By way of debuts, professional boxer, fitness fanatic and now actor , Florian ‘Big Nasty’ Munteanu can comfortably say that he has had quite a memorable one, playing in the role of Viktor Drago, in the latest addition to the Creed franchise, Creed II.
Big Nasty had the opportunity to work quite closely with Dolph Lundgren who plays Ivan Drago, Viktor’s father in the film. Their on-screen chemistry forces you the viewer to interact with the film in a rather intimate way. The rest of the cast, an all-star cast is made up of the legendary Sylvester Stallone, reprising the role of Rocky Balboa and Michael B. Jordan in the role of Adonis Creed.
Meeting with Big Nasty and film director Steven Caple Jr. one thing that’s apparent, behind the physically imposing stature, is a really shy guy, with a killer smile.
One of the things that had been burning a hole through my mind is just how Munteanu ended up with the name Big Nasty. “When were about 12 or 13, there was a game my friends and I used to play on the XBox called Ultimate Fighter and we had to create characters.
These characters came with names, and they chose Big Nasty for me and that’s kind of stuck with me. It’s no stripper name or anything like that,” he said with a laugh.
Seeing as he hadn’t worked as an exotic dancer, getting him film ready must have been an interesting task because of a lack of experience. According to Caple Jr, he explained that the collective had taken a slightly unconventional route, that required a certain level of vulnerability.
“We put a lot of work into our storyline, so from prep, it was an exercise of trust, of opening up. I am not sure if it's that Romanian/German thing but his loyalty meant everything but I definitely felt that from him.
"We had a journal system going, where he’d share all of these personal things. So that in directing him, I had a place from which to pull from a real place. I didn't want him to act. Because it’s his first film, and he’s so big if I told him to act that would be exactly what he’d do. I wanted him to flow, so I had to know what his relationship was like with his dad.
"I had to burn that journal so that no one else could read it, because it was so personal. That ensured he could be perfect for the scene. That was our chemistry, everyone knew what we were doing and they respected that,” he said.
With this process having firmly created an atmosphere for Munteanu to succeed, Big Nasty said the only difficulty was transitioning from being just a boxer to becoming a boxer who acts.
“That was the hardest transition, to not go for the real hit and to make the big hey makers miss. But I think the hardest thing was to connect the acting to all the physical stuff. Being physical, being big, being the tough guy, that comes easy to me. I do that every day. My character is pretty layered, has to deal with a lot of emotion, so I had to combine the two,” Big Nasty explained.
Quizzed on whether there are any similarities between Big Nasty and Viktor, Munteanu said the main one was the love and respect they both have for the father figure in their lives.
“The biggest similarity is that my father is the most important person in my life. With everything I do, I want to make him proud. That’s exactly what Viktor does. He doesn’t care for fame or world titles, he wants to make his father proud. That’s why he doesn’t question the demands his father has of him, and simply gets it done,” he said.
While it remains to be seen just how much more acting Big Nasty will get into, his break into the world of film through Creed II, is certainly one to remember.
* Creed II is in cinemas nationwide.