During the filming of “Creed”, I had the privilege of being cast as an extra in the movie on two separate occasions by submitting my information to the Casting Agent for the production. Being a lifelong fan of the Rocky series, this was a dream come true. The first day I worked was on 1/29/15 and was initially given instructions to meet in the lobby of the Liacouris Center (of Temple University) in Philadelphia, PA at 7:00 am. When I arrived, there were a huge amount of extras there all checking in and waiting to receive further instructions. The Liacouris Center is Temple’s arena for college basketball games, so I initially figured that the filmmakers would be shooting a fight scene there. However, after all the extras were checked in and looked at by the wardrobe department, we were split in groups and walked outside of the arena about 3 blocks to the Temple Performing Arts Center.
Filming the Adonis Creed vs. Leo Sporino Match
Once we got inside the main hall, the set was decorated with a Boxing Ring, Fight Banners, and had lighting and production equipment all set up. The scene that was being filmed was a fight between Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) and Leo Sporino (Gabe Rosado). As we were given our seating assignments, the director, production members, Michael B. Jordan, Gabe Rosado and the boxing coaches were all brought out to the ring to warm up and go over the choreography. Shortly thereafter, one of the assistant directors spoke to the crowd of extras and told us what was expected of us and what would be filming on this day. I was seated in a section that was cheering on the fighter Gabe Rosado was portraying. Then, the assistant director said we very fortunate because this would be Sylvester Stallone’s first day of filming on set and he would be with us all day. At that point, Sly himself made his way down to the ring to a thunderous applause from the extras with all sorts of “ROCKY!!!” chants breaking out. Very cool experience!
I won’t spoil the result of the filmed scene, but I will say that the fight choreography of the boxing match was excellent. Gabe Rosado is professional boxer and there were several trainers on set, so they were very meticulous with the fight sequences to make sure they looked as real and authentic as possible. Michael B. Jordan got himself into great condition for this role and was completely focused throughout the filming of the fight sequences. He truly looked like a trained fighter during the fight sequences. Rocky is training Adonis Creed in this movie and Sly was there to walk him to the middle of the ring for the referee’s instructions and be in his corner between rounds. Believe it or not, this was a 15 hour shooting day for this one fight scene (lunch included). The Director chose to take several takes of each sequence during the fight to make sure he captured the shots correctly in terms of intensity and realism. In addition to the match, there were other shots of the crowd cheering that had to be filmed which included the boxers walking down the aisles to the ring. However, the last thing to be filmed that evening was an undercard fight that I suppose will be shown in the movie before Creed’s fight.
Meeting Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan and Director Ryan Coogler
Now prior to the filming of the undercard fight, one of the assistant directors gave a few of us extras permission to go out and use the restrooms as some of us had been sitting in our assigned seats about 4 to 5 hours straight at that point. It was during this time that I was fortunate enough to meet the two stars of the film: Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan. As I was leaving the main hall to the lobby, I didn’t realize that Stallone and Jordan were both done filming all of their scenes for the day and were also leaving the hall. So as I was in the lobby headed towards the rest room, Stallone, Jordan, and some of the other actors were also entering the lobby at the very same time. As soon as I spotted Mr. Stallone, I immediately walked over to him, introduce myself, and let him know that I was a big fan of his work since childhood. He was VERY approachable and he talked with me briefly about the movie. He was also kind enough to take a photo with me and autograph a “Rocky” booklet I brought along in my bag. After this encounter, I approached Michael B. Jordan, talked with him a bit and also got a photo with him. Shortly after this, Stallone and Jordan were escorted away and the extras in the main hall quickly dispersed for the evening. Before I left, I saw the director Ryan Coogler near the boxing ring in the main hall wrapping up for the evening. I got his attention and he was also kind enough to speak with me about the film and also take a photo as well. So even after the long day of filming, I found Stallone, Jordan and Coogler all to be extremely generous and accommodating enough to chat with me, take pictures, and provide an autograph even though I was just an extra on set. It was truly the perfect ending to a great day.
Adonis Creed vs. “Pretty” Ricky Conlan Press Conference
The next day I worked as an extra was on 2/12/15. I was instructed to meet with other extras at a central location and then we were all bused to the film set which was at a building in a suburb of Philadelphia. Similar to the last day I worked, we all checked in, were looked over by the wardrobe department and given our instructions for the day. On this day, the filmmakers were filming the last big press conference for the final fight between Adonis Creed and “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. The Press Conference was actually being set in England as this is where the final fight is taking place in the movie. The set was decorated with a press table, chairs and huge banners of each fighter. On the floor of the room used, many extras were set to portray reporters and writers covering the press event. In this room, there was a balcony above on each side of the room, and several of us extras were placed on the balcony to cheer for Ricky Conlan (and entourage) as he walked down the aisle to his seat. We were also there to stay in position and watch from above as the press conference played out.
In this scene, Rocky, Adonis, and Conlan are all being asked questions by the press before their climactic fight. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this was a terrific scene that was heavy on dialogue. Stallone, Jordan, and Tony Bellew (the actor/professional boxer playing Ricky Conlan) were all great in this scene and the realistic nature of the scene should set the tone perfectly as they enter into their final match in the movie. Similar to my first day of filming, this was a very long shooting day (probably about 13 hours) as Ryan Coogler took several takes from different angles, different sides of the room, and had the actors adding subtle changes in their performances throughout the day.
Star and Director Confer with Stallone
All in all, working as an extra on the Creed movie was a fantastic experience and gave me a great appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into film making. One thing I noticed on set was the constant interaction between Ryan Coogler and Sylvester Stallone throughout the entire shoot. It was visible that Coogler often seemed to consult/interact with Stallone between shots to get his feedback for how a certain take went. And with that, Ryan Coogler appeared to be very receptive to the information Sly would provide. At the same time, Sly appeared very humble and receptive to the directors instructions to reshoot a scene a different way, have the dialogue said a different way, or have the actors add a certain nuance to their performance. And in terms of Michael B. Jordan, he just seemed to be a sponge, humble, full of enthusiasm and soaked up all the knowledge that Sly and Coogler had to share with him regarding his performance and portrayal of the character. It was truly a collaborative effort between the three of them and I am certain that Stallone’s and Jordan’s chemistry will translate well on film. With the way films are edited in post-production, I’m not sure If I will get to see myself on screen or not, however, just the thrill of being on set and actually being a part of the production is more than enough for me. However, the greatest moment of the entire experience was finally getting an opportunity to meet and chat with Sylvester Stallone who I have been a fan of since I started watching movies. Definitely an experience I will never forget!