Mad Max: Fury Road Best Movie Stunts For 2015


George Miller has brought Mad Max back to the big screen and it’s incredible! It’s a visual action feast! In this day and age of technology, most movies like this made today would be done so with millions and millions of dollars in special effects. Over 80% of the effects seen in the film are real practical effects, stunts, make-up and sets. CGI was used sparingly mainly to enhance the Namibian landscape, remove stunt rigging and for Charlize Theron’s left hand which in the film is a prosthetic arm.oscars
As an example of some practical effects, the flame-shooting guitarist is Australian artist/musician Sean Hape, better known as Iota. In an interview on Vice (2013), he said the guitar weighed 132 pounds, and shot real gas-powered flames, which he controlled using the whammy bar.mad-max-fury-road-new-trailer-has-epic-car-stunts-video-89920_1

This film series has a long established relationship within the stunt community. There are so many stunt performers on this film, it’s staggering. It’s interesting to note, while on location in Africa filming this movie in June 2012, Dayna Porter, the  stunt double for Charlize Theron, and Dane Grant, the rehearsal double for Tom Hardy, met, fell in love, and, in March 2013, got married. In February 2014, they had their first child, a son named Ryder. Dayna, who changed her last name to Grant after the marriage, founded a school in New Zealand for training stunt performers, and has performed stunts in other projects based in New Zealand, such as Xena: Warrior Princess (1995) and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995). Another stunt performer in the film also met his spouse on the set: in February 2015, stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen married actress Riley Keough, who played Capable.mad max pic

The actors themselves joined in the stunts and were a heavy part of the stunt department. Charlize Theron told Yahoo! Movies that there was a particular stunt that Tom Hardy performs that blew her mind while they were in the middle of filming it. “[Tom’s] head is [inches] off the ground, and he’s just hanging there,” Theron told Yahoo Movies. “I’m like, ‘Dude, you are awesome. If that was me, I would so not be cool with this.’ And if he was gonna go, I was gonna go with him. That stunt was scary for me.”


Oscars Need a Stunt Category


There’s been only 3 stunt performers that have ever received an Oscar in 100 years. The first one went to Yakima Canutt in 1967 as a special Lifetime award for his years as a stunt performer, stunt coordinator and for creating a variety of safety devices for the Industry. The second to get one was Vic Armstrong in 2001 in Technical Achievement for the development of the Fan Descender, a tool to help Stunt Performers in high falls. The last to be given an Honorary Oscar was Hal Needham in 2012 for his “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement.”oscars2

To this day, there still is no Stunt Category in the Academy Awards, even though two other major organized awards have now provided for some form of stunt recognition.  The SAG awards provide an Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture since 2007 and the Emmy awards have offered  a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination since 2001.  I would love to see the Academy Awards offer an Oscar for Best Stunt Coordination or Second Unit Direction Award. If they can give awards to the heads of all the other departments on a movie set, why not the Stunt Department?oscar4

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  The Stunt Community has been fighting this battle for decades.  At first they simply fought to be recognized in the credits of the films.  It was regular practice in the early decades to not put them in the credits at all, as the studios were trying very hard to maintain the illusion that actors did all this themselves.  Finally, somewhere in the mid 50’s it started to become regular practice to list Stunt Performers and especially the Second Unit Directors and Action Unit to the films.

I guess the Academy Awards felt like they had made some concessions when they started to accept Second Unit Directors and Stunt Coordinators into their membership a few years ago, but this is still wholly underwhelming when you consider there are only 31 included to this day. Other departments have thousands of members.oscarsunite

This has become a hot topic again this week with the lead-up to the Academy Awards this Sunday with articles having been written in The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, The LA Times and Vanity Fair.  There’s also a huge out-cry within the ranks of the Entertainment Blogs online if you look at Deadline, The Wrap and Cinemablend.

Stunt Performers Rally For Inclusion At Oscars

Jason Statham Calls for Stunt-Actor Oscar Category

I’m not so sure this would be such a big issue today if the Oscars didn’t include Mad Max: Fury Road in contention for Best Picture this year.  It’s really incredibly hard to look at that film and not see the incredible work done by the Stunt Department.  The film simply could have not been done without them.  It’s about time we start recognizing these people and their hard work, don’t you think?

Seems Like Old Times For a Foul Play


How about the perfect Double Feature…for a comedy set I would enter for consideration, Foul Play (1978) and Seems Like Old Times (1980), both featuring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.

After a pair of successful screenplays like Harold and Maude (1971) and Silver Streak (1976), the studio decided to give Colin Higgens his first shot at directing and he came up with Foul Play.  It was a hit and he would go on to have two more soon after with 9 to 5 (1980) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982).  That’s a pretty good line-up of films for any writer-director in Hollywood, it’s very sad that he died at a young age, as he could have gone on to do so many more great films.foul play 2

Foul Play made bankable Stars out of Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase and Dudley Moore. Dudley Moore was not the original choice for Stanley Tibbs as the role was originally written for Tim Conway, but he declined due to the sexual nature of the role. Dudley Moore was thrilled, however, because he was able to shine in the role and it started his American career with later films like 10 (1979), Arthur (1981) and Unfaithfully Yours (1984).

I love everything about this film, including all the music from the Mikado and I also remember that Barry Manilow had a huge hit with “Ready to Take a Chance Again” that is featured at the beginning of the movie. I was interested to learn that Steve Martin originally read for the role of Tony Carlson but lost the role to Chevy Chase. Steve Martin would go on to star with Goldie Hawn in 2 films later; Housesitter (1992), and The Out-of-Towners (1999). The Out-of-Towners is ironic as it was written by Neil Simon, who also wrote, Chevy Chase’s and Goldie Hawn’s next match-up, Seems Like Old Times.seems_like_old_times_chevy-chase

I read a very interesting story on how Neil Simon prefers to work. Since he’s a play writer as well as a screenwriter, he prefers to do all rewrites as the actors rehearse the script/play, giving the actors news scripts before each rehearsal. This movie had a two-week rehearsal period in which during this time writer Neil Simon customized the screenplay to tailor the lead stars’ personalities. During the two-week rehearsal period, Simon observed the needs of his stars and was able to re-write portions of the script to better suit their individual personalities. “There is a terrific quality about Chevy [Chase],” says Simon, “He’s the bad boy in class. You never know what he is going to do. I tried to capture that in the script and in each day’s rewrites”.

This Neil Simon movie was written directly for the screen and was not based on a Neil Simon play as many of his other movies have been. For writer Neil Simon, working with Goldie Hawn, was a delight. Simon said of Hawn that she was a “…rare combination. She can be very funny and very sexy. She has a true appreciation of what’s funny and what’s bleak in life” and “She has the two main ingredients for a film comedienne: she’s funny and very sexy. Audiences respond on two levels to that. They are taken by it. She’s terrific to work with”.  It’s interesting to note that Goldie Hawn’s role was originally written for Neil Simon’s wife, Marsha Mason and she was set to do the film originally with Burt Reynolds in the Chevy Chase role.seemsThis would be my favorite of the Neil Simon movies, but I very much liked the movies; Murder By Death (1976), The Goodbye Girl (1977), and Chapter Two (1979). Charles Grodin was fantastic in this movie as Goldie Hawn’s husband, and interestingly, has 2 other movies with Neil Simon, The Heartbreak Kid (1972) and The Lonely Guy (1984) which ironically as well, is a film starring Steve Martin.

Emmy Award-winning TV director Jay Sandrich was drawn to Neil Simon’s script because of the finely crafted writing. Sandrich said: “It’s the type of comedy that I had been doing for years, I understood it completely. I think it has a certain flair and the madcap quality that some of those 30’s pictures had, With writing as good as this, I knew that everything else would fall into place. In this particular script, although it’s very farcy and fast-paced, there are times when the relationships are very valid and very human; and that’s the important thing . . . that the audience care about these people and really believe that they can exist. I think Neil’s script is so well crafted that you could take out the jokes and play it as a drama”.

So now if you are wondering what two films to rent for a great double feature (in this day and age, download) try these two, as you won’t be disappointed with either.  Great films! I would consider them, modern-day classics.

Terry Bradshaw, The Actor, Singer and Author


It’s well known that Terry Bradshaw, was a great NFL Quarterback and a fantastic TV personality for the Fox NFL Sunday.  What is rather unknown, however is his success as an actor, singer and author.

As an actor I first noticed him as a pal of Burt Reynolds in Hooper, Smokey and the Bandit 2 and Cannonball Run (Cannonball Run being his best role). In Cannonball Run, Terry was paired up with Country Singer Mel Tillis, and was so successful Hal Needham (the director of Cannonball Run) directed a spin-off of the film, a TV show pilot for NBC called Stockers, which featured Terry and Mel as two stock car racers trying to outwit and outrun a bill collector named, Crusher.

Now the pilot failed to be picked up, but this is important for two other reasons; Terry followed up with his love for racing over the years by being very active in the NASCAR circles, From 2001-2006, he joined the HighLine Performance Group Racing to form FitzBradshaw Racing. He also appeared on NASCAR on Fox where he interviewed and drove with Dale Earnhardt at Daytona International Speedway the day before Earnhardt was killed in the last lap of the Daytona 500.

Now you would think it was Mel Tillis that may have influenced him into music, but you’d be wrong. Cannonball Run was in 1981 and Terry had already released I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (which reached 17 on the billboard charts) in 1976 and Until You (reaching 73rd) in 1980 and would go on to release 3 more albums after that! I have no idea, when this over-achiever ever had time to write books, but he did! He released his first book, No Easy Game in 1971 and then released, Man of Steel in 1979. He followed those up with Looking Deep in 1991, It’s Only a Game in 2001 and finally Keep It Simple in 2002.

Now with all that work and not including his work as a commentator on TV, he’s continued to act in a slew of TV Shows and had a very nice role in the Matthew McConaughey comedy Failure to Launch (2006) as Matthew’s father and will appear in the movie, Bastards this year along with Owen Wilson and Ed Helms.

Sally Field of Dreams


The actor Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sisters, The Americans) once said of working with Sally Field, “One time she was in the kitchen and she likes to sort of prepare things in the scene, I wasn’t really paying attention, and she’s chopping away … and she just presents this huge bowl of guacamole! That’s a testament to Sally Field because I’m concentrating on just about getting by and remembering my lines – she’s doing that and preparing guacamole for the rest of the cast!”

BROTHERS & SISTERS - "Home Front" - A year after losing their larger than life family patriarch and three weeks since hearing from Justin in the Middle East, the Walker family struggle to find cheer in celebrating Kitty's birthday. Sarah fights to salvage what's left of her failing marriage; Kevin learns the hard way about the sacrifices that true love brings; Tommy is at a loss as to how to provide the emotional support needed by his overwhelmed wife, Julia, after the death of their newborn son, while Kitty gets a first hand look at the challenges of being engaged to a U.S. senator (Rob Lowe as Senator Robert McCallister). Meanwhile, Saul questions his identity after a visit from an old friend, and the family's newest member, Rebecca, tries desperately to find her place in this very complex family puzzle, on the second Season Premiere of "Brothers & Sisters," SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/MICHAEL DESMOND) SALLY FIELD, CALISTA FLOCKHART

Growing up she was one of my mother’s top favorite actresses and watching her in a movie just yesterday, I realized that she was one of mine as well. She is so good at what she does, she makes it look like she’s coming up with everything right on the spot. A lot of actors personally call her friend and many of them have worked with her multiple times.  She’s known to be a method actor and prefers to get into a character and stay in character.

