The Fruitvale Station star made press rounds, along with Creed director Ryan Coogler and co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson in Philly last Friday, Nov. 6. In order to step into the ring and bring the Rocky series to a new generation of boxing fans, Michael’s training was strictly no holds barred, with no stunt doubles.
“Being able to say this is Carl Weathers’ biological son, you have to hold up when you put on a pair of shorts,” Ryan told GlobalGrind. “And being able to say, we’re going to throw you into a ring with professional boxers and you won’t have any stunt doubles, we’re not doing any face replacement or foot replacement.”
Michael was the director’s number one choice to play Adonis Creed, the son of boxing champ Apollo Creed, who went toe-to-toe with Rocky Balboa in the 1976 series. “I just had that instinct,” Ryan explains. “So for me, when I came up with the idea for the movie, I knew that Mike was right for it, because we were working together at that time. And just like he checked off all the boxes for Fruitvale [Station], he checks them off for this role as well. Especially the one of the athletic requirement that this movie would have, this idea of having to become a believable boxer in a matter of months. It’s all going to be you, as far as swapping punches with these guys. We need somebody that could pull that off, and Mike was game for that and was ready.”
The cast and crew made Frank Street Gym in Philadelphia their home while training for the film. Tessa, who plays Creed’s love interest, says Drizzy’s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late filled the gym while Michael trained. “It was right around the time when Drake released his mixtape, so there was a lot of that on set,” she shared.
And while it may seem like a ton of pressure to jump into a role with so much history, Michael didn’t sweat it. Known for playing the underdog, specifically as East Dillon’s troubled-teen-turned-star-quarterback Vince Howard on the Emmy-winning Friday Night Lights, he was up for the challenge. “I just had to be myself and do what we’re meant to do,” Michael said during the press conference. He took on training with the intensity of his previous roles, and dramatically transformed his body while studying boxing professionals like Timothy Ray “Tim” Bradley Jr., Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, and Andre Ward.
If you want to put your own boxing skills to the limit, you can step into the ring with a virtual Adonis Creed in the new video game, Real Boxing 2: Creed, available in the App Store and on Google Play, November 19.
Creed hits theaters nationwide on Thanksgiving.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram