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Newspaper "The Hope Standard" about the filming

"Lights, camera, action" for Hope

October 7, 1981

A major motion picture, starring Sylvester Stallone and Kirk Douglas is going to be filmed in and around Hope prior to Christmas.

In a modern day western the good guy - Stallone - has a run with the local sheriff, yet to be casted, and in the closing scenes shoots it out in a spectacular showdown in downtown Hope.

Stallone, an ex-green beret, looking for a wartime buddy, is thrown in jail on a trumped-up charge by a surly sheriff, who takes a dislike to Stallone's "hippie" appearance.

Stallone escapes to the mountains; a deputy dies in the chase; the conflict escalates, and Stallone quickly turns the tables from being hunted to the hunter.

As Stallone's commander and trainer in Vietnam, Kirk Douglas is called in to round-up his formidable protege, a congressional medal of honor recipient.

The movie is named after and based on author David Morrell's fictional best seller "First Blood", published in 1972.

Directing First Blood will be Ted Kotcheff, a Canadian known for box office successes "The Apprentieship of Duddy Kravitz" and "North Dallas Forty." Filming will begin in mid-November and should last four to five weeks.

Producer Ed Carlin told Hope council, during a successful pitch for the town's co-operation last Thursday, that this adventure film will have a high special effects content.

Car chases, the explosion of a service station and the final devastating shootout, should, along with watching major Hollywood stars in action, prove entertaining Hope residents, Carlin said.

In addition to entertainment, Hope will benefit by cashing in on up to $500,000 for hosting a crew, ranging from 50 to 100 people, he claimed.

In exchange, Carlin said, "we want nothing more than good will and cooperation from the town".

Hope, ideally situated for "First Blood" with its mountainous backdrop for the manhunt, was selected from a lengthy list list of B.C. towns.

"I've seen more towns and trees in this province than most British Columbians," joked Carlin. He credited the provincial tourism ministry's aggressive promotion for luring First Blood's production into B.C.

For some Hope residents, this film will be their one chance to hit the big screen. In a week or two, First Blood Productions will set up an office where those interested in being an extra may drop off a picture of themselves and a resume.

Casting will be primarily for crowd scenes, Carlin said. No speaking parts for local residents are being considered at this time.

Hope volunteer fire department has already been casted for the service station explosion, where Stallone returns from the mountains for revenge.

In this particular scene Stallone steals an army truck, crashes into a service station, spreads gasoline and then lights the fuel.

Carlin said the resulting fire will last from one to two hours. The location of the service station, an actual building to be three-quarters constructed, has not been determined yet.

Another building will be partially constructed in front of townhall on the corner of Third Avenue and Wallace Street. This building will serve as the sheriff's office and will be almost identical architecturally to townhall. A building crew of 15 to 20 men may arrive as early as next week.

Carlin said 90 per cent of his personnel are Canadians, including about 75 technicians. The Americans are special effects experts and ,of course, the lead actors.

Both Stallone and Douglas will be staying in homes, rented by First Blood Productions, in or near Hope, Carlin noted.

He said both stars chose this film not for the money but because they enjoyed their roles and the story.

Stallone liked First Blood because his part is "physical," "masculine" and much of it is filmed "outside." " I think he was enamored by it," Carlin said.

And Douglas chose First Blood because he gets to play "a heavy" - a role most actors have fun playing, Carlin added.

Some filming will be shot in the Kettle Valley tunnels and a week or two of filming may take place on Vancouver Island, where Carlin spotted a mountain ledge ideal for a hunt scene. He hopes to find a suitable ledge here to avoid moving.

In Hope, filming will mean temporary street closures. Carlin said most filming will be done at night and street closures will only last for five to 10 minute intervals in the car chase scenes.

In the final shotsdown between Stallone and the sheriff a spectacular shoot-out primarily on Third Avenue erupts, which will shatter store windows and street lights.

First Blood Productions will be contacting store owners to enlist their cooperation.

"Historically," Carlin told council, property damaged "is usually replaced better than new."

He said First Blood Productions has a $10 million insurance policy. He also assured Hope mayor Keith Gardner that he would produce an independent statement of First Blood Production's solvency.

A public information meeting will be held in townhall just prior to First Blood going into production.

With co-operation from Hope Residents, Carlin said he could look forward to " a successful film for us and the town."

Only one thing could go wrong, he noted. If it snows, effectively ruining the film's continuity, Carlin admitted he has no idea what he will do. "That's a possibility I don't even want to face."

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