The most difficult part of Sylvester's technique to master was "twisty-mouthed slur-shouting".


The most difficult part of Sylvester's technique to master was "twisty-mouthed slur-shouting".

CREED

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. JUVIE, 1998

TROUBLED ORPHAN YOUNG MICHAEL B. JORDAN is in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT for getting into a fight at KID JAIL when he is visited by PHYLICIA RASHAD.

PHYLICIA RASHAD

Good news, kid! Turns out the father you never knew was actually a rich famous sports superstar and he would totally have loved and supported you except for circumstances beyond his control. Now I’m going to whisk you away to live with a loving family in a huge mansion.

YOUNG MICHAEL B. JORDAN

...Are you shitting me? That is, point for point, the exact indulgent fantasy that every orphan kid has until they turn seven and realize how stupidly unrealistic it is. This is supposed to be the Rocky spinoff that returns us to the franchise’s grounded, believable roots, are we really kicking things off with this Little Orphan Annie bullshit?

PHYLICIA RASHAD

We sure are! Your dad was Apollo Creed, who conceived you about eight nanoseconds before he died, because we want to scooch you as close as possible to a reasonable age for starting a professional boxing career three whole decades later.

YOUNG MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Hey, I know that guy! I’ve probably seen him a bunch on YouTube! I’ve probably seen his violent death on YouTube, which is all kinds of wrong.

PHYLICIA RASHAD

Yes, he died in the ring. And let’s not go into the details of that particular incident beyond that, hmm? Nobody needs to be reminded of Soviet lab-experiment supermen or revenge fights that ended the Cold War, got it?

INT. GYM, PRESENT DAY

A now GROWN-UP and MEGA BUFF MICHAEL B. JORDAN is trying to get a BOXING TRAINER.

TRAINER

Fuck off, I refuse to train you because you’re Apollo Creed’s son. And I’ll use my guy-from-gym powers to control all other trainers into not taking you on either. What a believable obstacle!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

You don’t think I have what it takes? Look, I’ll prove it! Anyone in this gym right now who can land a punch on me gets my Mustang!

ANDRE WARD

Hey there, I’m the second-ranked light heavyweight boxer in the entire world, and I just happen to be in the room right now.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Oh.

(beaten to shit)

Well that was WAY more than one punch. But I guess we need to show off what a vicious bastard you are in order for our climactic fight to be more compelling.

ANDRE WARD

Heh, yeah, it really feels like that’s where we were going with that, doesn’t it?

(leaves movie)

TRAINER

Tsk tsk, you couldn’t even win a fight against your division’s second-best fighter before you’d had any training. Clearly I was right and you have no potential whatsoever.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Ah fuck everybody, I’m gonna make my own way as a boxer, without needing to use my famous heritage, so there! First step: move to Philadelphia and get trained by a former world champion by dropping my father’s name as hard as possible.

INT. SYLVESTER STALLONE’S RESTAURANT

MICHAEL goes to see SYLVESTER STALLONE.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

I am Apollo Creed’s son! Train me, for I am the son of Apollo Creed! I can prove it, cause I know about that secret fight between you from the end of Rocky III. Who won, by the way?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Oh, that’s a secret. Keeping that tie-breaker ambiguous is one of the coolest things this franchise ever did, so-

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

WHO WON THE DAMN FIGHT.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Okay then, screw a sense of mystery I guess. Your dad won, obviously, since this movie is doing everything it can to retcon him into the most perfect flawless boxer in the history of ever.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

So, will you train me?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Are you kidding? Do you have any idea what happened last time I was the trainer, not the fighter?

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

(sighs)

The guy you trained turned out to be a humongous asshole and you had to beat the crap out of him in a shitty, unsatisfying climactic parking lot brawl.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

I was just going to say Rocky V happened, but sure, that too.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

All right. I guess I’ll just go kill some time until you inevitably change your mind and the actual story can continue.

(leaves)

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING

With the plot currently on hiatus, MICHAEL decides to use his down time to get romantical with his neighbor TESSA THOMPSON.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

I’m a wannabe boxer, son of a professional fighter you probably never heard of, Nobody Q. Anonymousberg. You?

TESSA THOMPSON

I’m a singer-songwriter with a degenerative hearing disorder which will eventually send me completely deaf.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Woah. Are we really gonna be able to handle a subplot with that kind of dramatic weight? That seems like a lot of bittersweet tragedy for a shoehorned-in love interest.

