Dolph Lundgren filmography and biography
Date of birth: 3 November 1957, Stockholm, Stockholms lĂ¤n, Sweden
Dolph Lundgren biography
Dolph Lundgren attended the Royal Institute of Technology in
Stockholm, Sweden. He received a master's degree in chemical
engineering from the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia,
in 1982, and the next year was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT.
In New York City, he met drama coach Warren Robertson (I) and
decided to try his luck as an actor in action movies. His film
The Shooter was shot mainly in Prague, Czech Republic.
Lundgren has a second-degree black belt in karate and is aiming for his
third-degree black belt.
Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm and lived there until the age of 13
when he moved to his grandparents in Nyland, Ã…ngermanland, Sweden.
Despite an early interest in music and the fine arts, Dolph decided to
follow in his father's footsteps and pursue an Engineering degree.
After having completed his military service he enrolled at the Royal
Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
It was in the military when Dolph first came in contact with the martial arts. Five years later, Dolph had become a World-Class competitor in Japanese Karate and was deeply involved with a discipline that was to become an important part of his life.
After graduating High School, Dolph spent considerable time studying in the Unite States and abroad on various academic scholarships. He attended Washington State University and Clemson University in South Carolina. In 1982, he received a scholarship to complete his Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. In 1983 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, one of the world's top engineering schools.
That same year, Dolph decided to move to New York City and take up acting. He started studying drama at the Warren Robertson (I) Theatre Workshop in Manhattan, not knowing how quickly his life was about to change.
Dolph's motion picture debut came in the James Bond feature A View to a Kill. However, it was his performance in _Rocky IV (1988)_ later that year that definitely got him noticed. After a 9-month audition process among 5,000 hopefuls, he was cast opposite writer-director Sylvester Stallone, as his Russian opponent, Ivan Drago. Following the success of Rocky IV, Lundgren moved to Los Angeles and has since starred in more than thirty feature films. Lundgren portrayed the classic action-heroic lead in such films as Gary Goddard's Masters of the Universe, Showdown in Little Tokyo co-starring Brandon Lee (I), and Blackjack (1998) (TV) by Hong-Kong action legend John Woo (I).
Lundgren has also continued to turning memorable performances as the main adversary to other action-stars, most notably in Universal Soldier opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme, directed by Roland Emmerich, as well as Robert Longo (I)'s Johnny Mnemonic opposite Keanu Reeves. In February 2004, Dolph Lundgren directed his first feature film, the thriller The Defender in which he also starred. In 2005, he directed and starred in yet another feature, The Mechanik (a.k.a "The Russian Specialist"). In January 2006, he finished principal photography of Linchiesta, an Italian/American/Spanish co-production, directed by Giulio Base in which he played against, amongst others, Daniele Liotti, Max von Sydow (I), and F. Murray Abraham. In the fall 2006, Lundgren starred in Diamond Dogs, a Chinese/American co-production filmed on location in Mongolia. In the Spring 2007 he directed a a modern day western shot in Texas, Missionary Man.
In 2009 he completed two new directorial efforts, the action-packed Command Performance which showcases Lundgren's longtime musical talents as a drummer; and the neo-noir thriller Icarus (2010/I).
Lundgren also reunited with co-stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone for Universal Soldier: Regeneration and the highly anticipated action blockbuster The Expendables.
Dolph has managed to not let his Hollywood career stand in the way of his athletic background. He has been awarded his Third Degree Black Belt by the World Karate Organization in Tokyo. His accomplishments include being the Captain of the Swedish National Karate Team, as well as a Champion of the Swedish, European and Australian Heavyweight Division titles. Lundgren still regularly performs Karate exhibitions at international tournaments worldwide.
In addition to his Karate expertise, Dolph was selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee to serve as the Team Leader of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Pentathlon Team during the Atlanta Games. He is actively involved in promoting the image of this sport.
Lundgren's production company, Thor Pictures, is developing several projects in which he will produce, star and/or direct. He is also a founding member of "Group of Eight", a New York theater group started in 1994.
Lundgren has also been working on a fitness book and sports wear line for men, the creation and launch of a new Dolph Lundgren brand, a licensing, media and publishing program and the development of future entertainment and media projects.
Lundgren is married to Anette Qviberg-Lundgren, an interior decorator and fashion designer. The couple, along with their two daughters, currently resides in Marbella, Spain.
Dolph Lundgren trivia
- Was team leader for the United States modern pentathlon team at the 1996 summer olympics.
- Holds a master's degree in chemical engineering. Was offered a Fulbright scholarship to study at MIT.
- He married Anette in Stockholm.
