Author David Morrell appeared on the Culture Creature podcast this week, Morrell is the author of the 1972 novel “First Blood” which was adapted into the film of the same name in 1982 starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo.
Still the most acclaimed entry of the series, the first “Rambo” is more of a modern western than anything else, while the sequels take on a more oversized action hero vibe. Morrell wasn’t really involved in the sequels bar writing the novelizations of the second and third.
With a new fifth and supposedly final “Rambo” film in the works, Morrell was asked about it and revealed he was at one time quite involved in it, but they’ve since gone in a new direction and shut him out. Shame too as from the sounds of it the story was going to return to the tone of “First Blood”:
“In 2015, when Sly was working on ‘Creed,’ he called me and asked to collaborate on a fifth ‘Rambo’ film. Every weekend through March and April, we had many conversations. They went on for like ninety minutes to two hours. He and I worked out a story, which we were thinking of in terms of film festivals – he wanted it to be a ‘soulful journey’ – that’s a word Sly likes to use. And it was. This was a really emotional, powerful story – which I can’t talk about.
He took it to the producers and they said, ‘No, we wanna do a movie about human trafficking.’ That was the end of that story so far as I know. Then Sly announced that he was retiring from the character. There was a big press announcement I believe in 2016, in which he said, ‘That’s it, I’m not playing Rambo anymore.’ So, alright, that’s fine.
Then, to my great surprise, I learned that there’s this fifth Rambo film being shot. Which is not the story that Sylvester and I talked about. It is, in fact, a human trafficking story – or, at least, it has something to do with the Mexican cartel. But here’s the problem: the film company will not talk to me. I know nothing about this movie. And I’m being asked, by journalists such as you, and all I can say is, I don’t know anything.
I will say this. There have been photos of Sly. At the end of the fourth film, he shows up at a ranch in Arizona. The shots that are being released show Sly on horseback in cowboy regalia. He’s a rancher. They show him in a bunkhouse with weapons and stuff. They show him wearing a cowboy hat with a vest.
I welcome that because when I wrote First Blood, I thought of it from the beginning as being a western. A modern western. If you look closely at it, this is the story of a gunfighter who wants to hang up his guns, but the local law won’t let him do it.”
“Rambo: Last Blood” is being directed by Adrian Grunberg and began filming in Bulgaria earlier this month ahead of a Fall 2019 release.