TESSA THOMPSON

Don’t worry, we don’t ever try to actually engage the material on any meaningful level. It’s just that top Hollywood scientists have discovered that a single memorable detail is quite enough to give a side character the illusion of depth. So to the casual observer I seem well-developed and interesting, but in reality my entire personality is defined by the fact that I’m sometimes supportive of you, sometimes not, depending on what part of the movie it is.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Oh good, that sort of one-dimensional characterization we’re easily equipped to deal with.

INT. GYM

MICHAEL is WORKING OUT when SYLVESTER approaches him.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

All right, I figure that oughtta do it for the token refusal. I’ll train you.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Great! Let me just mention, since I want to make it on my own, I don’t want to let people know I’m Apollo Creed’s son. I’ll be fighting under my mother’s surname, Johnson. I won’t even use my pretentious, pansy-ass given name of Adonis - which probably earned me a few extra ass-kickings in juvie, thanks mom - but instead call myself Donnie.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

So you’re telling everybody your name is Don Johnson?

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

...Huh. I guess so. Oh well, let’s do this thing! Start imparting that sweet marble-mouthed brain-damaged wisdom!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

All right, I’ve had a lot of years in the ring, and I’ve learned that there’s only one thing you need to know in order to win: how to get punched in the face over and over again without losing consciousness.

(pause)

That’s it. Go back and watch my movies, that’s all I’ve got. I’m not a fast fighter or an agile fighter or a smart fighter, but I can keep absorbing a ridiculous amount of punishment and that’s how I win.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Oh, I see it now! Since you absolutely suck at defensive tactics and leave yourself wide open at all times, the other guy can’t resist throwing lots and lots of punches and eventually he’s just too exhausted to fight anymore!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Exactly! Basically just keep watching the episode of The Simpsons where Homer becomes a successful fighter purely on the virtue of his thick skull, that’s gonna be your bible. Now come on, you should move in with me, to the room where my late friend Paulie used to live.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Aww, did you have to kill off Paulie? Don’t tell me Burt Young had better things to do, I know that’s a lie.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Come on, kid, remember the last Rocky movie where we didn’t kill anyone off?

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Oh right. Rocky V.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

NEVER AGAIN.

SYLVESTER trains MICHAEL for a while. Then one day they get an offer from TRAINER RITCHIE COSTER.

RITCHIE COSTER

Hey Sylvester, I’m training my son as a fighter, and if he fights your guy I figure the publicity of having your name somewhere in the mix will help me out.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

So I get my first pro fight because I’m with Sylvester, and I’m with Sylvester because of my dad? Still not doing a great job of building my own legacy from nothing, am I... uh, Sly, why are you jumping up and down and clapping your hands excitedly?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Because you’re nowhere near ready to take on Ritchie’s son! You’re gonna have to get a lot better very quickly! And how do we do that?

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Um, I guess with a training mon-

SYLVESTER STALLONE

MONTAGE MONTAGE MONTAGE!!

(shakes Michael)

MONTAAAAAGE!!!!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Okay, I get it, this franchise has a huge boner for montages. Let’s go then.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

(leaping out window straight into montage)

MMMOOONNNTTTAAAGGGEEE

We have a TRAINING MONTAGE! There is RUNNING! And CALL BACKS! And KICKASS MUSIC! And CALL BACKS! And more CALL BACKS! Probably more CALL BACKS than strictly necessary! Finally MICHAEL is ready to FIGHT.

INT. ARENA

Before the FIGHT, RITCHIE has a word with SYLVESTER.

RITCHIE COSTER

So I did some poking around and found out this so-called “Don Johnson” is actually Apollo Creed’s kid. Don’t know how the son of one of history’s most famous athletes expected to keep it secret in this day and age. Realistically he wouldn’t even be able to get a parking ticket without getting his photo plastered all over TMZ.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Yeah well, that said, he does have the totally implausible hope that word doesn’t get out, so could you keep quiet about it?

RITCHIE COSTER

Oh sure, you can totally trust me not to tell everyone my kid’s fought Apollo Creed’s kid, thus getting his career a huge publicity boost.

(puts on “DONNIE JOHNSON = ADONIS CREED tshirt and cap)

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s something I have to do in Times Square real quick.

(grabs megaphone, leaves)

MICHAEL fights RITCHIE’S KID and wins! The next day, the internet goes nuts with stories about APOLLO CREED JUNIOR.

TESSA THOMPSON

You liar! You never told me you were Creed’s son! You just told me that you were the son of a professional boxer who died exactly thirty years ago, and that your non-biological “uncle” was Apollo Creed’s best friend, and yeah, maybe I should have figured it out by now.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

I’m sorry I lied. I just prefer not to use the name because, do you have any idea how frustrating it is to try and build your own career and identity, only to have everyone distracted by the fact that you share a name with one of the biggest athletic celebrities of all time? Seriously.

