Real-Life Boxer Almost Played Clubber Lang in Rocky III
In the third installment of the Rocky series, the titular boxer takes on Clubber Lang, with the real-life boxer almost playing the antagonist.
Rocky III sees Sylvester Stallone's titular character going up against Clubber Lang, though a real-life famous '70s boxer almost played the latter. Clubber Lang is introduced as a vicious, hungry new boxer who challenges Rocky after accusing him of fighting easier opponents throughout his career. The film's character is played by iconic action star Mr. T, a very different kind of cast than it could have been.
Originally, the rival boxer was intended to be played by someone else. This would start a trend seen in the Creed movies, which saw real fighters like Tony Bellew playing the titular character's antagonist. As Stallone (who won't be returning for Creed III) revealed on his Instagram, Mr. T's casting was initially very different.
Joe Frazier Almost Played Clubber Lang In Rocky III (& Why He Wasn't)
Stallone reveals that he wanted Joe Fraser to play Clubber Lang in order to push boxing movies into unprecedented territory. Frazier was the first boxer to defeat legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and became the sport's undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973. Frazier finished his career with a 34-4-1 record and was regularly at the top Heavyweight boxer of all time.
According to Stallone, Fraser was so excited about the possibility of playing Clubber Lang in Rocky III that the two even had a fighting match to get an idea of the upcoming fight in the film. This quarrel was the main reason why Frazier ended up losing to Mr. T. Frazier, one of Rocky's nemesis, Clubber Lang, and according to Stallone, Frazier was brutal and unreasonable in their quarrel Compromises, which ultimately gave the actor-director stitch. It was this decisive fight from Fraser that made Stallone realize that he needed another action star to stand against him, not a very dangerous fighter.
It's Good For Rocky III That Mr. T Played Clubber Lang
In the end, it's probably a good thing that Mr. T ends up playing Clubber Lang, as it fits the overall tone of Rocky better. Like many other villains in the "Rocky" series, Mr. T is a better fit for the bombastic, almost cheesy action-hero vibe than Fraser. Given Lang's eccentric, angry personality, an outgoing actor like Mr. T is the right choice for success. With Carl Weathers and Dolph Lundgren among others playing Loki's other villains, Mr. T in a way that makes the character fit The Rocky collection is so cute in 80's fashion. Ultimately, despite Joe Frazier's undoubted legacy in the real world of boxing, Clubber Lang, who was considered for Creed III, was the best choice for Rocky III.