Last week, "The Expendables" star Sylvester Stallone sat down to answer a week's worth of fan-submitted at Ain't It Cool News. In one of the entries, someone asked about the possibility of Stallone returning to the character of John Rambo, not to play him but rather to get his origin story up there on the big screen.
Stallone, who has previously collaborated with AICN on these sorts of interviews and has always gamely entertained fan questions & theories, was intrigued. "I certainly think this is worth pondering because it’s intriguing to find the whys and wherefores of how people have come to become what they are," he wrote. "The traumas, the loss and the tragedy of being in Vietnam would certainly be a great challenge for a young actor and it would be ironic that Rambo directs younger Rambo after having played it for 20 plus years."
It's actually a pretty terrific idea, telling the story of how a crazed and broken John Rambo returned to the States in the original film, "First Blood." Who would you cast though? Stallone's shoes are mighty big ones to fill and it's going to take just the right actor to pull it off. Since chances are high that this isn't something that will ever happen I have no problem rattling off my casting ideas after the jump.
He's been (rightly, I think) called one of the best young actors working today. He's proven himself in small-time indies and big-budget blockbusters alike. He can act and do action. He might not be quite as cut as Stallone is or was, but that's what training programs are for. If you're going to tell this story, you might as well do it right. I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt could nail.
Liam Hemsworth is considerably more ripped than Gordon-Levitt. He just starred as a U.S. soldier in the Miley Cyrus flick, "The Last Song." He's got a top-level 3-D blockbuster coming, "Arabian Nights," in which he plays Sinbad. He doesn't quite have the young Stallone look that Gordon-Levitt can pull off, but he's a fine up-and-coming actor who would probably do well with the Rambo role.
James Badge Dale
As anyone who's seen "The Pacific" on HBO can attest, James Badge Dale has already proven himself as an actor in a wartime setting. We saw him as the tough-as-nails warrior, as the maybe-going-AWOL coward and as the can't-take-anymore psych patient. He's got the range necessary for the role. The look he can pull off. He may be busy with the AMC series "Rubicon" right now, but this probably isn't ever going to happen anyway. So in fantasy casting land, Badge Dale would be a fine pick for a young John Rambo.
The young "Conan" star certainly has the build for the part. And there's something rather funny about casting the star of a classic Arnold Schwarzenegger flick revival to lead the cast of a classic Sylvester Stallone revival. He's a longshot only because of his lack of proven fictional wartime experience. Also because this is never happening.
I know what you're thinking. You've been reading the list, humoring me. But you just read this name and now you're ready to walk away. A valid conclusion. But think about it! Imagine a young, pre-Vietnam John Rambo as a goofy, awkward, nerdy kid! Then he gets to the jungles and it changes him, man! People will look at Jay Baruchel in a whole new way after this movie! And he's already been to Vietnam (sort of), in "Tropic Thunder"! He's our next Stallone/Schwarzenegger/Willis/Lundgren/Li/Statham/Van-Damme/Seagal and then some all rolled into one!!! Believe it!!!