You may not know Carl Weathers as the director behind the skimpy-loincloth small-screen guilty pleasure Sheena, but you almost certainly know him as Rocky‘s sweet-science nemesis Apollo Creed. You’ll recall that while Sylvester Stallone’s Italian Stallion was busy ”eating lightning and crapping thunder,” Apollo was preening around like Muhammad Ali’s even more colorful, cocksure cousin. Now, on the 25th anniversary of the 1976 underdog boxing classic — and on the eve of a special DVD boxed set of the five Rocky flicks — Weathers agreed to answer the bell and emerge from his corner to field a few retrospective low blows about Action Jackson, Predator, and whether he still has the Eye of the Tiger.
— Around the house, which of Apollo Creed’s ringside nicknames do you like to go by: the Master of Disaster, the King of Sting, or the Count of Monte Fisto?
The Count of Monte Fisto is clever, but my favorite is the one Mad magazine came up with: Appalling Greed.
— Do you still have those red, white, and blue boxing trunks?
You know I do. They’ve got the original Apollo blood all over ’em and they’re in storage along with whatever else I’ve been able to steal from my movies.
— Even you have to admit that the only Rocky flick you weren’t in — Rocky V — sucked, right?
I really can’t say that because I’ve never seen it to this day.
— Tell us, Mr. Monte Fisto, do you still have the Eye of the Tiger?
I can’t go a day without the Eye of the Tiger! It’s stronger than it was back then.
— In Action Jackson, you costarred with Sharon Stone before she became famous…
Unfortunately, her role was small…but it’s amazing how the movie company has made her picture so much bigger on the Action Jackson video box since then.
— And ’80s sexpot Vanity was in it too. Were you surprised when she became a born-again Christian?
Actually, it’s amazing — the older I’ve gotten, the less surprised I am by what people choose to do. If they’re happy, you’re happy for them.
— You played football at San Diego State (and later for the Oakland Raiders) and were also a theater major. Aren’t football players supposed to beat up thespians?
Some of the guys just thought I was this weird Jekyll and Hyde character because I was making this trek across campus to go put on tights and do Shakespeare.
— In Predator, you costarred with governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s thinking about running for office. Was there something in the Kool-Aid on the set? Do you think you would ever run for office?
Oh my God, I don’t know what the hell I’d run for. But [Predator costar] Bill Duke could probably do it, he’s a pretty politically savvy guy. That was one of the two best experiences I’ve had making movies….It’s such a guy movie.
— You’ve played characters called Apollo Creed, Action Jackson, Fortune Dane, Hurricane Smith, Hambone, and Chubbs. Those are some silly-ass names…
But you remember them! I don’t know if a rose by any other name smells so sweet.
— You were also in an episode of Starsky and Hutch. Did you ever figure out which was which?
The question is did they even know? I did Kung Fu, Good Times, S.W.A.T., The Six Million Dollar Man, and all of the Quinn Martin shows: The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones. I was like one of the Quinn Martin repertory players.
— Last question for the King of Sting: Do you own the George Foreman Grill?
No, and I’ll tell you why: I’m afraid I’ll be as big as George. But if George sent me one, I’d certainly use it. It’s scary how much money he’s made off that thing. If I was a little quicker I could’ve come up with the Apollo Creed Grill. Now, that would have made some money.