Posted September 24, 2012 by Paula Hammond - Features Editor in Features
 
 

Stunt Man Vic Armstrong


You probably won’t know his name, but if you’re an Indiana Jones fan then you’ll know his work.

You probably won’t know his name, but if
you’re an Indiana Jones fan then you’ll know his work.
World-renowned stunt man, stunt
coordinator and director, Vic Armstrong has worked in movies for over thirty
years. In fact, according to The Guinness
Book Of Records

he’s the most prolific stunt man ever – standing in for the likes of Timothy
Dalton

in Flash Gordon,
George Lazenby
in On
Her Majesty’s Secret Service
, and
Christopher Reeve
in Superman
I & II
.

However, it was
Vic’s uncanny resemblance to Harrison
Ford
that gave him the opportunity work on the Indiana Jones movies. The
result was some of cinema’s most breathtaking action sequences. Ford was so
impressed that, when dedicating a photo to Armstrong he wrote: “If you learn to talk I’m in deep trouble!”

As all four Indy
movies are released on BluRay for the first time, FilmJuice’s Paula Hammond
talked to Vic about just why he decided to make a living throwing himself off
tall buildings.

Can you tell us a little
about how you became a stunt man?

I originally
wanted to be a steeplechase jockey racing horses, but a guy that used to ride
and exercise our horses for us was a stuntman and he borrowed one of my
father’s horses for a movie called Arabesque
with Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. He then called and asked
if I would go and ride for him in a big chase sequence which I did, and
loved. It’s then I decided to become a stuntman!

How has the movie
business changed in terms of the demands on the stunt team? Do films with more
action set pieces, mean more danger or fun for the stunt crew?

The business is
pretty much the same – the world has just got smaller and we tend to travel
further to make movies. At the end of the day, to film stunt work the
methodology is the same. You have to break the action down into parts that can
be filmed and work out how to do it as safely as possible while, at the same
time, keeping the vision as spectacular as possible.

How has CGI affected
your business?

CGI has been a
help in a lot of respects … we can hide safety features such as pads and rigs
and use thicker safety wires because they can be painted out easier. At the
same time, some movies have rather extreme sequences constructed solely with
CGI that do become rather unbelievable. Also sometimes people I know have done
a spectacular stunt but the audience presumes it was CGI … which can be
frustrating!

What are your favourite
Indiana Jones stunts? And why?

I love the drag
under the truck that Terry Leonard
did in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The rope bridge was a pretty scary sequence
back in the day on The Temple of Doom
and the horse and tank chase in The Last
Crusade
still stands the test of time. Yet it all goes back to the grass
roots of stunt work which sort of goes to show you do not always need lavish
CGI to make a sequence exciting.

Do you have any mementos
from the Indy films and, if so, what?

Not many, really.
When you are making movies this is not something you really think about! In
hindsight, it would have been really fun to have had some of the great objects
that were probably thrown away at the end of the shoot.

Which one stunt that you
didn’t do, do you wish you had?

I would have
loved to have done the drag under the truck in Raiders but Terry Leonard did a
fabulous job so it is a moot point.

INDIANA JONES:
THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES IS RELEASED ON BLU-RAY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER ON 8th OCTOBER.


Paula Hammond - Features Editor

 
Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com