A chainsaw artist has carved a statue honouring a B.C. town’s indelible place in movie history.
The Abbotsford News reports that Edmonton-based chainsaw carver Ryan Villiers unveiled a statue of Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo in Hope, B.C., the town where the 1982 action hit “First Blood” was filmed.
The project came about after a town councillor saw some of Villiers’ other chainsaw-carved sculptures — including Don Cherry, “Guardians of the Galaxy” character Groot and “Cheers” barfly Norm — and commissioned him to create a carving of Rambo.
Villiers told the newspaper that he had 200-300 screenshots of Stallone in the film on his phone while carving the fine details, and heard from Stallone’s agent when he caught wind of the project.
Local town (Hope, BC, where movie was filmed) just unveiled a machine gun totting Rambo statue… and its a lot to take it. Road trip! pic.twitter.com/yxIb0MuScY
— Blaine Hodge 🌸 (@nullterm) August 15, 2020
According to Villiers, Stallone tracked the sculpture’s progress, initially seeing photos of the carving when it was still unadorned wood, with Stallone’s agent telling him that the actor loved what he saw. “That was icing on the cake for me,” Villiers said.
“’First Blood’ fans have been waiting for this moment for almost 30 years,” said local tourism promoter Bryan McKinney at the statue’s grand unveiling on Aug. 14.
“This day is for the fans, the millions of them, that are around the globe and I’m not lying, it’s a little bit of an emotional day for sure,” McKinney added. “We often like to say, you know what, the co-star of this film is Hope, B.C., and a lot of the fans they come to our town because of the way the town looked on screen.”
Stallone himself weighed in, sharing some photos of the sculpture on Instagram to declare he was “very proud” to see one of his most famous cinematic creations immortalized in red cedar.
Anyone curious to see how it came together can check out Villiers’ Instagram, where the entire project was documented from beginning to end.
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Ladies and gentlemen… introducing my version of Rambo. It was a journey to say the least.. I would like to give special thanks to Victor Arthur Smith and Brian McKinney for the opportunity to create this once in a life time carving. The official unveiling will be down town Hope, British Columbia at 3pm this afternoon. #rambo #woodsculpture #chainsawcarving #yeg #yegart #sylvesterstallone