HOPE (NEWS 1130) — It’s been almost 40 years since First Blood was shot in Hope, and now devoted Rambo fans who flock to the small town have another reason to visit.
A slightly-larger-than-life-sized statue of John Rambo — carved mostly by chainsaw — has been set up at an intersection where the sets for the sheriff’s station and the gun shop once stood.
“We have between 15- and 20,000 Fans come specifically to Hope because this is where their favourite action film was shot,” says Brian McKinney with the Hope Visitors Centre.
“These fans are passionate, they’re crazy — but in a good way. They like to go and stand in that one moment of time where their favourite character, John Rambo, stood during the movie.”
The new statue was unveiled last weekend, and since Sylvester Stallone gave it his stamp of approval in a social media post the visitors centre has been busy.
“Things have been kind of crazy and hectic in our office here in terms of social media and trying to keep up with all the buzz and everything but all in all it’s been a great hectic and a great crazy,” McKinney says.
The statue has been added to the list of destinations on a self-guided Rambo tour through town.
Ryan Villiers, an Edmonton-area artist made sure the statue matched Stallone’s dimensions–down to the circumference of his biceps.
“He took the challenge on and he delivered in a big way. Apparently Sylvester Stallone got wind of it and Ryan wanted his blessing before the carving was put up,” McKinney says.
“He said ‘Well I like it, I only have one question: How tall is it?”
The statue itself stands 5’10” — Stallone’s height. But a pedestal provides a boost so it stands at 6’3″.