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Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan Will Reteam For 'Creed' - A 7th Film In 'Rocky' Franchise

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 24, 2013 12:33 PM
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"Fruitvale Station" director Ryan Coogler with star Michael B. Jordan.
TWC "Fruitvale Station" director Ryan Coogler with star Michael B. Jordan.

Wow! Just when you thought the Rocky franchise was dead (the last film was released in 2006), MGM plans to revive it; BUT, this time, the focus will be on the grandson of Apollo Creed - the character played by Carl Weathers in the first 4 Rocky movies.

And who just might play the grandson? None other than Michael B. Jordan, star of 2013's indie darling Fruitvale Station

Oh, and by the way, his director on that film, Ryan Coogler, will come along for the ride, to direct (and co-write the screenplay with Aaron Covington), what is currently being called Creed.

Deadline says MGM is in early talks with Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed, with Sylvester Stallone returning to reprise his role as Rocky Balboa, but this time, as a retired fighter-turned-trainer. 

Apparently, this has been a dream project for Coogler - one that he shared with Stallone after signing with WME, who loved it; the pair then took the idea to MGM brass and they loved it as well, and the rest is history.

The story for what will be the 7th film in the franchise will see Michael B. Jordan play the grandson of Apollo Creed, raised in a wealthy home, living off his grandfather's earnings, but who, despite his family not wanting him to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, has the desire to do so, as well as the natural gifts and potential that his grandfather used to become a heavyweight champion... that is until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s Rocky II. Creed’s grandson seeks a mentor to help train him, and, of course, that mentor turns out to be Balboa himself (Stallone), who is no longer interested in the sport, and apparently needs to be convinced to help get Creed's grandson prepped and ready to get in the ring.

The plan is for this to be Coogler's next film, after Fruitvale Station, and expectations are for the project to move ahead quickly.

I can't say that I'm immediately excited about the idea. While I'm glad to see both Coogler and Jordan graduate to what will likely be a pricier, higher-profile studio project, I'd prefer something original, fresh and new, instead of the 7th film in an age-old franchise that really should be buried at this point.

But let's wait and see what develops here. Coogler's take might be a surprise to the upside, while still staying within the mythology of the franchise that made the earlier films so well-loved.

Congrats to the dynamic duo! Maybe we're seeing the makings of a future Spike Lee/Denzel Washington director/actor pairing.

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  • ALM | July 27, 2013 5:03 PMReply

    Both Jordan and Coogler are having an amazing year. Any updates on Jordan as the Human Torch?

  • Avril | July 25, 2013 11:00 AMReply

    If this is his dream project, then I say more power to him.

  • Alan | July 24, 2013 4:42 PMReply

    Coogler did an incredible job directing Jordan in "Fruitvale". Since he has a passion for this particular story, I'm going to keep an open mind about this film. A good writer/director with a passion for his subject and studio backing can pull off just about anything.

  • mr dobie | July 24, 2013 3:24 PMReply

    @DJ, TheDudeAbides
    I don't think there's much to be gained bringing Carruth, Polley, Nichols, Zeitlin into this, they're indie and WHITE. That makes all the difference, black indie film makers not getting anything like the backing, publicity and most importantly long term support from funders, film fest programmers, indie aware media and audiences. Arguably U.S. indie film world even more white and insider than Hollywood. I'd argue best move for Coogler is to follow the Spike Lee route, move between Hollywood and indepedent, build allies and success in both.

  • DJ | July 24, 2013 4:05 PM

    Also, while I get your broader point about lack of institutional support for filmmakers or color (vs. white counterparts), I hope your criticism isn't directed at those filmmakers' content (stories) because if it was, that seems unhelpful and reductive. Carruth might not be everybody's cup of team, but his cinematic language and abstractions are adventurous; Polley has such a poised hand at tackling emotional truths and the nature of memory; and Nichols' Southern Goth packs a compelling narrative and punch. They may have gotten unfair advantages as filmmakers to get the work out there, but the work speaks for itself.

  • DJ | July 24, 2013 3:55 PM

    I brought those names up because of the Sundance nexus. Noticed I also mentioned Reese. If you want another example, then, of course Ava can be mentioned as a paragon. (And I doubt she would do a reboot of Bring It On, even if she were given final cut).

  • JEFTCG | July 24, 2013 2:37 PMReply

    Congrats to the pair!

    While this is probably a good financially and prolifically for Mr. Coogler, I surely hope they ain't settin that brother up to make a studio bomb. Because it sounds like it.

    They'd be better off just telling a new story about a boxer than tying it into Rocky (although I'm somewhat certain MGM won't drag Stallone along for the ride)


  • Qstorm | July 24, 2013 7:29 PM

    I think your assessment is right on the money, JEFTCG. Why not make it completely original? Putting 60 plus year old Stallone back in the Rocky franchise could make the film a punchline.

  • JEFTCG | July 24, 2013 2:42 PM

    Ignore previous post. Just read it's another Rocky movie co-starring M.B. Jordan. All good, make that money.

  • Dankwa Brooks | July 24, 2013 1:14 PMReply

    I also want to see a "Bubba Lang" in the mix too. Fans of the franchise will get what I'm inferring. LOL

  • Aaron | July 24, 2013 1:24 PM

    Clubber Lang --->Mr. T

  • Dankwa Brooks | July 24, 2013 1:12 PMReply

    I feel what DJ is saying, but if this is a personal passion for COOGLER it's good that he wound up in the right place to bring it to fruition.

    As a fan of the franchise I think it's an intriguing, and black, way to bring it back and update it.

    I can see Stallone being a Mr. Miyagi/Mickey (from the Rocky franchise)/Clint Eastwood from Millon Dollar Baby type. LOL

  • DJ | July 24, 2013 2:16 PM

    Mr. Miyagi is great wise one, the master of the proverb. Who can forget: "You Karate, yes, you Karate, no, you Karate maybe so, KWICH, just like grape."

    Somebody should reboot that franchise again and write an installment of Sato's protegee, from Karate Kid II, who comes back to take vengeance on Daniel-san, who's now a grandfather. The fight for honor never dies.

  • C.C. | July 24, 2013 1:06 PMReply

    Kind of disappointing. I would have much rather seen the movie about the high school football team Coogler was planning to do.

  • DJ | July 24, 2013 12:59 PMReply

    The new reality for indie filmmakers: Pen and direct a personal project to acclaim, get roped into a staid franchise film as a director for hire, and spend years trying to rediscover your personal and creative integrity.

  • NO BRAINER | July 24, 2013 2:29 PM

    Way too dramatic, DJ. Coogler is doing the right thing. You sit around waiting for that private equity if you want.

  • DJ | July 24, 2013 1:15 PM

    @THEDUDEABIDES -- Good point; not discounting Carruth, Nichols, Sarah Polley, et al. I see them as film artists who have enough smarts and self-awareness to keep making things they want to make in spite of industry pressures. But there are a host of others who come out of Sundance as the next "bright star" with a startling feature, and then get lost in the commercial morass. Would be interesting to see how Zeitlin and Reese, for e.g., respond.

  • rcjr | July 24, 2013 1:08 PM

    very astute observation.

  • thedudeabides | July 24, 2013 1:06 PM

    I dunno. There are some young filmmakers still keeping up with indie projects. Jeff Nichols, Shane Carruth come to mind. But yeah, its hard out there for indie directors...

  • campbell | July 24, 2013 12:48 PMReply

    Good move, and good luck to these two.

  • NO BRAINER | July 24, 2013 2:29 PM


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