Creed star Michael B. Jordan wasn’t nominated for a SAG Award or a Golden Globe, but he’s won something even more valuable: co-star Sylvester Stallone’s respect.
On Wednesday, the Rocky star posted a video of Jordan taking a real punch right to the jaw during the production of Creed. “Getting KO’d for real!” he wrote in the Tweet. “But he got up and did it again! That’s called guts!!”
Michael B Jordon, “young creed and "getting KO’d for real! But he got up and did it again! That’s called guts!! pic.twitter.com/yFo3PVmvhA— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone)December 9, 2015
And after six Rocky films — along with plenty of Expendables and Rambo flicks — Stallone knows a little something about guts.
Stallone revived his famed boxing character for director Ryan Coogler’s hit movie (in theaters now), in which he plays the reluctant trainer to Jordan’s Adonis Creed — the son of Rocky’s late, great pal Apollo. Rocky puts Adonis through the ringer, and it was no easier on Jordan, who had to pack on muscle and learn to fight for the film. The moment in the Twitter video is from the movie’s final championship bout and appears to be from a particularly dramatic slo-mo moment when Creed takes a vicious, face-rippling blow to the head.
It was mostly shadow boxing on set, of course, but there were times when Jordan really took some punishment from his on-screen rivals — even if, technically, Coogler couldn’t be the one to direct him to do that.
"The whole time, we were taking the necessary precautions to be as safe as possible with these punches,” Coogler told Deadline last month about the fighting scenes. “Legally, I’m never in the position to say ‘Hey Mike, get punched in the face.’ I just can’t. He’s in there with dangerous dudes.
That’s where Stallone, a mentor both on and off-screen, came into play.
"We were taking a look at a high speed shot we were doing, and it just didn’t look right. I said, 'Sly, could you check this out?’ He looks at it, we play it back, and he says, 'Play it again. 'We played it back, play again, play it back. He turns and looks at me and smiles and says, 'Mike’s got to take the punch.’ I’m like, 'I can’t tell him that.’ He says, 'No problem.’ He goes into the ring and tells Mike, 'Hey man, you can’t be the punk who made a Rocky movie and didn’t get hit in the face.’ He could say that to Mike because he’s an actor.”
So, as you can see in the tweet, Jordan took some real cracks to the jaw. And, as Coogler noted, it wasn’t from a stuntman or actor, either. The guy playing Creed’s opponent “Pretty” Ricky Conlan is a real boxer named Tony Bellew, who won three ABA heavyweight championships — a big deal in the amateur boxing world — and once held the WBC International Light Heavyweight Championship.
So just know that when it looks like Jordan is in pain on screen, there’s a decent chance he actually was.
Watch Stallone talk about some of his iconic roles with Yahoo Movies below: