Category Archives: Stunts

We list the best stunts from the best movies for over the last 100 years. We will also discuss the best stunt performers, stunt coordinators, action directors, second unit directors and actors who do their own stunts for over the last 100 years.

Knight and Day, Under-rated Gem

 

This is such an under-rated movie, which is a real bummer, because it is awesome. Watched it again over the weekend and loved it — again.  I seem to get more out of the film every time I watch it. This time around I was amazed at how good the driving in the film is. There was this one moment where Tom Cruise is driving up a parking garage and when they reach the top he does a spin and brakes at the same time to land perfectly within the lines of a parking stall. Then he jumps out, sure enough it’s Tom Cruise driving as the moment was all caught in one take.  I re-wound it several times, it’s a perfect piece of driving.knight_day_movie_image_cameron_diaz_tom_cruise

I think the film got caught in the vortex that was Oprah’s couch. After he professed his love on national television, there were several years there where the media seemed hell bent on ruining Tom Cruise’s life. He just tried to ignore it and kept pumping out great movies, but there was a significant dip in attendance for his movies, as people on the street fell for the media storm and wrote him off as, “kookie”.  I have personally been around Tom Cruise at several different times and always found him to be engaging, authentic and sincere. He’s extremely nice in person and I never felt like the media ever gave him a fair shake.  Anyway, he never stopped putting out great movies and his audience is now back up to where it should be and he seems to be doing just fine again.knightandday

One thing can definitely be said about Tom, he puts everything he has into his movies and always seems to put out high quality work. No one can ever accuse him of “mailing it in”.  Both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz did a majority of the stunts on their own. Both Cruise and Diaz are avid drivers and have experience in doing sharp turns and 180’s. They trained very hard on the driving as they both share a love of racing. While Cruise and Diaz were promoting this movie they both appeared on the BBC’s Top Gear: Episode #15.5 (2010) where they competed in the traditional speed lap in the “reasonably-priced car.” Their respective time records were 01m:44.2s and 01m:45.2s. Diaz beat every previous time set (by people who weren’t professional racing drivers).   Then Cruise drove and beat her time by a second – his car was on only two wheels going around the last corner! His time was equal to some of the F1 drivers who’ve gone around the track (in an ordinary car).knight_day_movie_image_cameron_diaz

If you haven’t seen the movie, there’s a fantastic stunt on a motorcycle you just have to see. Cruise is driving and Diaz is behind him on the motorcycle and she gets the guns and comes around to face Cruise and shoots behind them at the cars chasing them. They really did this stunt several times for the film, and it’s a great scene. It’s a fun movie with comedy, romance and a lot of action. I highly recommend it and I hope it has a second life as a cult favorite on DVD, digital and Blu-Ray.

Opening Stunt for Locker 13

FADE IN:

EXT. GUNSIGHT PASS – ARIZONA TERRITORY – DUSK

An old west town at dusk. A tumbleweed drifts by.  Two GUNFIGHTERS walk to the center of the dirt street some thirty paces apart. It’s apparent; a showdown at high noon.

Nervous eyes flit back and forth between guns and pupils.  Hands at the ready.  One flinches first and they both draw. Two GUNSHOTS ring out.

One man hits the dirt, dead.

Only the wind rustles, as the wild west town settles for a second until…

A CROWD rises in APPLAUSE. Revealed on the side of the dirt street opposite of the town is a crowd of TOURISTS, with cameras and balloons and cowboy hats made out of straw with the logo for “Gunsight Pass” stitched on them.

Locker 13 Western Scene

This is the opening scene to Brothers’ Ink Productions anthology film, “Locker 13”.   Now I helped craft this scene as one of the writers and as the Director.  It’s one thing to envision the scene on paper and then orchestrate the scene for film.  A lot goes into what you see here.

There is a team of people that work closely together to create this scene that lasts just a moment on screen.  I’m very happy with the way it turned out.  And it’s in large part to the two actor/stuntmen that you see here, Chaz Lee and George Nelson from Six Gun Entertainment.

Western pic 2

Chaz Lee

These guys were awesome!  They were in character, in costume, and ready to go.  They understood exactly what I needed and performed seamlessly every time.  They were a God send, because we were waiting on the crew to set up, we had a crowd of extras to deal with, and we were losing light.  The sun was setting fast.  They were excellent to work with.  Definitely a directors dream.

And I can’t go without mentioning the stunt Chaz performed over and over.  I needed him to get shot and fall on the rocky ground.  We could have faked it with a close-up and pads on the ground.  But I wanted to get the full shot.  I remember asking him if that was a problem and he said “no problem”.  Then, I made him do it 6 times before the sun set that day.  He never complained.  And it was flawless.  Everytime.

