Huh? Chogyam Trungpa in Rambo? Well, yes and no. Here’s the story.
Just over a year ago, I became aware of Jake La Botz, a very interesting cat. He’s a seriously talented songwriter and musician, and a fellow meditator and tattoo enthusiast as well. We corresponded a little, and I asked him to contribute a photo and a short write-up about one of his tattoos, a beautifully-rendered portrait of , the late Tibetan Buddhist teacher and pioneer Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. You can see it here, in our second collection of “Body Vows” (which collect readers’ Dharma tattoos and their reasons for getting them).
Jake and I talked about him writing a piece for The Worst Horse, but then an email came through with some surprising news: seems he’d be out of touch for a while, heading to Northern Thailand to play a role in Sylvester Stallone’s then-yet-to-be-shot Rambo. I sure hadn’t seen that coming. But the fact is that Jake has actually done a bunch of acting, appearing in Ghost World, a couple of Steve Buscemi pictures, and a few other things. I was disappointed that the piece wasn’t gonna happen, but, what an opportunity for him!
So, now it’s a year later and I go to see Rambo on opening day. And there’s Jake’s name, early in the credits. And there he is, too — in a really good performance in the not-insignificant role of Reese, one of Rambo’s mercenary co-horts. What I hadn’t counted on (or even considered) was seeing Trungpa’s face. Sure enough, Jake was in short sleeves, and there was Trungpa Rinpoche, on his arm. Here’s a crop from a still from the film:
(You can see the whole pic here.)
…Trungpa in Rambo. Who’da thunk it? And he gets some good screen-time, too.
As for Jake: congrats to him, and welcome back. Let’s hope his acting career keeps going. I’m betting that it will. (The Rambo role turned out to be extra-juicy for him, by the way — not only does his character sing a little to while away the time, but Jake has a couple of tracks on the film’s soundtrack.)
In addition, Jake had mentioned before he left that he was interested in filming and participating in “a documentary about the myth of the American ‘outsider’ via the worlds of tattoos, blues and Buddhism.” He has in fact played his music and given meditation instruction all over the country, often employing tattoo shops as venues for both. If and when there are updates on that film project, you bet we’ll let you know. One thing’s for sure: dude is one seriously driven and busy guy.
You can hear and order his music, and see behind-the-scenes footage from Rambo on Jake’s website: http://www.jakelabotz.com/
(By the way, if you’d like to read a write-up of the film, check out “So, these three Buddhists walk into a matinee of Rambo,” here.)