SZoner, Mike Kunda [Philly’s most popular Rocky impersonator] spent three days on the set of Creed and was kind enough to send us his report!
Craig, Just got back from three days on the set of CREED. * SPOILERS WILL BE NOTED AS BEST I CAN *
My friends at The Victor Cafe, doubling for Adrian’s, granted my wife and me amazing access to all areas of filming. The film crew left it to the owners’ discretion as long as we were – 1.) Quiet during filming, and – 2.) Did not bother the actors.
Filming began Tuesday, the 17th. We got on set about ten a.m. as Alexa, (co-owner with her husband of The Victors) met us outside on the corner. It was cold, nearly 15 degrees. Exiting the cab, I saw dozens of crewmembers, scaffolding, lights – you name it all over the sidewalk and part of the street. Security was tight, yet parted like the Red Sea as Alexa walked toward us. We walked right through all the excitement to the front door.
Entering, we walked directly upstairs but not before I noticed Sly standing at the bar in costume. We walked up the stairs as Michael B. Jordan passed me, smiling, “How ya doin’?” he asked. We headed directly to the office where two chairs were clearly marked ROCKY and ADONIS. We sat here for most the day listening to Stallone and company rehearse and film. The director, Ryan Coogler prefers several takes to each scene. The mic’s they use are super sensitive and can pick up the smallest sounds from far distances. Many times cars would beep or fire sirens or locals fist-fighting. Not to mention idiots yelling “Yo, Adrian!”. This all gets picked up and they have to re-shoot. The lounge area upstairs was taken by stand ins, and back ground actors.
The first day was nearly done at five when the three of us made the call to venture downstairs. Doing so, we heard a scene being filmed in the basement where the kitchen is.
* SPOILER *
It would seem that Adrian’s is no longer as popular as it once was and has fallen on slightly harder times. The kitchen sink is in need of repair and Rocky is trying to fix it as his coat hangs on the hook. – I can hear him grunting and banging around – when Freda ask’s if he would like her to call a plumber. Rock says no, he’s got it. Freda then states, “Some guy is here to see you.”
Rocky - “Does he look normal?”
They both exchange a few more lines and do the scene maybe 15 times with varying dialogue.
This is the scene where Adonis first arrives at Adrian’s. Previous to this, Adonis is at the Rocky statue, admiring Rocky as the sun sets.
* END SPOILER *
Stallone comes back up to the main dining room and stands near the kitchen door. That’s where I took that pick of him leaning on the counter.
I heard him during this scene screwing up his ad lib lines with great variety, throwing the F’ bomb around. I picked up he was “off”, straining to find the right words Balboa would use. He released a deep sigh. Around us the crew was walking, working and hustling getting ready for whatever was next, yet Sly walks over (same place he tells Paulie about serving the main course in Balboa) to where I was standing (behind the bar) rest his arms on the ledge, resting his chin – staring at me. My wife is sitting where Spider was eating his dinner in Balboa and Alexa was next to me. I was sipping a tea from a Victor’s tea cup.
I said, “How ya doin’ Sly” in a very relaxed way. Stallone, “Ya know, I’m not sure. “ Sly then takes several air-golf swings. He went back for a few more takes and ended the night. I wanted to talk about my book with him, but he seemed a bit off. I didn’t want to be that guy that bugged him.
He was leaving for the night, but directly in front of me he was talking with Coogler and Kevin King about the scenes and other issues. As he was leaving, I grabbed his elbow and asked for a pic. He looked out the door then back to me, “Sure, for you – no problem.” I’m not sure why he said that, but we shook hands, he said it was nice to see me again and he left, He looked tired.
I was told it’s in his contract not to work more than 10 hours a day on set.
* SPOILER *
The following day was a ton of exterior shots. Rocky unloading the van with the kitchen help, a variety of costume changes, lots of talking with him and Jordan in the street – and tons of retakes.
Some of the talks revolved around a list of boxing workouts Rocky wrote down on paper for Adonis to follow at the gym. Adonis said he took a picture of the list. Rocky asked, “What if your camera breaks?” to which Adonis replys, “It’s on the Cloud.” Rocky ask’s – “What Cloud?”
Also to note: these scrapes of paper that Stallone wrote on (I was told, I did not see him write it) found their way to my possession. So awesome.
Later, the other part of Adrian’s, a second dining room we have not seen before – a corner round table in front of a new stain glassed window. Adrian’s pic is on the wall along with many others from Rocky. This is where, I understood Graham McTavish’s character “Holiday” meets with Rocky and Adonis about fighting Bellow’s character – PRETTY RICKY CONLAN, the champ. I actually have the 5 page script they shot with. Rocky was amazing in this scene, protective of Adonis. (At this point, Rocky knows he is Apollo‘s son)
* END SPOILER *
Several takes of this took hours, setting up from different angles. Now, this was the first two days of filming and on about 10 occasions I accidentally bumped into Stallone – he was all over the place. Like a sneak attack. You never knew where he was entering from. I was getting a coffee and there we were talking. I was at the office and he and Adonis walked in to rehearse. He kindly asked for privacy. Other times between sets he went back to his trailer.
I had numerous talks with the stand-ins and grips and crew members; all of them telling me the laser focus Coogler, Jordan and Stallone have; that they would not film a scene unless all three were on the same page. They rehearsed all the time. Many of the crew were huge fans of the series and shared their initial concerns as to the success of the picture. They all seemed swayed to think it will work. Very emotional scenes being played out; heart strings being pulled.
On the third day I met Jodi, she was in charge of all the wardrobes. Laying next to me, on a chair was a clear plastic bag filled with all of Rocky’s clothes for the day. I couldn’t take pics because that would have tipped them off I was a fan instead of a crew member.
Between shots, Stallone left his Rocky hat on a shelf near the bar. Right next to me…It’s identical to mine except his is dark navy and mine is black. I was also fortunate enough to wear Rocky’s glasses – the actual ones he wears.
* SPOILER *
The third day of filming was crazy with security. The scenes centered on the kitchen, with Adonis yelling in from outside down into the service entrance to Rocky about getting the shot to fight for the title.
Later, they redressed the main dining room with the big painting as the backdrop with Adonis telling Rocky who he truly is. Rocky does not take this well at first. “How do I know you’re tellin’ the truth?” At one point we hear Rocky do a partial “RAMBO 2 Helicopter Yell” , not as intense or loud and only for a fraction of a second, but make no mistake he did it. I got chills, big time.
* END SPOILERS*
Again, there were many variations of this scene taking hours. Kevin King seemed happy with all. He was pleasant as well. At one point I had a great conversation with Coogler and he asked to see my Rocky impression and was thrilled. He was going to have Stallone come over but work took precedent and … we got booted from the set three hours before filming ended.
All in all it was amazing. I know I’m forgetting several details and Ill post in a thread on the StalloneZone as I recall them.
Thanks Craig! – Mike Kunda
Thanks Mike for the excellent set report and photos! - Craig