"We did a good job, didn't we?" asks Florian Munteanu aka Big Nasty with a laugh at the end of the interview, which was conducted on the occasion of his upcoming film and the collaboration between him and Born Originals.
From Bavaria to Hollywood
If you look at Florian's life and career, this sentence fits perfectly. Growing up in Bogen, Bavaria, the German with Romanian roots started martial arts at a young age, inspired by his father. After successfully completing his studies in applied media in 2014, his first experience as an actor followed two years later in the short film Bogat. Then came his breakthrough in 2018: as Viktor Drago, son of Rocky rival Ivan Drago, Florian made his Hollywood debut in Creed 2, alongside Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, kicking off his international career. Some three years later, Munteanu is now no longer talking about Creed, but about his new role in the Marvel movie 'Shang-Chi Legends and the Legend of the Ten Rings'. "Thank God!", says Florian with a smile on his face.
Next Stop: Born Originals
After the entire shoot took place at Disney Studios in Australia, the final touches are now in place. "The film is now in the can and ready for the premiere. I now have to go back to LA for a reshoot for two more days, but then the plan is to present the film after that." (Film was pushed to September due to Corona, author's note), said Florian, who is very proud of his upcoming role. "I myself am my biggest critic, but I can say that I'm very proud of my performance and I can't wait for the film to drop." That he is looking at himself very closely can be seen in the next sentence:. "After Creed 2, it became very quiet for me and it was hard to create a new hype. But my team and I always stayed on it and now the Hypetrain is rolling again," Florian says with a laugh. Further horsepower for the Hypetrain should also come, among other things, from the joint sneaker that Florian has developed together with Born Orignals and which is to be released for the film release. After they got to know each other at the 'Made For More Award' in Munich at the beginning of 2019, a relaxed and trusting relationship developed over time, which has now resulted in this collaboration. "Born Originals stands for individuality and interesting stories that are worth telling. That's why it was quickly clear to me that Flo and Born Originals were a perfect match. The fact that it's then also so cool on a personal basis makes me even more happy," says Melvin Lamberty, founder and CEO of Born Originals. Florian sums it up like this, even though he probably didn't expect such greatness from the whole collaboration: "If I'm honest, I wouldn't have thought that we would implement a project on this scale," says Florian, who then goes on to explain: "Melvin and I have been in contact again and again over the two years and you just quickly realized that it just fits on an interpersonal level and that we are now not just doing this standard thing, but a campaign that will positively shock the community."
Childhood Dream Comes True
Based on his role in the film, the "Razorfist," a Nike Air Force 1 will be released in a special design. Talking to Florian about 'his' sneaker, you can directly feel his enthusiasm for the whole project: "I got my first Nikes from my father when I was a little boy and from then on my enthusiasm for sneakers was awakened. From there, you can almost call it a childhood dream to design my own shoe and release it now." He sums up the collaboration with Born Originals as follows: "With Born Originals I have the perfect partner at my side for this project. When my guys and I threw the first ideas together, it only took a few days before we were shown the first designs. In the end, it turned out to be exactly the shoe I wanted." The shoe, consisting of an appliqué on the outer sides, hand-painted areas and extra stitched appliqués on the tongue, also holds two details that Florian is particularly proud of. "Since it's the first Asian Marvel movie, we thought we'd add two Chinese words to the shoe. So now the characters for 'Big' and 'Nasty' are on the heels." The 1.93 meter tall 'closet' explains where his nickname "Big Nasty" comes from: "Since I actually come from boxing, this was my name in the ring at the time, my alter ego, so to speak, that let out the beast in me. My friends then continued to call me that and it stuck. Of course, the name is also very popular on the American market. But don't worry, in real life I'm quite a nice guy," Florian says with a laugh.
"Trust yourself and never forget who you are."
If you develop such an exclusive sneaker, then of course the appropriate packaging must not be missing. For this reason, the sneaker, which is limited to 200 pairs, comes in a special box on which there will also be some details, including a quote with the words "Trust yourself and never forget who you are". It's precisely this motto that the 30-year-old keeps reminding himself of: "I've often noticed in life that things don't only go up. But especially then it's important to seize the opportunities that come your way. I simply live this quote!" Florian himself knows that these opportunities come more often now, and he already has his next role secured. Alongside US acting greats such as Kevin Hart and Cate Blanchett, he will be seen in the film 'Borderlands'.
Looking Forward to the Future
The campaign between the German counterpart to 'The Rock' and Born Originals is now scheduled to be released in September, just in time for the film's release, which has already been postponed three times. Melvin Lamberty is already looking forward to it, saying, "We're just excited to see how it all turns out. I think it's like it says on the box in this case: trust yourself. Flo's story is special and we are happy to have such a project now." Flo also hits the same note again with his words, "When you see what kind of product they have created and when you see the content to go with it, it's almost like making your own movie! I'm just so hyped and can't wait for the release of the movie and the sneakers!", says Florian, who also doesn't rule out future projects. "There is nothing cooler than creating the way to the top together. Both sides are ambitious and have a lot planned. I'm looking forward to everything that's coming," Florian concludes. What do you say? We pulled it off well, didn't we?
Photography: Janik Bienemann
Text: Jan-Hendrik Keiser
Interview: Melvin Lamberty