Being a stuntman is not easy and they have the broken bones and bruises to prove it.  And many times it’s a thankless job.  But they continue to do it, so we can watch great movies.  I just wanted to make sure that they get some love once in a while.  So, Chaz Lee and George Nelson, I just wanted to thank you again.  You guys rock!

 

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.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oscars-refuse-to-recognize-stunts_us_56c48b9ae4b08ffac1271c8e

http://www.forbes.com/sites/judebrennan/2014/02/07/stunt-actors-remain-oscars-forgotten-heroes/#1704102470e3

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/stunt-coordinators-rally-at-academy-868348

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-stuntman-oscar-campaign-20150623-story.html

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/01/stunts-that-deserve-oscars

Stunt Performers Rally For Inclusion At Oscars

Jason Statham Calls for Stunt-Actor Oscar Category

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Why-Aren-t-Stunt-Performers-Eligible-Oscars-69574.htmloscars

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?

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.

 

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 2000-2009

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 2000-2009 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

2000 – Mission: Impossible IImission motocycle

The motorcycle stunts in this John Woo Directed film performed by Tom Cruise and the rest of the stuntmen are worth the ticket of admission. Great bike stunts here.

2001 – Black Hawk Downblack-hawk-down-57593_3

Military precision is on full scale display in this fine film directed by Ridley Scott.  The actors went through a serious boot camp to get them ready and to make this as realistic as possible. Very well done.

2002 – Jackass The Moviejackass golf carts

The first time a successful movie was released with UNTRAINED stuntmen performing all the stunts.  Some of them are quite dangerous and most of them just downright silly and stupid.  But all of them entertaining.

2003 – Ong Bakong-bak-2003-13-g

Stuntman-turned-Actor Tony Jaa sparkles in this fantastic martial arts film.  In the past most martial arts films uses wires and then cgi to cover the wires later, but not in this one.  Jaa seems to have elastic legs with the kicks, jumps and splits he performs at lightning speed.

2004 – District B13District B13 Lobby Card

The French turn in a fantastic film full of Parkour stunts performed by one of the creators himself, David Belle and another great stuntman and top stunt choreographers in his own right, Cyrill Raffaelli.  If you are a fan of Taken with Liam Neeson, then you’ll love this film as Pierre Morel directed this one first.

2005 – Batman Beginsbatman

Now another Director who likes to film the action scenes himself enters the list, Christopher Nolan with this film and the sequel 3 years later.  He wanted to direct a bond film and got this franchise instead and really took it to heart.  He’s a big fan of doing practical effects and the audience gets the benefit of it all the way.  Thank you, Mr. Nolan.

2006 – Casino Royalecasino jump

Speaking of Bond, Daniel Craig‘s first entry as bond has some great Parkour in it as well.  I liked it so much I used a still as the cover for the 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts book.  It also boasts a World Record by flipping a car a record seven times!

2007 – DeathproofZoe Bell in Deathproof

I love to be able to announce another bad-ass stunt woman on the scene and Zoe Bell is not one who disappoints.  She spends the better half of Quentin Tarantino‘s movie strapped to the hood of two racing cars, with Stuntman Mike in the other car trying very hard to kill her at every chance.  Stuntman Mike played by Kurt Russell.

2008 – The Dark Knightdark_knight_7Here’s Christopher Nolan‘s sequel to Batman Begins and in so many ways it tops the original.  He manages to flip an eighteen wheeler end to end for this one by driver Jim Wilky and an amazing stunt crew.

2009 – Fast & Furiousfast-and-furious-1

The previous versions of this series were more racing films and this one transforms the series into a more stunt spectacular series from here on out.  All of the original cast is back and film is chocked full of great stunts.  Justin Lin would be the Director I would give credit to making this franchise more Universal.  And we are all the better for it.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 1990-1999

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1990-1999 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1990 – The Rookietherookie1990

It was reported that over eighty stuntmen worked on this film. There were way more stuntmen on this film than there were actors! It’s no wonder when you have legends Terry Leonard as the stunt coordinator and Buddy Van Horn as the 2nd Unit Director.  Great action film directed by Clint Eastwood himself.

1991 – Terminator 2: Judgement DayT2

Another great Director that loves to do live stunts is James Cameron.  The action summer blockbuster is on full force with this one.  A great little stunt by Peter Kent  doubling for Arnold Schwarzenegger as he jumps a Harley into a canal.

1992 – SupercopSupercop_003-550w1

It’s not Jackie Chan who gets the nod on this one (although, he does some great stunts in it too), it’s Michelle Yeoh who does some fantastic stunts on a motorcycle and on the hood of a little red convertible.

1993 – CliffhangerCliffhanger-Airplane

Obviously, this film has some great climbing sequences, but it’s a plane to plane transfer by Simon Crane that really wows the audience. These days we would just do this in a computer, they decided to do this as a practical stunt. With Jets.

