Excited “Rocky” fans of all ages gathered Friday atop the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s front steps to welcome actor/director Sylvester Stallone, director Ryan Coogler, actors Michael B. Jordan & Tessa Thompson, and producer Irwin Winkler back to the city – where they completed production on the next installment of the Rocky saga – CREED – last winter.
Serving as the official “Master of Ceremonies,” former Eagles star Vince Papale welcomed the crowd and press gathered and introduced Mayor Michael A. Nutter – who greeted those in attendance and referenced the art museum steps as the more famously known “Rocky steps.”
The mayor proudly stated that he has seen all seven films in the “Rocky” series, to which a press member jokingly countered that they were a “prerequisite” to being elected mayor. He also credited Sylvester Stallone and the original “Rocky” film with introducing the city to many people around the world – stating that many know Philadelphia by the movie, its theme music – which is also used prominently by The Philadelphia Eagles – and by the museum’s steps – where many eager tourists visit to take photos with the “Rocky” statue.
To mark the occassion, Nutter gifted the team from “Creed” individually with inscribed miniature “Liberty Bells” and, in turn, they presented him with a framed rendering of the official CREED mural. The mayor also proclaimed Wednesday, November 25th “Creed Day”- in honor of the upcoming movie, which opens the same day.
CREED writer/director Ryan Coogler
Director Ryan Coogler wrote the screenplay for CREED, along with Aaron Covington. The director of the critically acclaimed “Fruitvale Station” hadn’t made his feature debut prior to approaching Stallone about “Creed.” Coogler reminisced,”He was probably thinking, ‘Who is this kid coming in talking about making a “Rocky” movie?’ But I could tell he was also thinking about every different way it could work.”
CREED lead actor Michael B. Jordan
Actor Michael B. Jordan portrays Adonis Johnson, son of Apollo Creed from the first four installments in the “Rocky” series, in the upcoming film CREED.
The actor shared that the boxing scenes were the most challenging, joking that “ice baths are the key to recovery.” Coogler added that Jordan did not use a stunt double with the fight choreography in the film.
CREED actor Tessa Thompson
Actor Tessa Thompson, who portrays Adonis’ love interest and local singer/songwriter Bianca in the film, told the gatherers she loves Rocky but her favorite character in the movie was “the city of Philadelphia.” She also shared that she visited several local establishments and ate local cuisine, especially cheesesteaks, to get into character.
The cast gifts Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter with CREED bomber jacket
Mayor Nutter was presented with a couple of special gifts during the cast’s visit – including an official CREED bomber jacket presented by Michael B. Jordan on behalf of the cast.
Director Ryan Coogler presents CREED mural to Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter
The cast also presented the mayor with a framed rendering of the official CREED mural, which was created as a special tribute to the city and installed Friday morning at the Front Street Gym in North Philly – a location that is featured prominently in the movie.
Philadelphia native Sylvester Stallone addresses crowd during CREED press tour at Art Museum
Philadelphia native, and Lincoln high school graduate, Sylvester Stallone has created one of the most popular and recognizable characters in film history.
While answering questions about sequels to CREED, he said they would absolutely follow “this young man’s journey through all the trials and tribulations that lay ahead.”
“It’s a new day,” Stallone proudly stated. “And we will be back.”