Recently, she has said of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, “Daniel and I work exactly the same way. I always stay in character,” she said.  She thought that Lincoln represented the perfect environment as an actor because Spielberg embraced the method (keeping in character at all times) throughout the shoot and made sure that the actors all had a bubble around them where they were not asked to come in and out of character during breaks and meals and such.SallyField_LincolnOver the years, she’s racked up quite an impressive set of awards and library of roles that firmly put her in “legend” status, in my mind, the same way that James Garner, Meryl Streep, Paul Newman or even Katherine Hepburn has.  She’s very impressive in Sybil, Norma Rae, Absence of Malice, Places in the Heart, Murphy’s Romance, Steel Magnolias, and Lincoln, but my personal favorite is her performance in Smokey and the Bandit, which she once said was her favorite movie.

To me, what’s more important than awards, is how many of her costars continually want to work with her. She is shy by nature, but always gives it her all and is enjoyable and fun to work with. I hope to see many, many more years of fascinating work from this great actress.0504-sally-field-2

Happy Birthday!


Have you ever wondered who shared your birthday?  I was thinking about that today in fact.  It being my birthday and all.  Now being a twin, I share my birthday with my brother.  So I’m used to the concept.  But it’s always cool to see who else shares your same birthday.  I feel like there is a connection between me and them.  A bond that no one can break.  Who are my birthday buddies?  Here are a few of them.

February 18th Birthdays:

John Travolta


Who doesn’t know him?  When people ask me who I share my birthday with, I almost always respond with him.  Of course.  He’s a nice guy, that has done some great films.  Some of his best work is Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Urban Cowboy, Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Wild Hogs, and so much more.  But my favorite thing about him is, he married Kelly Preston.  Wow!  It takes a real man to keep a woman like her happy for over 25 years.  In Hollywood no less.  Way to go Travolta!

John Hughes

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, producer John Hughes, on set, 1994. TM and Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

Few film directors can say they helped to define a generation.  John Hughes is one of them.  He made some of the best and most memorable films from the 80’s.  Who doesn’t remember Mr. Mom, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Home Alone, as well as many, many more.  He will be missed!

Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald

She must have shared a few birthdays with one of her favorite writer/director’s, as her and John Hughes collaborated frequently.  Craft services could save a few pennies and make just one cake to cover both birthdays.  Some of her films are Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, The Pick-up Artist, and Betsy’s Wedding.   And she’s only two years older than me.

Matt Dillon


The only man on this list that I have actually met.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  He’s a very nice guy.  So, I’m happy to say that we share the same birthday.  He’s got quite the repertory as well with films such as: My Bodyguard, Little Darlings, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, The Flamingo Kid, There’s Something About Mary, Crash, as well as many others.  Way to go Matt.  Keep up the good work.  Make us February 18ther’s proud!

George Kennedy


What can be said for the great George Kennedy.  Mr. Disaster Movie Man himself (I made that up).  He’s simply awesome.  And he’s done some of the best films of all time: Spartacus, McHale’s Navy, In Harm’s Way, The Dirty Dozen, Cool Hand Luke, Airport, Earthquake, The Naked Gun, and so much more.  My birthday buddies are looking pretty good.  Not too shabby.  Thanks George for rounding us out.

Here are a few other birthday buddies worth mentioning: Milos Forman (director of One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus ), Cybill Shepherd (The Last Picture Show, Moonlighting), Jack Palance (City Slickers), Greta Scacchi (Presumed Innocent), and Dr. Dre (Rapper).

Happy Birthday!



George Sanders, 35 Year Planned Suicide


For those of you that don’t know who George Sanders is, you’ve seen or heard him on a lot of great movies from the 30’s to the 60’s, most recognizable as the voice of Shere Kahn the Tiger in Disney’s The Jungle Book(1967) (who hasn’t seen that movie?) but I loved him over the years in the thriller film series of The Saint and later for the Falcon series (taken over by his brother Tom Conway), as well as the movies; Rebecca (1940), All About Eve(1950), and Ivanhoe (1952).George_Sanders_in_The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray_trailer