- Was once a bodyguard for Grace Jones (I).
- He was European Heavyweight Karate Champion in 1980-81.
- Australian Heavyweight Karate Champion in 1982.
- He dated model Paula Barbieri, also O.J. Simpson's ex-girlfriend.
- Born in 1957, but claims birthdate of 1959.
- Rumor had it that he announced his retirement from acting to spend more time with his family, but Lundgren denied it a few months later while filming the movie Detention (April, 2002).
- He has two daughters with his current wife Anette: Ida Sigrid Lundgren [b. April 29, 1996] and Greta Eveline Lundgren [b. January 2002].
- Was one of the last celebrities modeling for photographer Victor Skrebneski, notably for a Chicago International Film Festival poster.
- He obtained his third degree black belt (third Dan) in Kyokushinkai Karate in July 1998 in Stockholm, Sweden, after a four to five months training with his former teacher Brian Fitkin.
- Sports natural blonde hair in all his films, save for The Punisher and Dark Angel where it is dyed jet black.
- He was the first actor cast for the 1987 cult sci-fi film Masters of the Universe.
- Was considered for the role of Ben Richards in The Running Man. The part eventually went to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Plays the drums.
- Contrary to popular belief was never engaged to Grace Jones (I), but he did live with her for four years.
- Speaks three languages: Swedish, English and some German. Said to speak Japanese as well, but actually knows only a few phrases. Also speaks some Spanish as he lives in Spain.
- Said to have an I.Q. of 160, but according to himself this is untrue.
- Maintains his own personal website for his fans.
- Despite mixed reviews to Masters of the Universe, later animated and comic book depictions of the He-Man character, most notably the 2002 remake series by Mike Young (I) Productions, had the He-Man character drawn to resemble Lundgren.
- Served in the Swedish Marine Corps.
- Was photographed at the 'Factory' in the early eighties by Andy Warhol and photographer Christopher Markos.
- Was a candidate for the role of the Phantom/Kit Walker when Lee Falk's comic strip hero "The Phantom" was optioned for a film adaptation during the 1980s and early 1990s.
- Auditioned for a role in Rambo: First Blood Part II.
- Used to do most of his own stunts, but nowadays only does about half of them as he is getting older.
- Worked as a bouncer in New York City with Chazz Palminteri.
- Caused a stir in his home country Sweden in the late 80s when he refused to be interviewed in Swedish, preferring English instead.
- Trained also in Tae Kwon Do for a short period.
- Was offered the lead in Captain America, but had to turn it down as he was shooting The Punisher at the time.
Dolph Lundgren quotes
- [Arnold Schwarzenegger] is my role model since he is successful but, as an actor, he is not [my role model]. I prefer Sean Connery, Mel Gibson (I) and Harrison Ford (I). They, too, started as "beefcakes" but have since established themselves as acknowledged actors.
- [in Empire (UK), January, 1996] When I started studying acting in New York, I didn't plan to be an action hero. I just wanted to learn acting because I felt it was something I needed to try to do for myself, to express something, my inner pain, or something I couldn't get out. Then I got caught up taking my shirt off and strapping a machine gun on to shoot people. There wasn't really much acting - you couldn't have done too much with those roles no matter how good you were.
- [in Vanity Fair, 1995] I was a movie star before having the chance to become an actor, so now I'm trying to backtrack.
- I was incredibly shy when I first got into the business, I still am to some extent. I've overcome that shyness through contact sports, but I wanted to find that same confidence interacting with people through acting instead of in the ring.
- Action films are an extension of Greek myths which have been around since Homer (I)'s "The Iliad". Everybody's life has some mythical quality. You struggle against obstacles, you fight to get to a higher level and there are great loves. With an action film it's just more apparent. That's why people will always love action movies.
- My problem is that people get intimidated by someone big and beautiful like me. They hate to think I can be smart as well.
- I usually pick up a scar a movie.
- Playing He-Man was pretty much my lowest point as an actor, it was a kids movie. How much could I do as an actor when I was running around in swim trunks and chest armor? There was talk of my doing a second one, but I wasn't available, and from what I understand, the whole idea of a sequel fell through.
- I was turned down at my first audition for Rocky IV for being too tall. I was 6'5" and you were supposed to be 6'3" maximum. I didn't know what the casting call was for and I just showed up, they asked me how tall I was, I said 6'5" and they said NEXT!
- It's still a strange experience to me when people come up to me at airports and bring pictures to be signed. It's kind of flattering but one way I like to stay focused is using my training. I can remember what it is like when you spar with somebody and he hits you and you go, "Oops, this is real life!"