(directly into camera)

FUCKING SERIOUSLY.

TESSA THOMPSON

Oh all right then, all is immediately forgiven.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Wow, I kept my entire identity secret and you’re cool with it five minutes later? Clearly it’d take a REALLY major, unforgiveable infraction to get dumped by you!

TESSA THOMPSON

Ha! Just remember later that you said that.

INT. OFFICE

MICHAEL and SYLVESTER are called into a meeting with TRAINER GRAHAM McTAVISH.

GRAHAM MCTAVISH

Say guys, is it too late to start shamelessly copy/pasting the plot of the original Rocky? Because I manage the light heavyweight champion of the world, and he’s decided to give an untried nobody a flimsily-justified shot at the title.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

What do you say, kid? You’ve been determined to build your own legacy based on your own hard work and talent. Feel like getting a completely unwarranted bump up to a title shot based solely on the fact that you have a famous dad?

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Well it goes against my entire character motivation. And since we had to train like crazy just for me to be able to take on Ritchie’s noob son, presumably for me to fight the world champ immediately afterwards would end in a crushing defeat which could seriously derail my career. But what the hell, let’s do it!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Great! This gives us a perfect opportunity for another MON-

(pukes everywhere)

Urrrggh, never mind that, I’m fine, we can still do the monta-

(keeps puking)

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Woah, dude. This is Hollywood, where a mild cough is almost always a symptom of a terminal disease. For this, you should definitely see a doctor immediately before you shit out your entire digestive tract.

INT. HOSPITAL

DOCTOR

So, for the most surreal thing anybody’s said in a movie in years: Rocky Balboa, you have cancer.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Aw man. If it’s all the same, I think I’d rather not go through treatment. I mean, my wife tried chemo, and you know...

(evokes a lifetimes’ worth of weariness and loss)

DOCTOR

Agh! What the shit is happening on your face right now?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

I’m acting! I only just found out I can do this. You like it?

(slight crack in voice reveals pain behind stoic facade)

DOCTOR

Dude, quit it! You’re Sylvester Stallone, you’re not supposed to have believable emotions! This is freaking me out!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

(wordlessly expresses great depths of vulnerability and fear)

DOCTOR

AAAAAHHHHHHH

(runs away)

INT. GYM

SYLVESTER goes back to training MICHAEL.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

So it was, uh, nothing! Turns out sometimes you’re just so spectacularly healthy and illness-free that your body just starts vomiting out of pure joy. Now let’s get training!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Dude, you have a pamphlet entitled “So You’re About to Drop Dead from Cancer” sticking out of your coat pocket.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

(looks)

...Ah ha ha, yes I do. Yyyyeah. Well, it’s good to see we haven’t screwed up the “total fucking meathead” aspect of the Rocky character!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

So you’ll be getting treatment like a sane person, right?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Well I might if there were a single person left in my life that I cared about. But absolutely everyone who meant anything at all to me is dead. Nope, can’t think of a single person anywhere who gives me the slightest reason to bother staying alive.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Okay I get that the dramatic point of this scene is how much of a “fuck you Michael” this all is, but aren’t we completely forgetting that you have an actual no-fooling son out there somewhere?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Oh right. Um, he moved to Vancouver or something, so clearly he’s completely out of my life for good.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

That’s, what, a five hour flight away?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Exactly! Completely inaccessible! He might as well have ascended to the firmament and become a constellation!

(shrugs helplessly)

Besides, it’s not like your priorities are completely sorted out. When the stepmom who raised you for nearly twenty years disowned you for boxing, it barely nudged your abandonment issues. But now that some inarticulate old fart who used to beat up your dad is dying, you’re going berserk!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

BERSERK IS RIIIIGHT!!!

An emotional MICHAEL goes to TESSA’S GIG and gets into a random FIGHT that causes him to get momentarily ARRESTED.

TESSA THOMPSON

Fuck you, Michael! How dare you get into a short tussle near me, nearly but not quite causing some disturbance to my gig and getting yourself thrown in jail for like an hour! FUCK. YOU.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

I’m truly sorry. I was distraught because I just heard the news today, seems my life is gonna change, into one without an alive Sylvester in it. I’m sincerely regretful for the relatively minor thing I did whilst overcome with grief.