1994 – True LiesJamie Lee Curtis hangs from a helicopter in True Lies

Another great action film by James Cameron, and he manages to talk Jamie Lee Curtis to hang underneath a helicopter for a few slow-mo shots.  On her birthday none-the-less.

1995 – GoldeneyeGoldeneye2-1024x768

James bond does it again, this time Pierce Brosnan as 007.  The opening jump from a dam was performed by Wayne Michaels doubling for Brosnan however, and it’s a fun one to open the movie with.

1996 – Mission: Impossiblemission_impossible

Tom Cruise is the finest actor ever to do his own stunts and he proves it time and time again.  He’s got nerves of steel.  In this film I count at least 3 stunts that he performs himself that most stunt performers themselves would turn down.

1997 – Titanictitanic_ship-HD

The 3rd movie this decade directed by James Cameron on the list. It’s a wonder he has time for anything else. There are a lot of special effects in this one, but there are a lot of practical and dangerous work done throughout by the cast and crew as a whole.  It won Best Picture at the Academy Awards that year, and if there was an Oscar for Stunts, it should have won that too.

1998 – Ronanroninlc

Fantastic car chase sequence, right at home in a Bourne movie, John Frankenheimer hits the list again 32 years apart! The first time was with James Garner in Grand Prix, another movie with great car stunt driving.

1999 – The Matrixmatrix-logo

The Wachowski Brothers revolutionized the Action film with this one and studios scrambled to make films like this for years after. The actors worked very closely with the stunt performers in this film and Yuen Woo-Ping made sure they were ready with months and months of training beforehand.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 1980-1989

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1980-1989 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1980 – The Blues Brothersblues-brothers (1)

For a musical comedy this movie has the longest car chase sequence in history.  The cars are just piling up at the end, hundreds of cars destroyed…it’s awesome!  $3.5 million was spent on this sequence alone and lasts over 20 minutes of the movie.

1981 – The Raiders of the Lost ArkRaiders-Of-The-Lost-Ark-

Although there are plenty of fantastic stunts in this film to mention, Terry Leonard does another through the windshield-off the front hood-then undercarriage crawl underneath an Army transport truck, then up the back and into the driver’s side for another round of fighting.

1982 – Mad Max 2: The Road Warriormad-max-2-the-road-warrior-1981

A case where the sequel is so much better than the original. This film rocks from beginning to end and has an unbelievable chase that lasts the second half of the movie.  Great stunts throughout.

1983 – Project Aproject a clock stunt

Jackie Chan makes a name for himself and becomes a stunt legend in this movie.  From this movie on he is untouchable worldwide as a stuntman that does his own acting or as an actor that does his own stunts, whichever way you want to say it. He created his legendary Jackie Chan Stunt Team for this movie and for years to come sets a new standard for stunt teams worldwide.

1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doomindiana-jones-and-the-temple-of-doom-screenshot

This decade is unique as the decade ruled by Indiana Jones in stunts and action sequences.  The first 3 Indiana Jones films make the list. Also, the second rope bridge sequence to hit since last decade’s The Man Who Would Be King. Vic Armstrong is a stand out here as Harrison Ford‘s stand-in.

1985 – Police StoryPolice-Story-1985-Chinese-Movie

Jackie Chan‘s chance to shine in a modern setting this time, and to really showcase what the Jackie Chan Stunt Team can do.  To be quite frank about this movie, it’s all stunts from start to finish and I’m surprised that all the stuntmen survived the making of this film. It’s amazing.

1986 – A Better TomorrowA Better Tomorrow Pic

The combination of John Woo and Chow Yun Fat is just too good to be true.  This film is viewed by many as the finest action film ever to come out of Chinese cinema, and put both Woo and Yun Fat in Hollywood’s viewport.  John Woo really gets Chow Yun Fat to do some fun stuff in this movie.  Very bloody stuff though.

1987 – Lethal WeaponLethalWeapon_Quad_SMALL_zpsf1d5e6c0

The next two films became great series and both just happened to be set during Christmas.  Lethal Weapon became the standard for buddy-buddy cop movies.  This film is dedicated to legendary stuntman Dar Robinson who died the year before, and features some great fight choreography by Cedric Adams, Dennis Newsome, and Rorion Gracie and a great backward high fall by actress Jackie Swanson. 

1988 – Die Harddie hard hans gruber

This movie became the template for many action films to come for years after it was made.  So much so, that pitching an action screenplay to studios became as easy as saying, “It’s Die Hard on a plane… or It’s Die Hard on a boat”.  The whole film rocks, but the highlight here is Ken Bates as he doubles for Alan Rickman in a fall from the Nakitomi building.

