Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, faces off against the son of the Russian fighter who killed his father in “Creed II.”
Spoiler alert! We’re discussing the end of “Creed II.” If you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to know, hold off on reading.
Brigitte Nielsen still knows how to make an entrance.
The 6-foot-1 model and actress makes a jaw-dropping return as villainous Ludmilla in “Creed II” (in theaters now), 33 years after starring in 1985’s “Rocky IV.” Ludmilla’s entrance to a Russian dinner celebrating her ex-husband Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and long-abandoned son, boxer Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), is sending shock waves through theaters
“It’s like a part of history walking through the door. I did not expect the audience reaction to be that big. I was in the theater and people went crazy,” says director Steven Caple Jr. “You can hear people turning to each other whispering, ‘That’s her!’ “
Returning to the “Rocky” franchise, which stars her ex-husband Sylvester Stallone (they were married from 1985 to 1987), was just as much of a trip for Nielsen.
“It’s been very emotional. Ludmilla is a mean, cold, sadistic role that made a big impression on a lot of people,” says Nielsen, 55. “It’s been hard keeping this a secret.”
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Caple knew Ludmilla would add punch and layers to Drago’s character, by showing how Ludmilla abandoned him after he lost to Rocky (played by Stallone) in “Rocky IV.” So Caple asked Stallone how he felt about bringing her back: “He said, ‘You know what, I think the fans will go crazy.’ “
There was one small issue. Nielsen, at 54, was pregnant with what she calls her “miracle” child, which she was keeping under wraps. She says she wasn’t obviously showing when she arrived on the Philadelphia set earlier this year to start the shoot. It did make for a nervous meeting with her ex.
“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,’ ” says Nielsen. “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.”
When the crowd of Philadelphia extras watching the boxing match caught sight of Ludmilla, there was loud applause. “It was spontaneous standing and clapping from thousands of extras, It was a beautiful, incredible day,” says Nielsen.
Returning a month later to shoot her dinner party entrance was more stressful, she says, since she had “popped” and was showing fully at 32 weeks. She tried on seven evening gowns, seeking one that would give her the right look and disguise her pregnancy. With some careful camerawork, “things easily fell into place in circumstances which could have actually been quite disastrous,” says Nielsen.
While Lundgren’s Drago goes through a human transformation in the film, Ludmilla stays villainous right to the end. When her son Viktor loses his fight to Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), Ludmilla slips away from the audience.
“Ludmilla was like, ‘You’re just like your dad. You cannot win. You’re not good at anything. I gotta go.’ Like a lot of people, she chose the money and the power,” says Nielsen.
She’s thrilled to be back in the acting spotlight. “I’m having a lot of meetings. And a lot of people are happy to know that things are good between me and Sylvester.”
But after giving birth in June to her daughter, Frida, with husband Mattia Dessi, then 39, after 11 years of trying, Nielsen is thrilled to be a mother for the fifth time. (She has four grown sons.)
“My four boys were super-crying and all over the place as babies. Frida was born on a happy planet. She’s the most harmonious baby who slept through the night at a month and a half. She eats well, and she poops well,” says Nielsen. “She really is a miracle.”
Brigitte Nielsen, star of “Red Sonja” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” is going to be a mom again.
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