone has criticised the producers behind the planned Rocky spin-off Drago.
As reported by TheWrap on Thursday (July 28), screenwriter Robert Lawton has penned a script for a spin-off film around Dolph Lundgren’s character Ivan Drago, who appeared in 1985’s Rocky IV and 2018’s Creed II.
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Stallone shared the report on Instagram on Sunday (July 31), where he criticised longtime Rocky producer Irwin Winkler and Lundgren for allegedly going “behind his back” in regards to the project.
“Another Heartbreaker… Just found this out,” Stallone wrote. “ONCE AGAIN, IRWIN WINKLER, this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles and David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me.
“I APOLOGISE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites… 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.”
Stallone shared a second post where he called Winkler a “blood sucker” and “parasite producer”.
In a post addressing Stallone’s remarks, Lundgren claimed he was “under the impression” that Stallone was involved in the project.
“Just to set the record straight regarding a possible Drago spin-off,” Lundgren wrote. “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 you go.”
Stallone previously criticised Winkler and his producer son David in a since deleted post on July 16 (via The Hollywood Reporter), which referred to the former as “the remarkably untalented and parasitical producer of Rocky and Creed”.
In a follow-up post on July 17, Stallone explained that his dispute is over the ownership rights related to the franchise. “I really would like [to] have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN – I believe That would be a FAIR gesture,” Stallone wrote.
Stallone serves as a producer on the upcoming Creed III, the sequel to Creed II and the ninth installment in the Rocky franchise overall. In April this year, the actor confirmed he wouldn’t be returning as Rocky Balboa in the sequel, after appearing in the prior two entries.
Michael B. Jordan, who plays lead character Adonis “Donnie” Johnson Creed in the trilogy, will make his directorial debut with Creed III. The film is scheduled to be released March 3, 2023.