Today: February 22, 2024

Actor Dolph Lundgren

“Rocky IV … because it was my first film and it was just one of those experiences that you never forget.

Rocky IV
… because it was my first film and it was just one of those experiences that
you never forget. Universal Solider,
because I co-starred with another up-and coming star (Jean Claude Van Damme)
at the time. Command Performance
where I play a drummer… because being a rock star is much more fun than being
an actor … And then there’s a small film I did last year called Rush. I play a DEA (Drug Enforcement
Administration) Agent who’s just a regular guy. There’s no superhero stuff and
I really like that.”

Dolph
Lundgren
is taking about his favourite film roles and
while it’s no surprise that he puts the ice cold Russian, Ivan Drago, from Rocky firmly in his top five favourites, the rest of
his countdown is much more interesting. But then the man who once punched Sly Stallone so hard he put him in
hospital also happens to have a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering. He
might, perhaps, have gone on to take up his place at MIT if he hadn’t been too busy hanging out with Andy Warhol, dancing at Studio 54, and dating Grace Jones.

So, given that he’s clearly no dolt, was it
frustrating or fun to be typecast as the big, dumb blond? “Well … Dolph says,
“part of the business is that it is a business so if you play a priest
and the movie makes a lot of money then other people will say ‘hey do you want
to play a priest in my movie too’. That’s how it is. That’s what happened to me
and obviously if you’re a big guy with the muscles and all that – and blond on
top of it – there’s a certain stigma attached to it. It’s still going on to an
extent but it’s better than not being in the business!”

Off screen the Swede is quietly spoken,
thoughtful and surprisingly pragmatic about the industry that has chewed up and
spat out bigger names than him. “It’s quite an interesting lifestyle … but
it’s a crazy business and I think you need friendships outside of it – as many
as possible – to keep you sane” he says.

Dolph is back this February with Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning.
Directed by Jonh Hyams the film sees
Lundgren and Van Damme return to the franchise with a film that puts a
decidedly dark and bloody spin on the original 80s sci-fi romp. “The first film” Dolph comments, “was
fun … I was younger and the franchise was new and more exciting in one way … I
liked the Director Roland Emmerich.
He did a good job and it was a fun movie.” Having said that, he’s quick to add
that Hyams “did a great job” in revitalising the franchise, although he’s
unlikely to let his daughters watch it. “There’s a lot of violence in movies
these days and most of it cartoon – there’s no blood, and people duck a
thousand bullets … without getting hit … This is more real. There is blood. You
hit someone in the head with a baseball bat and it’s a mess …”

There seems to be a theme running through all
the Universal Soldier movies about censorship and control – specifically
governments trying to control what we think. Does he think that the franchise
has a message or it just plain daft to try and read too much into an action
flick? “The message is the Frankenstein myth. You create something and that
something turns back on you … You feel sorry for the monster but you’re scared
of it. That’s why it fascinates the audience. They’re not sure where their
allegiance lies. That’s what we did in the first Universal Soldier where I play
the bad guy. Here it’s a bit more complex because everybody’s kind of bad. The
real bad guy here is the government who created these soldiers. So although,
it’s mostly entertainment there maybe a little bit if a message too, if you
look for it!”

Universal
Soldier: Day Of Reckoning is out to own on DVD, Blu-ray and EST on 11th
February.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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