Ryan Coogler discussing Fruitvale Station at one of our free Summer Talks. Photo: Philip May
Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler has had a great 2013, first winning the Grand Jury and Audience prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, followed by further accolades in Cannes, then opening his film to critical and box office success earlier this month. Now comes news that Coogler is set to direct his first studio production with his Fruitvale Station star, Michael B. Jordan, as a possible lead in his follow-up, Creed, via Hollywood studio MGM.
According to Deadline.com, the project is a continuation of the '70s and '80s franchise, Rocky, which Coogler will co-write with Aaron Covington. Sylvester Stallone will also make a return as Rocky Balboa—a retired fighter who is now a trainer.
Coogler, who recently spoke at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center as part of Film Society's ongoing Summer Talks series ahead of the release of Fruitvale Station, had said Creed would be a dram project after he signed with talent agency WME. Stallone reportedly loved the idea and offered himself up to reprise his iconic role as Balboa. Stallone is currently working on a stage musical version of his 1976 Oscar-winning film, Rocky.
The storyline, according to Deadline, centers on the grandson of Apollo Creed (originally played by Carl Weathers) who has grown up amidst wealth and yearns to box. His family, however, discourages him from going into the ring like his grandfather, who reigned as the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa seized the title in Rocky II (1979). In need of help, he turns to Balboa, who is by now retired from boxing and not looking for a rematch.
"[Filmmaking is] an outlet to get my frustrations out and to ask questions," Coogler said to Film Society's Eugene Hernandez at the Summer Talks series ahead of the release of Fruitvale Station. "As a filmmaker, I try to find the happiness and the darkness and the sadness and see how we can grow from that."