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.