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Who is the Rambo character based on?

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February 02, 2008 8:22PM

quote from interviue Where did you come up with the name Rambo?

In the early stages of composition, I struggled to find a strong name for the character. One afternoon while I was writing, my wife came home from a grocery store and said that she'd found a new kind of apple that she thought was delicious. Apples were the farthest thing from my mind while I struggled to find that character's name, but politely I took a bite of the apple and discovered that it was in fact delicious. "What's it called?" I asked. "Rambo," she replied. This was in Pennsylvania, where the Rambo type of apple is grown and appreciated. Instantly, I recognized the sound of force. It also reminded me of the way some people pronounce the name of a French poet I'd been studying, Rimbaud, whose most famous work is A SEASON IN HELL, which I felt was an apt metaphor for the prisoner-of-war experiences that I imagined Rambo suffering.

In my novel, the character had only the last name. Later, the scriptwriters for the movie gave him a first name "John," as in the Civil War song about a returning veteran, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

- David Morrell