Cliffhanger (1993) is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the costliest aerial stunt ever performed. Sly Stallone paid $1m out of his own pocket for stunt man Simon Crane to slide between two planes at 15,000 feet – making it the most expensive aerial stunt ever. Funnily enough, though he managed it perfectly, he couldn’t get inside the second plane so the end result is down to clever editing.
In an interview in 2001, Crane said, “I was gonna be a lawyer, actually,” he recalls. “[I spent] Two years at law school, hated every second, so I joined the circus. I was in the circus for three years doing acrobatics. In England, you need to be an instructor in six sports to get into stunts, so I did that. Then I got into stunts with all that. And I’ve been very lucky, you know I went from stuntman to stunt coordinator to now, Second Unit Director.” In terms of the many sports he mastered before entering the world of stunts and stunt coordinating, Crane covered the bulk of the extreme ones and a few of the more graceful ones, to boot. “I did gymnastics, parachuting, scuba diving, high diving, karate, fencing, I did nine in all ’cause it took me a long time to get my union card. So I did hang-gliding and others.” Simon Crane has been a staple in the stunt world for decades working on several of the biggest action films and franchises in movie history, including several Bond films, Aliens, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Superman 4, Terminator 3, X-Men 3 and Men in Black 3. Cliffhanger was directed by Renny Harlin for CarolCo.
Things to look up (go to IMDB):
- Simon Crane
- Sylvester Stallone
- Renny Harlin
- CarolCo Pictures