10 Things You Might Not Know About FIRST BLOOD - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About FIRST BLOOD

For Geek Dave civilian life is nothing!

1. The 1982 film First Blood is based on the 1972 novel of the same name by David Morrell. Morrell began writing the book four years before that whilst work as an English professor at the University of Iowa and hearing about the experiences of his students who had fought in Vietnam. Morrell had struggled to come up with a suitable name for his main character, then one day his wife bought home the groceries and among them was a supply of apples. The brand - Rambo Apples!

2. In 1972, shortly after the novel's publication, Morrell sold the film rights to First Blood to Columbia Pictures, who in turn sold them to Warner Bros. This trend continued for almost ten years, with the story passing through three companies and eighteen screenplays. Finally, Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar of Anabasis Investments, two film distributors looking to become producers, obtained the film rights. They altered the story from a transposal of the Vietnam War to America to a "cheer for the underdog" story, thus beginning the Rambo film series.

3. During the decade of development hell, many actors were linked to the role of John Rambo. In 1975 Steve McQueen was offered the part, but after he accepted the then producers rejected him because they considered him too old to play a Vietnam veteran.

Then, at the start of the 1980s, John Travolta was briefly linked to the role of John Rambo. He eventually withdrew himself from consideration after reading the script and deciding it was "too violent".

4. Director Ted Kotcheff had first been approached with the project in 1976, but had left the production behind after it was, again, sold to a different film company. He only returned to work on First Blood after Kassar and Vajna offered to finance another project of his choice. A new screenplay was drafted by Michael Kozoll and William Sackheim. Kotcheff then offered the role of John Rambo to Sylvester Stallone, and the actor accepted after reading the script through a weekend.

5. After the success of the Rocky films, Sylvester Stallone's star power enabled him to rewrite the script for First Blood, to make the character of John Rambo more sympathetic. While Morrell's book has the Rambo character kill many of his pursuers, and Kozoll and Sackheim's draft had him killing sixteen people, in the movie Rambo does not directly cause the death of any police or national guardsmen. Stallone also decided to let Rambo survive the film instead of keeping the book's ending where he dies. In total, Stallone did an estimated seven revisions of the script, continuing to do so as filming began.

6. Academy Award winner Lee Marvin was offered the part of Colonel Trautman, but turned it down. Kirk Douglas was eventually hired, but just before shooting began, Douglas quit the role over a script dispute. He did not like Stallones's new revision, with John Rambo surviving, instead Douglas wanted the film to end as the book did - Rambo and Sheriff Teasle fatally wound each other, Trautman finishes Rambo with a kill shot then sits with the dying Teasle for the sheriff’s final moments.

Rock Hudson was then approached for the role, but was soon to undergo heart surgery and had to pass. Richard Crenna was quickly hired as a replacement just as filming was about to get underway. The role of Colonel Trautman became the veteran character actor's most famous role.

7. The film was shot in British Columbia, Canada during the winter of 1981/82. All of the weaponry used had to be imported into Canada from the United States. Twice! As midway through filming over 50 of the imported firearms were stolen and were never found!

8. Dispute Stallone's decision to end the film with Rambo turning himself in at Colonel Trautman's urging, a suicide scene was filmed as a potential ending. In it, Rambo begs the Colonel to kill him, not able to cope with life any more. Rambo puts the gun in Trautman's hand and tells him to do it, but Trautman pulls away. Rambo then grasps his hand back towards his torso, clasping his fingers across the Colonel's and squeezing the trigger.

It is below...

9. The large piece of rotten canvas that Rambo finds in the woods and cuts into a makeshift coat, was not a movie prop, but a real piece of rotten canvas found by the film crew during production. Since there was only one piece, Sylvester Stallone joked about how the canvas became a treasured prop on the set. After filming ended, Stallone kept the rotten canvas and still has it in his possession to this very day.

10. The first rough cut of First Blood was nearly three and a half hours long and, according to Sylvester Stallone, it was so bad that it made him and his agent sick. Stallone wanted to buy the movie and destroy it, thinking that it was a career killer.

After heavy re-editing, the film was cut down to 93 minutes. This was the version which was ultimately released in theaters and went on to make $125 million worldwide, against a $14 million budget. It also became Sylvester Stallone's first non-Rocky cinematic hit, after a string of flops.

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