There are a few elements you can expect when watching a movie in the Rocky franchise : soul-seeking fighters, comeback victories and epic training montages. Sylvester Stallone was credited with the creation of beats that are omnipresent today in most boxing images with the first Rocky . As the team behind Creed II provided ideas for the final training session, Adonis Creed embarked on his rematch with Viktor Drago.
Originally the sequence was shot in Death Valley, but the sky did not look quite right, so Caple shifted production to New Mexico, the small town of Deming. Since there was no gym in the world that matched what they had in mind, the only option was to build everything themselves, giving the ominous name Purgatoria El Box.
"Everything from the water tower to the Hotel Ring, which we brought with us and built," says Caple. After construction, the set became a playground of pain, exploring and testing the most intense yet practical training. Spearheading this effort along with Stallone, Caple and Michael B. Jordan was coach Corey Calliet, who is also an experienced boxer.
"I wanted the moves to be brutal, but still realistic about what a boxer would actually do under those circumstances," says Calliet. To take a medball repeatedly, for example, in the abdomen, has experienced the coach itself. "It's not necessarily fun, but you need a strong core to take those hits, especially when attacking a monster like Victor."
Other exercises that were caught included pulling a weight-stacked one Car cover the sand, the tire turned around, hit a heavy bag made of tires and hit a sledgehammer in the sand. "People are used to seeing the hammer against the tires," says Calliet. "But we did not want that kind of forgiveness, we wanted him to pull her out of the sand every time. This sand flew into his face. Not to mention, it looks stunning. Sylvester Stallone & Michael B. Jordan Courtesy image
The research also paid off, Caple stumbled on the video of boxing coach DJ Walton, who uses a tire to improve the inner workings of his fighters. "I knew right away that it was something I wanted in the sequence," says Caple. "It was just that DJ himself was a beast and a pretty scary-looking guy, so we got him to play the role of Creed's sparring partner."
Other moments were added as a tribute to the training assembly from the franchise, as was the sprint scene. "I remembered that iconic shot Sly made in the first Rocky movie, and I wanted to make my version of it," says Caple. They increased the stakes by chasing Creed off his Mustang and finally breaking off in an epic moment.
What viewers may not know is that Jordan had a swollen knee the day Calliet had shot her. "He was not deterred," he says. "He's still maxed out."
This was not the only contradiction Jordan encountered, frequent sandstorms occurred during filming and the heat was even more brutal for those who did not hit tires. "There were people in the crew who were about to faint," says Caple. "So I could only imagine how rough it was for Michael. He pierced the whole thing, however.
For Calliet, the goal was for Jordan to finish the desert training session larger than he'd ever been in the series. "The audience can see how his body changes in the course of the movie," says Calliet. "It's very special that at the end of the film you see a totally different fighter than you've seen in the beginning."
Creed II is in the cinema now.