Ryan Coogler (174381)
Credit: Contributed

“Creed” is the seventh “Rocky” movie and the first that the franchise’s creator and star, Sylvester Stallone, didn’t write, Ryan Coogler did.

“Creed” stars Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson (“Dear White People”) and legend Sylvester Stallone in a contemporary retelling of the “Rocky” saga. The shift is sophisticated, with the focus moving from Philly’s working-class white neighborhoods to African-American millennials.

The 29-year-old writer-director has the shine of a winner. It’s a signature glow that’s so bright a blind man has to shield his eyes from the bouncing reflection. Mark my words, by the time the film award season rolls around, you will understand the excitement building around Coogler.

In his first film, “Fruitvale Station,” in which Jordan also starred, about a young African-American man fatally shot by a transit officer, Coogler won an independent movie audience award and the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival (2013).

Coogler was named a Time Warner Foundation Fellow in 2012, when he was accepted into the Sundance Institute Screenwriter’s Lab.

After leaving the “Creed” screening, I fired off a text to the film’s publicist, Tagan Lee, exclaiming, “I think I just saw the perfect script! Coogler knows screenplay structure like the back of his athletic hands!”

Jordan plays Adonis Creed, the angry son of Apollo Creed, the father he never knew.

Apollo had been Rocky’s first rival and then his pal before being killed in “Rocky IV” by Russian heavyweight Ivan Drago. Blood is thick and Adonis is a natural-born fighter but boxes under a nom de guerre. Having trained himself, his technique is absent, so he persuades a reclusive and ailing Rocky to prepare him for the light-heavyweight title “one step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at at time.”

Here is Part 1 with the award-winning Coogler:

AmNews: Hi, this is the Amsterdam News.

Ryan Coogler: Cool. I know someone who lives there.

Honey, this is the New York Amsterdam News … [New York] there are areas that definitely “smell” like Amsterdam.

(Laughing) Oh, snap! That’s funny.

Ryan, you had me bawling like a baby in the screening. Did you know that the critics clapped during the movie?

Are you serious? That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that.

I must share. Your screenplay is excellent. One mantra touched me: “One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at time”—explain.

I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember. My dad got me into athletics at a very early age. He inspired this film in many ways. I learned so many lessons about life from playing sports. This idea that sports is a microscopic lesson of life [is true], once you learn that discipline.

In studying boxing, I learned that sport had the most life lessons. In the film, Rocky is really teaching patience. That’s how the line, “One step. One punch. One round,” came up.

How did “you” convince “the” Stallone to let you write and direct “Creed?”

Sly’s many things, but he’s definitely not an easy sell. It took some time. I came to love the “Rocky” franchise through my father. He fell ill right around the time I was making “Fruitvale,” and I was finishing up film school. I would say that was late 2011. I was in prep [on “Fruitvale”], but I told my agents about the project. And then I got a chance to pitch it to Stallone. Then after “Fruitvale” came out, [Stallone] reached out again and we started to figure out whether we could make it work.

Your crew is first rate. Ryan, I am impressed. They gave me chills. Can you share more about director of photography Maryse Alberti (“The Wrestler”), costume designers Emma Potter (“Song One”), Antoinette Messam (“Orphan”), as well as your “Fruitvale Station” team: editors Michael P. Shawver and Claudia Castello; production designer Hannah Beachler; and composer Ludwig Goransson?

Thank you so much for expressing your appreciation for my crew. What do you want to know?

Part 2, next week, Ryan Coogler, director and screenwriter of “Creed,” talks about making movies with a terrific crew.

“Creed” opens Nov. 25.