Dolph Lundgren: ‘In showbusiness, you kind of live for ever’ | Action and adventure films

If someone said: here’s loads of money, but we get the right to CGI you into movies for ever after you die, would you accept? LarboIreland

I’ve been in about 80 movies already. I guess part of being an actor is there’s some immortality. That’s why people are interested in showbusiness, because you kind of live for ever. So maybe I would. It depends how bad the movies are.

Was the bust up between you and Jean-Claude Van Damme staged for publicity? Granadapanda

The one in Cannes was staged. It got a little bit heated … I think somebody pushed my ex-wife into somebody. I can’t remember, but it was Jean-Claude’s idea. He’s a showman.

Dolph Lundgren squaring up to Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1992
Squaring up to Jean-Claude Van Damme at Cannes in 1992. Photograph: Pool Arnal/Garcia/Picot/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

How did they make you look like a giant in comparison with Stallone? LeaderOfTheFree

I am taller than him [Lundgren is 1.96m (6ft 5in), Stallone 1.77m (5ft 9in)], so it’s all about camera angles. A lot of times, they put me on a box. When I come into the press conference in my uniform, I have lifts in my shoes. Stallone was clever to exaggerate the difference. Less talented actors would try to make themselves look bigger against the other guy, but he knew that, by building up the opponent, it made him look better at the end.

Did you really hospitalise Sly while making Rocky IV? mrnobody74

I don’t know. He keeps talking about it, so maybe he’s right. He did go to the hospital, but I don’t know whether it was my punches or the fact that he was so overworked as the director, actor and writer. We shot those 15 rounds over two or three weeks, eight or 12 hours a day, so you’re throwing thousands of punches. If you don’t connect, it looks a bit fake, but it doesn’t mean you want to hurt the other guy. But there were no hard feelings.

Did you use a stand-in? Hamble

Back in the day, you had to do it all yourself: Rocky IV, The Punisher, Masters of the Universe, all the Expendables. I’ve jumped from a motorcycle to a truck; dangerous things I would never do now. Staying physically fit over the years has been nice. There aren’t many actors who can stay physically fit for a long time. Part of the game is trying to look fit, at least.

Did your depiction of a Russian fighter gain you any respect in the Soviet Union? duffdawg

I think so. When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Rocky and Universal Soldier came out on VHS and were the first western films Russians were allowed to watch. They don’t have that many international movie stars in Russia, so they’ve adopted me to some degree.

Do you still follow Everton? What do you reckon this season? Vammyp

I follow soccer a bit, but it’s difficult in America, because you have to be a diehard fan to find out when it’s on TV. I prefer the World Cup or the Olympics, when it’s a big deal. The Swedish ladies were pretty good in Tokyo, but lost [in the final] against Canada. Belgium had a good team – a lot of big guys.

Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV
Sylvester Stallone and Lundgren in Rocky IV (1985). Photograph: United Artists/Allstar

Coleslaw or mayonnaise on a ham sandwich? Twatacus1

I would say mayonnaise.

Hur ofta besöker du Sverige? Skulle du kunna flytta tillbaka till Skandinavien som oldie? [How often do you visit Sweden? Could you move back to Scandinavia as an oldie?] MissPiStorm

I visit a couple of times a year. My fiancee [the personal trainer Emma Krokdal] is from Norway, so we’re both Scandinavian. My two brothers and two sisters still live in Sweden. My older half-brother has the same dad, then four of us have the same parents, of which I’m the oldest, so I am still in charge. When we were little, I used to direct my siblings playing soldiers, marching around in different formations. My dad was in the military, so I picked it up from him. They hated it, but were too scared to protest.

I don’t know if I’d like to move back. I haven’t thought about it, but for now I like California. Los Angeles is where my job is and I like the lifestyle; it’s quite liberal, you can be who you want to be. People don’t care and leave you alone. The smaller the places, the more rigid the social structure, whereas everybody in LA is a bit of a freak, so I fit right in.

Dolph Lundgren with Grace Jones in 1985
With Grace Jones in 1985. Photograph: Sharok Hatami/Rex/Shutterstock

Do you remember how to determine the Reynolds number for a Newtonian fluid? DirtyOverThirty

Oh, shit. No. It rings a bell way back in my head. Reynolds number has to do with flow characteristics, but I can’t remember exactly.

