Carl Weathers is an in-demand actor. The 69-year-old Rocky star is still going strong – his latest role is as State’s Attorney Mark Jefferies in new TV series Chicago Justice, the latest instalment in Dick Wolf’s Chicago universe. But it’s Apollo Creed in the Rocky films that is one of his best-loved roles.
“It would be interesting to recreate or revisit Apollo Creed or Dillon. It would be very interesting,” he says. “It would be fascinating because of what I could possibly bring to them today that I couldn’t bring to them when I was younger. Just all these years of experience that you can suddenly layer into that performance.”
Weathers featured as the fictional boxing icon Apollo Creed in stills that appeared in the film Creed, the Ryan Coogler-directed 2015 sequel/spin-off to the Rocky films, which starred Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creed’s son. Sylvester Stallone last year revealed that one option they had looked at for the follow-up would take place in the past – meaning he’d want Weathers to return.
Would Weathers be up for that?
“Of course I’d consider it,” he says. “For me, it’s all about the writing. If the writing is really really good and the character was written in a way that would make sense to me, I’d absolutely entertain the idea.”
He does point out that Apollo Creed died, and that “resurrecting him might be a little interesting” – but if it was to take place in the past as Stallone suggests, then it could easily rewind to before Apollo Creed dies.
One slight problem might be the ageing factor – but if they can digitally resurrect Peter Cushing for Rogue One, and completely digitise Carrie Fisher, special effects should be able to address that. Although to be fair, Carl Weathers looks remarkably youthful for his 69 years.
Weathers talks about his time working on the Rocky films, and remembers being taken by the script instantly and wanting the role so badly: “I just knew that this is me”. And that’s despite the fact that he’d never boxed before.
In fact, he cites the training he had to do as one of his highlights. The other? Meeting Burgess Meredith, who played Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey Goldmill in the first three Rocky movies.
“We were so young except for Burgess Meredith who was just such a joy to be around and I got to really know personally after we made the [first] movie,” he reminisces.
Similarly, it’s the personal connections he made on the set of Predator that make that movie particularly memorable for him.
Crazy Mad in Mexico
“It was just a great group of guys who were all just kind of crazy mad, you know? Running around in the jungle having a great time,” he says. “We shot in Mexico. We were down there for two weeks or so. Young guys just having a ball, you know? Making this movie and carousing, and doing all this stuff that young guys do.”
With the locals? “With the locals, of course,” he says with a smirk.
Despite being known for action films, Weathers has proved throughout his career that he’s a versatile actor – and one of the things he loves about playing Mark Jefferies in Chicago Justice is that it gives him the chance to flex “other muscles”. Muscles he’d presumably also exercise in a new take on Apollo Creed, or Dillon, based on what he says about adding layers to the characters.
“It’s a nice departure from running through the jungles and being dirty. And pumping iron and big bulging biceps and being smacked, or smacking someone, or shooting guns and all that sort of stuff,” he says.
Staring Down Two Smoking Barrels
But the role he’s really begging for? He’d love a part in a British gangster flick and would say yes “in a heartbeat”.
He says Ray Winstone flick Sexy Beast is one of his favourite films.
“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and some of those other titles. Yes, yes, yes, please. Yes, please. I love them. Americans never say: ‘Yes, please,’” he effuses. But it’s the response you’d get from this American were you to offer him a role in your latest British gangster film.
Are you listening, Guy Ritchie?
Catch ‘Chicago Justice’ Thursdays at 9pm in the UK on Universal Channel, and in the US at 9/8c on NBC.