- Hollywood is great for entertaining people, it's a wonderful business but it's make-believe, you must remember that. That's one of the most important things to remember and the distinction in your own life, otherwise people get lost in their own fame, and it makes them unhappy.
- [on his role in The Expendables] I play a mercenary who's part of Sly's team. He's kind of a victim of the violence. He ends up getting fired by Stallone. Later in the picture, some other sinister character trying to get back at Sly and his people, hires me to take him out. Because I need the money, I do it. There's a showdown between me, him and Jet Li.
- I prefer to channel my problems and inner demons through a character. Another persona. That protects me and my family. I can get my frustrations out that way. Nowadays, it's changed. People like to lay their whole life, and all of their own secrets out in front of the world. They make money off of it, and find satisfaction that way. I personally don't believe in that. I think it can be hurtful to yourself and those around you.
- I've just tried to play my own game and treat everybody with respect. No matter who they are. That is something I'm proud of and I feel it will always pay off.
- [On his directing career] I'm influenced by Clint Eastwood. He's a guy who started as an actor, a television cowboy, one regarded lightweight. He's now a super heavyweight, and he's worked his way there by hard work. He's directed 29, 30 movies, you know. I'm at five. Sylvester Stallone is at 15-20.
- [On Hollywood movies over the last 20 years] Hong Kong cinema hit big in the US. That means wires, back-flips, kung fu types, and not too realistic action, where someone gets kicked in the head 40 times and they're still running around. When you see real fights, every kid can see what happens when you get hit in the head once. That's it, it's over. So, that's why I think things are reverting back a little bit. Also CGI came in, and it could make anyone an action star. You didn't have to know karate, you didn't have to know kung fu, you didn't even have to have muscles, because they can enhance everything with a computer. Filmmakers fell in love with that, and then they didn't need the tough guy, the Steve Austin (IV), the Sylvester Stallone. So, you bring in somebody who's just a good actor. That's commendable too, but you lose that special aura of an action star, where the person is closer to the character. I suppose things come round in circles, and the audience got tired of that. And now they're into old-school action again.
- (On Masters Of The Universe) I was just this kid who played this one role, this Rocky role, and was going to follow it up by playing an American hero. It was tough-the opportunity, the expectations. I had fun working on the actual movie. It was very physical, and I was just getting used to being another person, where what people perceive you as being is different than what you actually are. That's what stands out when I think of those years, and when I think of those roles.
- (On The Punisher) That was fun. We shot that in Australia-there was a lot of fight training, and they brought in fighters from a dojo in Japan. Since I used to train, talking to those guys was a lot of fun. They didn't really understand about cameras, that it wasn't real, that you didn't need to hit the guy for real. There were two young Japanese fighters, and we had to teach them that you shouldn't kick the other guy in the face with any force. That was also an over-the-top role.
- (On landing A View To A Kill) It was a "right place at the right time" kind of thing. I was there with my girlfriend at the time, Grace Jones. She was in the movie. I was just on the set. I was auditioning for Rocky IV at the time. But I was hanging out, and someone was missing who hadn't shown up, and the director pointed at me and said "Hey, would you like to be in the movie?" And I said "Yeah. What do I do?" And he said "You have to stand there and point a gun at Chris Walken. When I tell you to, point the gun and stand there." I guess I hit my mark and didn't screw it up too bad, and the director said "Hey, kid, you have a future in the movies." I didn't know the extent of it then. It was fun. It was great to watch Chris Walken working-I didn't know anything about acting at the time, but it was interesting to watch him work. It was very unpredictable. I remember during rehearsal, he would not do anything, just mumble. And people were just looking at him like "Jesus, this guy is awful." But when the camera rolled, it was night and day. I remember the actor he was playing opposite being so shocked-just standing there, not knowing what to do. Walken would come at him from every angle: with rage, with this, with that. He was just in shock, like "Wow, what a great actor." That was a great experience. Grace was there too, of course. She beat up a few people, I remember. In front of the camera, anyway.
- (On Johnny Mnemonic) I enjoyed designing a character which was very different from me. He walked different and talked different, and used body language like a street preacher, and had a wig and a long beard. I remember my agent showing up on set, and he walked up to me and said "Hey, have you seen Dolph Lundgren?" I guess my outfit worked. It was fun. Keanu Reeves was in it, and we had a little fight scene. It was before Speed came out, so he was only sort-of well known. But I enjoyed that experience. It was also fun to play a smaller role. It was the first time I played a supporting role and didn't have to carry the movie. It wasn't heavy, I didn't have to work almost every day, and then I was done with my part.