5 True Facts About Dolph Lundgren

Brains, Brawn, and More!

5 True Facts About Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren is famous for playing a wide variety of roles since his acting career began in the mid-1980s. While sometimes ridiculed for the sheer number of direct-to-DVD movies he's starred in, his career saw a major resurgence with the films The Expendables and its sequel The Expendables 2. The character Lundgren plays in these films, Gunnar Jensen, really takes center stage in the sequel where he displays his vast knowledge of physics, his hand-to-hand combat prowess, advanced understanding of chemistry, and even talks about his time as a bodyguard for a beautiful, famous actress. Fortunately for Lundgren, he was just playing himself at that point.

For additional celebrity lists, such as 5 True Facts About Sylvester Stallone and 5 True Facts About James Earl Jones, consider stopping by my full Vocal archive!

Fact #1: Dolph is a Goddamn Genius

This statement is not an exaggeration; the commercial for Brain Games just used his real IQ 160 line, which puts Dolph into Einstein and MENSA territory. Some people might argue that an IQ measurement doesn't mean anything all on its own, but Dolph's degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry, along with the Fullbright Scholarship he was awarded to attend MIT, should do more than speak for themselves. If anything Gunnar is a little less brilliant than the man playing him, thanks to the chemical dependence and repeated blows to the head.

Fact #2: He Really Is An Accomplished Martial Artist

While Lundgren's roles tend to be big, thuggish bad guys (or big strapping heroes, depending on the film), it turns out he can fight whether or not the camera is watching. Lundgren is an international karate champion, winning both European and Australian titles in the 1980s. Dolph also fought a bout against the former UFC champion Oleg Taktarov in 2007, when Dolph was 47 years old. For those who are curious, his opponent was 39, and a former champion (was that mentioned?). Lundgren lost by a close margin on the judge's decision, and walked out of that ring with his head held high... which makes him a lot like Rocky, except cooler.

Speaking of Rocky and horrible things done in the ring, though...

Fact #3: He Put Stallone in The ICU

Dolph Lundgren's Hollywood debut as a major character was the infamous Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Towering over Sylvester Stallone, Lundgren definitely looked the part of the Goliath of the Iron Curtain. However, at some point in time during filming, Sly got the clever idea for them to stop playing around. It would just look more convincing, or so he reasoned, for Dolph to really try to hit him.

The two men went toe-to-toe for about 15 seconds. In those 15 seconds, Dolph landed a punch that put Stallone in the intensive care ward of the hospital for over a week. The damage was so bad that the insurance company didn't want to pay, comparing Stallone's injuries to a head-on collision more than to those sustained from a fight. To paraphrase, Stallone pointed out that he'd made the mistake of fighting Dolph Lundgren, who could easily be mistaken for a truck if he simply wore a license plate on his belt. The company conceded the point, and paid up.

Fact #4: He Can Rock Out With The Best of Them

While Dolph's greatest skills lie in kicking ass and solving chemical equations, he needs time to relax, too. While relaxing, according to IMDB, he just happened to master half a dozen instruments (including becoming one hell of a drummer), and he's hosted a number of musical gatherings throughout Europe. Add that to the fact that he can speak half a dozen different languages, though only three of them fluently, and he might well be considered a worthy successor to former rock star and all around badass Sir Christopher Lee. Lee's only advantage at this point is the fact that he was a knight and a lord; other than that the two could be an unbeatable pair, or the deadliest of adversaries.

For those who are curious, you can find out 5 True Facts About Christopher Lee while you're here, too.

Fact #5: He's Turned Down Some Surprisingly Big Roles

While he's had some huge roles, Dolph is primarily known for his roles in smaller, un-Hollywood films. While he was in movies like Rocky IV and Masters of The Universe, along with being Marvel's first big screen bad boy in the original version of The Punisher, there were some big film roles he's turned down according to No Starring.

For instance, Dolph said no to the role of Roland Niedermann, the blond giant in The Girl Who Played With Fire. While no stranger to being the bad guy, it was not a role Lundgren wanted for his debut in a movie from his home country. Dolph also said he was offered the part of Tigris, the undefeated gladiator from Gaul in the Russel Crowe smash hit Gladiator, but that he also said no. Even films like the 2003 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were floated his way, but Dolph said no to the re-imagining of the iconic Leatherface as well.

Neal Litherland
Neal Litherland
Read next: Best Customizable Games
Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.

See all posts by Neal Litherland