CAMEO SPOILER AHEAD FOR “CREED II”
One of the joyful surprises of “Creed II” was a cameo, one from none other than 1980s blond goddess herself Brigitte Nielsen. Nielsen quickly rose to fame in the mid-1980s in both the title role in “Red Sonja” and in a small role in “Rocky IV” as Ludmilla, wife of Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago.
Nielsen would star again with Stallone in “Cobra” and went on to marry him (her second of five husbands) for a brief but well publicised nineteen months and ended fairly contentiously. When “Creed II” was announced, and with it the return of Lundgren’s Ivan Drago, there wasn’t expected to be anyone else from “Rocky IV” also returning – especially not Nielsen.
That’s why audiences checking out “Creed II” have reportedly been stunned when halfway through the film, a dinner scene with the two male Dragos and key Russian officials includes Nielsen reprising her role as Ludmilla who sits down opposite them – the husband she divorced and the son she abandoned – and has little consideration for either of them. She also appears again in the audience of the film’s final bout.
Speaking with Slashfilm, director Steven Caple Jr. explained how Nielsen came to be involved, saying it was a last minute idea and by sheer luck they got her back:
“It was sort of a last minute call before I flew out to film in Philadelphia. We were developing the script and the Dragos layers were coming about. It started to feel like it was missing something. It felt like there was another piece missing and it naturally became Brigitte [Nielsen,] Ludmilla.
When developing it, I asked Sly [Stallone] if it was okay to bring her back. He thought it would be cool because the fans love it, they had a nostalgia feeling and people wouldn’t necessarily expect it. Yeah, we called her. It was just an emotional roller coaster. When I first had the phone conversation with her, she was pretty much excited and crying on the phone honestly because she was honored to be back in the franchise. We brought her out to Philly and had her on set.”
Nielsen herself spoke with USA Today about reprising the role, saying: “It’s been very emotional. Ludmilla is a mean, cold, sadistic role that made a big impression on a lot of people. It’s been hard keeping this a secret.”
Surprising is that the model/actress, 54 at the time, was pregnant. She says she wasn’t showing when she arrived on the Philadelphia set for the final match scene:
“No one knew I was pregnant. When I walked in, it was like, ‘Oh, my God, I wonder how Sylvester is going to feel about this’. But we buried the hatchet a long time ago. It was pleasant. He said congratulations. We kept it short. When we are together, we are two professionals. And we keep it that… a lot of people are happy to know that things are good between me and Sylvester.”
She was definitely showing a month later when she shot the dinner scene, and so careful camerawork and a flattering gown were used to disguise it.
“Creed II” is in cinemas now.