He was a fascinating and complex man, but the strangest story about him is that he planned his death decades before he died. In 1937 George Sanders told David Niven that he would commit suicide when he got older.  Stranger things have been told in confidence, but I’m sure David never gave it much thought.  Sure enough, though, some 35 years later he made good on his statement.George_Sanders_in_Rage_in_Heaven_tr

He was found dead in a hotel in Barcelona, Spain in 1972, having overdosed on 5 vials of Nembutal.  He left a suicide note saying, “Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”.George_Sanders_in_Ghost_and_Mrs_Muir_trailer_crop

He was a very interesting man and wrote an autobiography titled, “The Memoirs of a Professional Cad” and a very good friend of his (actor Brian Aherne) wrote another book about him called,  “A Dreadful Man” (in jest). Both books are great fun and show what a truly witty and interesting person he was.  I also find it interesting that he wrote a mystery novel as well, starring him “Crime on my Hands“.  Another mystery reported to have been written by him, but ghost written by Leigh Brackett was published later but starred Michael Vickers and called “Stranger at Home”. It was done, just to take advantage of his popularity, much like they do nowadays with Bestselling authors like Clive Cussler and James Patterson.geo-sanders

The Last Starfighter, Forgotten Gem


My brother and I always loved The Last Starfighter (1984). We re-visited it again last night in his backyard when we did the Sunday Night Outdoor Movie Night…really long title for a three family event that just consists of a Mickey Mouse Movie Screen, a digital project, DVD player, a boatload of chairs and a LOT of blankets. Anyway, it reminded me how much I really enjoyed this little film over the years and I really think it’s an overlooked and forgotten gem for family fare.the-last-starfighter

I will admit up front that a few of the scenes don’t hold up 30 years later like everyone coming to see Alex Rogan break the Starfighter record on their local trailer park arcade game. We kinda chuckled at that happening in real life. I think what we liked about the film when we were kids was the theme of being special and “the one” that permeates many of the films over the last couple of decades. It’s a simple theme, but resonates in just about all cultures over time.the-last-starfighter-1984-1080p-largescreenshot2

The graphics don’t hold up as well either, but aren’t hard to watch like some of the other movies from this decade, and was the first film to have all the graphics produced through a computer.  The real joy in the movie is the fantastic casting of the four main leads, Robert Preston, Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart and Dan O’Herlihy all doing fantastic in their roles. Also, I think it’s the best film Nick Castle has ever directed but I love The Boy Who Could Fly (1986) and Tap (1989) as well.starfighter-huh-680x390

The score of the film really stands out, by Craig Safan, and we both really love it. I have it in my playlist on my phone and Adam’s used it as his ringtone for years. You can recognize the main theme nowadays if you’ve ever been to Disney’s California Adventure and rode the Soaring Over California ride as it is the main theme of that ride now.the_last_starfighter_7-720x305Rumor has it that Nick Castle has been pushing for a sequel of the film for the past couple of years.  I would be very interested in that.  I think they should make sure that Alex Rogan and Maggie Gordon are still in it and maybe they are the ones that are training a “new” bunch of recruits to fight against the KoDan Armada. I would definitely see that movie.

The Best Actor You Probably Never Heard Of


Most veteran actors I know of, tap out at right around 100 credits to their names. And those are the hard working actors. Go ahead and check out James Garner, Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart. They don’t even breach the 100 film mark. Now look at heavy working actor’s lifetime credits like Michael Caine, Lance Hendriksen, or Lee Van Cleef. They all reach between 150-200 credits…and they seemed to work a LOT. Then there are the truly RARE actors, usually very popular character actors that will reach 250-350 credits, in their lifetime, like Christopher Lee (280) or Ed Asner (333!).

