Friday, September 21, 2007

There's Hope For "Rambo: First Blood"...

Click image to enlarge...

Over 25 years have passed since "First Blood" wrapped filming in Hope, British Columbia, but local residents and 'Rambo' enthusiasts agree it doesn't feel like a quarter century has passed.

Back in 1981, BC's film industry was in its infancy when the Ministry of Tourism's Film Promotion Office, helmed by Dianne Neufeld and Justis Greene, received a call from a production company interested in shooting director Ted Kotcheff's "First Blood", a $15 million action feature in British Columbia.

After scouting several different locations in BC, the producers found the exact look they had been searching for in the small town of Hope.

Soon after, a crew of approximately 100 people (many of whom still work in the local industry) began to transform the town into the birthplace of a man who would become the deadly Viet Nam vet 'John Rambo'.

The Sheriff's Office was constructed on the lawn of Hope's District Hall, a gun shop and gas station were built and American flags, mailboxes and US Army billboards were placed along downtown streets.

During filming, cast/crew had to deal with a bitter cold snap, the theft of over 50 firearms, Stallone's injuries and the escape of a wild boar on its way to set.

Despite these challenges, "First Blood", released Friday October 22, 1982 was a major box office success, earning back its production costs within weeks of its release.

To mark the film's 25th anniversary, the Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex is celebrating the occasion with events and activities over the Thanksgiving long weekend, starting October 5th.

The anniversary plans currently include a welcome reception, a special screening of the REEL PLACES "First Blood" travelogue/doc by Seattle's Gas Light Alley Entertainment, film location tours, a 'Rambo' look-a-like contest, an art competition, a pig roast dinner and the publication of a collectible "First Blood" booklet.