The unauthorized film is the latest battlefield in Stallone’s decades-long feud with “Rocky” producer Irwin Winkler.
Many fans were surprised this week to learn that MGM is developing a new “Creed” spin-off titled “Drago” about Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and his son, played by Florian Munteanu. That group includes Sylvester Stallone, who is not participating in the film and claims he had no knowledge of it.
Stallone took to Instagram on Saturday night to voice his surprise and disgust about the film, which he says has been assembled behind his back by his longtime nemesis Irwin Winkler and his sons. He reserved some praise for Lundgren, but also feels personally betrayed by the fact that his former co-star didn’t inform him about the project.
“Another Heartbreaker…” Stallone wrote. “Just found this out…ONCE AGAIN, this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me…I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites… By the way, I have nothing but respect for Dolph but I wish HE had told me what was going on behind my back.… Keep your REAL friends close.”
This is far from the first time Stallone has aired his grievances about Irwin Winkler. The actor has long held a grudge about the fact that he does not own any of the rights to the “Rocky” characters despite creating the entire franchise. Stallone’s contract for the first “Rocky” film paid him a set fee for writing and starring in the movie, as well as a percentage of the box office gross, but no ownership over the intellectual property. This has led to a strained working relationship with the Winkler family over the years, as Stallone was forced to keep working with them if he wanted to continue portraying the iconic character despite frequent creative and business disagreements.
In 2019, Stallone recalled his unsuccessful attempts at asking the Winklers for equity in the franchise: “When I finally confronted them, I said, ‘Does it bother you guys that I’ve written every word, I’ve choreographed it, I’ ve been loyal to you, I’ve promoted it, directed it and I don’t have 1% that I could leave for my children?’ And the quote was, ‘You got paid.’ And that was the end of the conversation.”