- Entrevista en Español
hen Vic Armstrong started to work as a stuntman he was 16. His first job was riding a horse doubling Gregory Peck in the film ¨Arabesque¨ in 1966. Since then, Vic has achieved a successful career and many awards for his work as stuntman, second unit director, stuntmen coordinator and film director.
Here in Spain he is known because of his work in Indiana Jones saga, where he performed legendary scenes such as the jump from the horse to the tank in ¨The Last Crusade¨.
Interview with Vic Armstrong
- We know you are about to premiere two films and you do not have much time, so we want to thank you for your time.
- After you started working as a stuntman, when did you feel this could become the job of your life?
The first day I worked on a film.
- You have a really big career in cinema´s world but, do you have any regrets with any job that you would have liked doing?
No regrets I have worked on all the films I wanted to and have directed nice films so I am content.
- In your profession, the life of the stuntman could be in danger at some point. Have you ever felt your life was at risk and despite of that, you performed the scene?
Every time you do a big stunt there is a danger but you have to have the confidence in you ability to do it this is what you have trained for.
- Should a stuntman know when to stop in a stunt and tell the film director he’s not comfortable? Or should you just accept his or her orders?
Absolutely you should say you are not comfortable if you are not comfortable with any stunt or action, that takes courage to say but you will be more respected for it. It is just a job and NO ONE wants an accident on set, it is only a film.
- When you create/build up a stunt, what steps do you follow? What is your procedure? Do you sit on a desk and write it down or do you have your own method?
I dream up ideas and then perfect them with rehearsals and discussions with other professional stunt people.
- As you say in your bio, your most difficult stunt in ¨The Last Crusade¨ was the one in which Indy jumps from his horse to the pond. Which were the most difficult ones in ¨Raiders of the Lost Ark¨ and ¨Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom¨?
There were no extra ordinary stunts that were more difficult than the others, each stunt has to be discussed and analyzed and then rehearsed so it is all pre planned.
- Once I read that the film you were the most proud of was ¨Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Could you explain to your readers why?
Actually there is not one film I am more proud of they were all demanding and needed working out correctly and some of the less famous films I have done have had as many good stunts as the famous films, people just expect the famous ones to be more exciting.
- Could you tell us another anecdote from when you were filming Indiana Jones?
All my anecdotes are in my book.
- Although you did some stunts with Steven Spielberg for ¨Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull¨ while you were shooting ¨War of the Worlds¨, you could not do the same for the fourth Indiana Jones film because you were filming the third part of ¨The Mummy. How did you feel when you watched it?
I did not work on Crystal Skull and I was quite happy not to have worked on it, I was mre than happy to have only worked on the first Three Indys.
- One of the reasons why you worked in the saga is because you and Harrison Ford look alike. You have doubled Mr Ford in some other films such as ¨Blade Runner¨, ¨Star Wars¨, ¨Witness¨, ¨Frantic¨, ¨The Mosquito Coast¨, ¨Working girl¨ and, ¨Regarding Henry¨. How is it working with him? What is your relationship like with him?
Harrison is the perfect professional actor/stuntman and we have a good relationship and he has the same sense of humour as myself, we stay in touch as much as is possible with his busy life style.
- As a stuntman you really pay a lot of attention to the security in your stunts. Despite of that, you have had several accidents; you have even broken some bones. Which was the most painful one and in which film?
Injuries are not something I discuss because they should not happen and if they do it is an accident but they all hurt just the same.
- What is more painful, breaking some bones in a stunt or being cut out of the scenes?
Being cut out of a scene.
- How do you end up more bruised, as Indiana Jones or as James Bond?
They are all the same no matter what the name of the film is you give it your best shot and get a few bumps just as I do at home with my horses.
- Your debut as film director was precisely in an episode of the TV series ¨The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles¨. How was the experience?
I had the best time ever direct Young Indy.
- ¨Joshua Tree¨ was your first film as film director, did you use that experience when recording the episode for Young Indy? What about the experience of recording your own film? Were you satisfied with the result?
Joshua Tree was after Young Indy and I was very happy with the result and the movie has just been re released on Blu Ray after 20 years so that is special.
- In 2011 went on sale your official bio “The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman”; this is really an interesting book full of information and anecdotes, very recommendable. Do you think it will be published in Spanish either in paper or digital format?
I don’t know if they will do a translation, it would be nice.
- Your family is also linked with good notoriety to stunts. Your wife and children are or have been stunt doubles at some point. If you are in the shooting, how do you feel when they perform a stunt?
I am always nervous when anybody is doinga stunt even more so when it is my family.
- After many years, you will premiere one film as film director in 2014 ¨Left Behind”, What could you tell us about them?
Left Behind is going to be a very good movie with Nic Cage starring and should be in the cinemas in the summer.
- You have won several awards for your work, but the stuntmen’s union is not properly recognised by the Hollywood industry by means of having your own category in the Oscars. Because of that, you created your own awards, ¨The World Stunt Awards¨. Vic Armstrong is the only stuntman with an Oscar for his technological improvement ( Fast Descender MK12 ). Do you think there should be a category for stunt doubles in the Oscars?
Action Unit Directors, Stunt Coordinators & Stuntmen should all be considered for Oscars when you look at all the categories there are all ready there.
- Vic you are a very respected professional in our country for both, being the person that brings Indiana Jones to life and for contributing in the development of a character that is so close to the audience. We really want to thank you for this and your career. Best wishes from your Spanish fans.
My pleasure Best Vic.