Now if I were to tell you, there is an actor out there who just turned 40 last year (happy birthday) and already has 228 credits to his name! Half a normal human lifetime and he has already twice as many credits as your normal hard working retired actor! Also, he’s worked with a list of very good actors; Jessica Chastain, Treat Williams, George Kennedy, Danny Trejo, Rupert Friend, Ronny Cox, Vivica A. Fox, Bai Ling, Jon Gries, Curtis Armstrong, Eric Roberts, Armand Assante…and more and more…He’s the best and the hardest working actor, you’ve probably never heard of.jose 1


I’m amazed and impressed every day by his growing list of stats. He’s going to end up with the most film credits by an actor at the end of his lifetime than any actor that ever lived. He didn’t start out trying to break a world record but he will end up with one when he’s done. I’m not counting porn stars like those you can see in movies on TubeV Sex Milf, voice actors or extras, I’m talking normal actors with speaking roles as lead or supporting characters. A good example, is James Hong, recognizable character actor, still going strong in his eighties…at 406 credits but there are some fantastic character actors like Oliver Hardy (414), Harry Harvey (436), Byron Foulger (482), or the amazing James Flavin (500!). Many of those last ones racked up stats as the every man; truck drivers, bell hops, delivery men with one or two lines, not as larger supporting and lead roles that Jose has been tackling over the last 10 years.jose-rosete-2016

I have a lot of young actors trying to break into the business ask me weekly how to get in and I tell every single one of them about Jose. How does he work so much? So, my first tip to these young actors is simply to be likable! I would say if Jose Rosete had a world class attribute or super power, it would be his likability. In person, he’s very reserved, a bit shy, eager, smiles a lot, doesn’t run from people or crowds, jumps in to help at any opportunity and volunteers for everything, is the first to show up on set, last to leave, never complains, always is positive and talks well of others…he’s just incredibly LIKABLE. He works incredibly hard and he loves being on set and is prepared and ready to go at all times. I can’t say enough good things about him and it’s been my experience that everyone who’s ever worked with him…says the exact same things.jose 3

It’s key to his success. People will hire him again and again and again, simply because people love working with him.

The next best trait he has and contributes greatly in his success is that he’s active in his own promotion! From day one, I’ve seen him use every tool he can to reach out, meet people, find jobs, stay social, and be active. He’s very good with online tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, IMDB, Wikipedia, YouTube and Vimeo. He’s easy to get a hold of and he’s easy to research. He’s very active. Need to see a picture, try to google him, want to see his reel, want to see his latest projects… BAM, he’s right there.jose-rosete-newsHe looks mean…but trust me, he’s awesome all around and once he gets a role…he’s all in. He’s very focused and zeroed in. Locked and loaded, he gives the director and producer everything they want and more. Check him out in our very own Locker 13, where he is a 3-headed monster as an actor, writer and producer on the film.

Stunt Families: The Powells


The Powells have had a great legacy in the stunt world, especially in the James Bond series.  Stunts began in the family with Dinny Powell, younger brother of Nosher Powell, who was a professional boxer and also the sparring partner of Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinsons and Muhammad Ali amongst others. He did stunts for many years and stunt coordinating and got his older brother Nosher involved and eventually doing the same thing.Nosher Powell in a 1972 episode of the TV series New Scotland Yard

Nosher had two children follow in their footsteps, Greg and Gary. The family’s history with the Bond franchise has been legendary. Dinny  started with From Russia With Love (the 2nd in the series) and the family has been fully entrenched ever since, taking only one break during the George Lazenby film.  Dinny and Nosher doubled and did stunts with Sean Connery and Roger Moore. Gary, Nosher’s oldest son started on The Spy Who Loved Me and over the years worked with Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.  Greg has come in and started working with Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.  His most famous stunt being the barrel-roll in the speedboat in The World is Not Enough.greg Powell

Greg is the current big man on campus for the family as he has been stunt coordinator on the last four bond films. It also doesn’t appear that the family’s relationship with the Bond series and stunts are quite done yet as they have recruited Tilly, Greg’s daughter as a stuntwoman in Skyfall and Spectre so far.  They have all created a foundation within the film Industry doing stunts for other films as well such as the Harry Potter, Star Wars, Mission: Impossible and The Avengers Series.tilly powell

Very exciting to see a family so entrenched within the stunt community and I hope we see many more to come.