I studied chemical engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and got my master’s at the University of Sydney. Then I ran into the singer Grace Jones. We fell in love and moved to New York.

I always wanted to act, so I decided to try it, but I never regret studying in college – making friends and the intellectual atmosphere. You take the things you learn with you. They have certainly enriched my life on another level, because acting is pretty limited.

The love scene between Grace Jones and Roger Moore in A View to a Kill is really unusual. Do you agree? Leobatch

I agree. I was there. She has a love scene with Christopher Walken and she has one with Roger Moore. Roger Moore was a practical joker. He always brought something into bed [scenes] to alleviate the tension, like a sex toy. I think he did the same with Grace, but she knew about it, so I think she brought something, too … I can’t remember what, but it was even more extreme and I don’t think he was ready for it. They have this S&M moment where they wrestle around, if I recall, but it was all in character. I think she did a good job there.

Do you ever wear the ear necklace from Universal Soldier when you go out? TeeDubyaBee

It’s in storage. The rubber ears are 30 years old, so they’re decomposed and even yuckier than before.

Do you still play the drums? themurph100

Very seldom. I played a drummer about 15 years ago [in 2009’s Command Performance]. But I don’t have a kit, because, first of all, it takes up a large space. Second, everybody gets annoyed. I used to have an electronic one, where you just hear it in the headset. Maybe I’ll get one of those. Actually, it’s a good point. I miss it. I really should do it. It’s very relaxing and meditative.

Have you ever seen a ghost? ArthurSternom

I haven’t seen one, but I think I heard one many years ago in Sweden. I was staying in this 18th-century manor house in the middle of winter with my half-brother and his dad, to go hunting. I woke in the middle of the night, got really cold, felt something in the room and got really scared. I usually don’t get scared. Then I heard this woman speaking on the phone in old Swedish or something, but I couldn’t really make out what was going on.

There were no women in the house, but there was one of these old wooden phones outside in the corridor and all these pieces of luggage that used to be owned by my half-brother’s dad’s mother. She had killed herself in the room next to mine, but I didn’t know any of this until the next day. That was the first time I felt that there was something supernatural. I never went back to spend another night in that place.

What was it like working with Brandon Lee in Showdown in Little Tokyo? KieranK1982

It was a pleasure. He was a good martial artist, a very good actor and very charismatic, just like his dad. It was very sad what happened. He would’ve been a huge star had he not gotten killed so early.

Brandon Lee and Dolph Lundgren in Showdown in Little Tokyo
Brandon Lee and Lundgren in Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991). Photograph: Allstar Picture Library/Alamy

Do you ever imagine yourself as a much older actor, like Max von Sydow, Sir Patrick Stewart or Sir Ian McKellen? A Gan‑Dolph the Grey? Murdomania

I’m starting to feel that way, because it creeps up on you. In Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, I play Amber Heard’s dad, this wise old king with a little beard and long hair. I don’t feel like a wise old king, but a lot of the fans watching that movie are maybe 10 or 15 years old. I’m 50 years older, so to them I am a wiser, older actor.

It’s interesting, because it’s gone full circle. I got famous young, when I was 27. But I’ve had some hard times in my career. Luckily, in last four or five years, I’ve done Creed II, Aquaman, and I’ve just finished The Expendables 4. I’ve got some interesting scripts I’d like to direct. I’ve done so much action that I really enjoy working on characters more. I don’t miss running around on a motorcycle shooting people, or jumping from a cliff to a plane – I’ve done that. I think it’s more interesting to use maturity and experience as an actor.

If you suddenly found yourself a young man in today’s world, what would you pursue? KitRey

I had a lot of issues from my childhood that I had to figure out by becoming a fighter and then an actor. It was more like therapy for me. If I was a young man today, I would probably still want to persue acting and directing, but maybe have a chance to train without being thrown into it, which happened in my case. I got famous in one movie and then was suddenly starring in big movies, not really knowing what I was doing. I didn’t have much technique as an actor and I had to figure it out. So, I would probably pursue acting in a more serious way.

Castle Falls, directed by and starring Dolph Lundgren, is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download

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