Still riding the wave of success from his directorial debut, Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler is in talks to direct the next installment in the famed Rocky franchise, according to Deadline.
The film, currently entitled Creed, the first in the series since 2006, would reportedly reunite Coogler with actor Michael B. Jordan, who stars as Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. Sylvester Stallone, the creator and star of all six Rocky films, is also involved in the project, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
While Coogler already had the relationship with Jordan, the agency put him together with Stallone. Stallone, who is right now heavily involved in a stage musical transfer of his original Oscar-winning 1976 film Rocky, loved the idea and felt it was strong enough for him to bring back his signature screen character. Stallone and Coogler then approached MGM's Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, and they flipped for it. The film will be produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, who produced the original, along with Stallone and Kevin King.
The intention is for Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed (played in the early movies by Carl Weathers). Raised in an upper-crust home thanks to the ring riches earned by his grandfather, the young man doesn't have to box and his family doesn't want him to. Yet, he has the natural instinct and gifts and potential that made his grandfather the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s Rocky II. Creed's grandson needs a mentor and turns to Balboa, who is out of boxing completely and not eager to return.
Balboa was Apollo Creed's greatest opponent and later his best friend until that fateful moment when Balboa heeded Creed's wishes and didn't stop the fight against the Soviet fighter Drago (played by Dolph Lungdren in 1985′s Rocky IV) before the giant delivered what proved to be a fatal beating.
Read more at Deadline.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.