Sylvester Stallone, mastermind behind the Rocky franchise, is open to giving WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder a shot at playing the son of Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in a potential Creed III.
Asked by TMZ if Wilder could punch his way into the role, Stallone joked, "Not tall enough. He's gotta grow a little bit."
The Creed II co-writer and producer added Wilder could "absolutely" top Mr. T's Lang, who opposed Stallone's champion fighter Rocky Balboa in 1982's Rocky III.
"Yeah, he's a very nice man, absolutely," Stallone said. "I think he has a lot of hidden talents."
If Wilder went out for the role, Stallone "certainly wouldn't advocate against it."
"I think people are multi-talented and should be given a chance. And at least give it a chance to prove themselves or fail on their own terms," Stallone said. "So yes, the answer is 'come one, come all.'"
Asked if he would mentor Wilder as an actor — in the vein Stallone's Balboa trained Adonis 'Donny' Johnson Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of legendary champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) — Stallone said, "No. You either got it or you don't."
"Like some sensei? 'Listen to me grasshopper,'" the veteran actor said with a laugh. "No, I don't think so."
Wilder previously told TMZ he is "most definitely" interested in squaring off against WBO heavyweight champion Adonis in a potential Creed III as the hard-hitting son of Clubber Lang.
"My passion is acting. So after boxing or in the midst of my career, that's what I want to convert to is acting — I want to act like I'm getting hit, not actually getting hit," Wilder said. "But I love acting, I got a true passion for it."
Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. said in recent weeks he originally intended to bring back Mr. T for a cameo appearance. Caple and Jordan mulled over bringing back Lang who would have "a daughter or something like that out in the West or New Mexico," but noted he doesn't know if Lang will return.
Stallone has since retired the role of Rocky, officially passing the mantle to Jordan in a video shared to Instagram November 28.
"I thought Rocky was over in 2006 and I was very happy with that. And then all of a sudden this young man presented himself, and the whole story changed," Stallone says in the video, gesturing to Jordan.
"It went on to a new generation, new problems, new adventures. And I couldn't be happier, because as I step back — as my story has been told — there's a whole new world that's gonna be opening up for the audience, for this generation."
Creed II stars Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu, who played father-son team Ivan and Viktor Drago, have expressed doubt Stallone has truly stepped away from the role despite the film ending with an emotional sendoff for the battered champion. A Creed III has yet to be officially announced.