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Dolph Lundgren has been the consummate action star since the 1980s, when he burst onto the film scene in the Bond flick, "A View to a Kill," before playing Rocky's Russian nemesis Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV" and He-Man in "Masters of the Universe."
He took on a different-than-usual challenge recently, playing the famous psychologist Dr. Sage Mennox in the ensemble comedy-drama, "Small Apartments."
Lundgren talked briefly with NextMovie about black hair dye, being honest with yourself, and which cast member of "The Expendables" would pose a threat to him in a fight.
Congratulations on "Small Apartments." You're obviously known for taking roles that show off your ability, you know, to beat the crap out of people.
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How much fun was it to play a guy who manipulates people mentally?
It was cool. Yeah. One of the first times I've played a guy who's educated, or at least he pretends to be. It was nice. It kind of started this run of trying to have some fun and do different types of roles. Not necessarily playing the lead, but playing somebody who I thought was interesting to work on. There's been a bunch of those the last couple of years, and "Small Apartments" was the first one, right after "The Expendables."
Was this the first movie that you've ever had to dye your hair black?
Not the first, but the second, because I did "The Punisher" back in 1988. And in those days, the hair dye was kind of permanent. So I think it stayed dark for another two movies, or a year after. Now they can just paint in on there, and it goes away after you're done.
"Small Apartments" was the darkest movie I've ever laughed out loud at in my life. What were your emotions reading the script for the first time? Did you think it was mainly funny, or dark...
I thought it was kind of...weird. And I know Jonas (Akerlund, the director) very well. I know him from Sweden. As a matter of fact, he has a child with my ex-wife's cousin. So I knew him socially. And I read the book first, and then the script. I kind of laughed. I focused on my character and I thought, "Well, this is something I haven't done before, so I thought, 'Why not?'" I only worked four days, but it was kind of fun, and like I said, it started that run after "The Expendables" where I said, "I'm just gonna do some things where there's a reason I'm doing it, whether it's to practice this, or to learn something, or to be uncomfortable, or to challenge (myself), whatever. So that's what I did.
Who do you think would honestly win in a fight between you and the rest of cast of "The Expendables"?
(laughs) I think I'd have a fairly good shot. The only real fighters would be Steve Austin - well, he was in the first one - and there's some MMA guys in there too, and from the more famous guys, you've got (Randy) Couture. He'd be a tough one, because I think he fought last year in the Octagon, so he's still fresh. He'd be difficult to beat, I think. But, I guess I'd feel pretty good, because I'm very big, and I did do some real fighting, which was not movie fighting, it was the real thing.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
I try to listen to older, more experienced people because as a man, you try to go through life as an adventurer, and there's some things that you need to do smartly that you've never experienced, and you try to listen to people that have experienced it. Basically, it kind of comes down to just, "Listen to your heart, listen to your instincts, and believe in yourself, if you want to succeed." Something like that. That means not just in business, but in life, too. You need to be honest with yourself. You have to see the world the way it is, and not try to live in the fantasy.