TESSA THOMPSON

Oh. That’s all extremely understandable. So naturally, PISS OFF AND DIE I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN BLAAARGH!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Seriously? When I’m at my most emotionally fragile you’re just gonna dump me on such a flimsy pretext?

TESSA THOMPSON

Look, the traditional structure of a tacked-on romantic subplot demands that you and I have conflict right about now. So unless you want to break open that creaky old boxing movie trope where the wife or girlfriend demands the fighter not go out there and get hurt anymore-

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Oh God no. You know what, what we got is fine.

INT. SYLVESTER’S PLACE

MICHAEL goes to talk some sense into SYLVESTER.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Look, stop being a pussy and just get the chemo, okay?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Come on, why would I want to put myself through an arduous, grueling regimen of physical self-torture just to continue living a long and healthy life? I only do that to win fistfights against big scary guys!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Well what if I pointed out that you could do your treatment... in MONTAGE FORM?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

...Damnit kid, you know I can't resist that. MONTAAAGE!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

M-M-M-MONTAGE!

There is TRAINING/CANCER MONTAGE! Pushups! Chemo! Jumping rope! Puking into the toilet! The tone is all over the fucking map! Finally MICHAEL is ready for the TITLE FIGHT.

INT. DRESSING ROOM

MICHAEL is about to go BOXING.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

All right, you’re ready for this! And we’re never mentioning the cancer thing again, so I guess I beat it or whatever!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Awesome!

TESSA THOMPSON

And look, I’m back! Just anticlimactically back, with no dialogue about it or anything!

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Double awesome!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

And your stepmom sent you a reconciliatory good-luck present! It’s a note saying to go make your own legacy, attached to an exact replica of your dad’s boxing shorts with your dad’s name embroidered on the front.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

Triple awesome if bafflingly contradictory! Okay, on those heartwarming notes, I should now go and beat a stranger into unconsciousness.

(leaves)

INT. BIG ROOM WHERE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE PAY TO WATCH TWO GUYS BEAT THE LIVING SNOT OF EACH OTHER AND THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL APPARENTLY

MICHAEL gets into the RING and prepares to FIGHT, while COMMENTATORS MAX KELLERMAN and JIM LAMPLEY (they're real guys, non-sports fans! Pretend to care) prepare to DESCRIBE EVERYTHING THE AUDIENCE IS SEEING in PAINSTAKING DETAIL.

MAX KELLERMAN

And the fight has begun! It looks like Jordan is employing Stallone’s patented five-phase fight strategy. We’re now seeing Phase One: Come Out Sucking, where our protagonist gets completely dominated in the first round, while we make comments like “He’s no match for the champ” and “This won’t be a long fight”.

JIM LAMPLEY

Oh and look, here comes Phase Two: Ha Ha Had You Fooled, where he steps up his game and shows off some dope moves, and we get all surprised and talk about how the champ will have his work cut out for him after all.

MAX KELLERMAN

Now Phase Three: M-O-N-T-A-A-A-G-E, where we breeze through a whole bunch of rounds to speed things along, giving the vague impression that the fighters are more or less evenly matched for that part.

JIM LAMPLEY

And on to Phase Four: Oh No I Suck Again, where the hero starts losing badly and possibly even - yes indeed, he’s been knocked to the mat, and is making a laughably transparent attempt to convince us that he’s down for the count.

MAX KELLERMAN

Hmm, can’t help but notice he isn’t struggling to pull himself to his feet before the count is up. Maybe this is legitimately - oh, nope, he was just waiting until the last possible moment to spring up like a jack-in-the-box.

JIM LAMPLEY

An unconventional approach, Max. Few fighters would have attempted something that comical-looking.

MAX KELLERMAN

And now we’re at everyone’s favorite part of the Rocky fight formula, Phase Five: Go Completely Apeshit and Punch the Other Guy Into Tar. Do you think it’ll be enough to win?

JIM LAMPLEY

I don’t know, Max, this is a Rocky film with actual integrity, like the first one and Rocky Balboa. Usually it’s just the sellout pieces of shit where the protagonist actually wins at the end.

MAX KELLERMAN

Ah, sure enough, the final bell has sounded and the other fighter is still conscious, which spells certain defeat for Jordan. After all, he’s been trained by a guy who literally never ever won on points, because he was just an apalling technical fighter.

The judges give the fight to THE OTHER GUY.

MICHAEL B. JORDAN

I lost my one-in-a-million shot at the title, but it’s all right because I proved myself, and that’s what’s really important! Tessa! YO, TESSAAA!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Wow, this movie wound up ripping off Rocky even more than Rocky II did.

END.

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