Vlad Yudin, Director of Generation Iron, on Steroids, Meatheads, and Why Size Matters
Long before Arnold was the Governator, the Terminator, or cheating hubby of Maria Shriver, he was the original meathead. A legend in the bodybuilding world, Schwarzenegger was immortalized onscreen in the classic bodybuilding flick Pumping Iron.
Chris Sorenson/The Vladar Company
Arnold's achievements launched a generation of bodybuilders who've since taken the sport to new heights of bulging biceps, swollen pecs, and rock-hard abs. This weekend, a fresh, modern-day installment of the 1977 original hits theaters. Generation Iron is an up-close look at the lives of professional bodybuilders and their journeys to the Mr. Olympia competition, narrated by Mickey Rourke.
Ahead of the film's release this Friday, we spoke with Director Vlad Yudin about the meathead stigma, sensitive musclemen, and big egos.
Cultist: How does this film differ from Pumping Iron?
Vlad Yudin: Well, you know Pumping Iron is a classic film. It really introduced bodybuilding for the first time ever in the 1970s, and obviously, more than 30 years later, a lot has changed. Now Generation Iron is reintroducing bodybuilding to the world and reintroducing new characters. In the sense that Pumping Iron kind of introduced bodybuilding, we go a little bit deeper to get to know the new characters. We go beyond the gym, beyond the stage, and really explore the mental aspect of the sport. It's very dynamic and very interesting. People come from all over the world [to Mr. Olympia]. We've got the top bodybuilder from Japan, from Germany, from America -- it's a great competition.
How did you approach the subject matter?
I wanted to portray it in a very honest way. There's good and bad like any other sport, and of course bodybuilding is a very misunderstood and still taboo sport. Most people who don't know much about the lifestyle have their own stereotypes. I think most of us think they're unintelligent. I think "meathead" is the most common term to describe somebody who's into bodybuilding. But there are many types out there, and they have a lot of interesting stories. Most people who see the film will be surprised at the characters and what they bring to the table.