1989 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusadejones45

Five years later, Vic Armstrong does it again as the stand-in for Indiana Jones.  His jump from a horse to a german tank has been voted in the top ten of movie stunts of all time on many lists over the years.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 1970-1979

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1970-1979 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1970 – They Call Me Trinitythey_call_me_trinity_poster_02

The Spaghetti Western and Spaghetti Western Comedies were starting to come into their own and a string of “Trinity” films starring Terence Hill and Bud Spencer would arise.  They became worldwide stars and did all their own fighting in their films.  These are great fun!

1971 – The Big Bossbig-boss-lobby

Bruce Lee would become a bonafide sensation after his first film and there really was no one quite like him. He had the skills and a way about him that everyone after him tried to copy.  Martial Arts got it’s very own movie genre after this.

1972 – The Poseidon Adventureposeidon-adventure wallpaper

Another new genre, would be this sub-category inside the action genre, that became the disaster film.  This one has a very good fall into a ballroom skylight done by a non-stuntman at the time, Ernie Orsatti.  He would go on to become a stuntman after this, he found he had a knack for it.

1973 – Live and Let DieLive Boat

James Bond would appear this decade a record 4 times!  This is the first on the list with a speedboat jump over land by Jerry Comeaux of 110 feet, which made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

1974 – The Man With The Golden Gunman_with_the_golden_gun_stunt

This one had a great car jump stunt that is a breath-taking, “I can’t believe I saw that” …mathematical stunt devised by Raymond McHenry at Cornell University and performed by Bumps Willard.

1975 – The Man Who Would Be Kingman who would be king

Joe Powell would perform a jump from a rope bridge between two ravines 100 feet into a pile of boxes that would lead legendary Director John Huston to say, ” That’s the damnest stunt I’ve ever seen.”

1976 – Gatorgator car

This would be the start of a great collaboration between Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds.  Hal Needham would body double Burt in this film and there’s a nifty car flip at the end of the movie with Hal in the truck bed.

1977 – The Spy Who Loved MeSPY-WHO-LOVED-SKI-1

This is a bond film with one of the most extensive pre-credit sequences than all the previous films and right before they go to the opening song and credits, they have a fantastic ski-stunt by Rick Sylvester right off a mountain and then slowly fall until finally has a parachute open. Really great opening.

1978 – HooperHooper3

Hal Needham directed Burt Reynolds this time in a movie inspired by and about stuntmen! Can’t name just one stunt to highlight in this film as it’s just chocked full of them, but if I had to, A. J. Bakunas has a world record breaking jump from a helicopter into an airbag (232 feet!).

1979 – MoonrakerMoonsky7

BJ Worth and Jake Lombard fight over a parachute in this Bond entry and it’s fun to watch.  I would definitely include all the camera men who had to jump and film the sequence which included 88 jumps over all.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

David Prowse, Underated Actor, Stunts

 

You may not recognize the name, but you would definitely recognize his alter ego.  He plays Darth Vader.  You may say, “Hayden Christensen played Darth Vader…” No, he played Anakin Skywalker.  You may say, “I thought James Earl Jones” played Darth Vader. Again, no.  David Prowse actually played Darth Vader in all the Star Wars films.  In the first one, he wasn’t told that his voice would later be dubbed, so he even memorized and performed all of Darth Vader’s dialogue from underneath his mask.  It was only after the film was done, that George Lucas decided that Darth Vader needed a much grander voice and so he hired James Earl Jones to re-dub all of Vader’s dialogue.david

Prowse was the one that had to practice all the fight scenes with Mark Hamill and Alec Guinness and spend hours upon hours in the hot costume, acting like the sith lord.  To me, Darth Vader wouldn’t be anywhere as menacing as he is without the imposing prescence, authoritative walk, heavy, strong and powerful gestures and movements of David Prowse.  You can’t just put someone in that costume and get the same effect.  David was/is fantastic.

There’s been a perpetual rift between Prowse and George Lucas over the years.  My suspicion is that it started when Prowse was first cast as Darth Vader and given the assumption that he would be the voice as well and after Star Wars became a hit, Prowse wanted to do more to be associated with the role than Lucas was comfortable with.  Lucas hinted that he would be seen and heard finally in Return of the Jedi, during Darth’s death scene, but that scene was ultimately given to Sebastian Shaw.  This could have simply been done because Lucas wanted another accent in the scene than what Prowse could provide but could also have been because over the course of the 3 films Prowse accidentally dropped spoilers to the press at different times, which angered Lucas.  George Lucas went so far as to prevent David Prowse from attending Star Wars Fan Conventions in 2010, and no reason from Lucas was ever given.dav

Anyway you slice it, it’s a shame as the character and ultimate bad guy in the universe will forever be a jigsaw picture developed and created by a group of effective movie professionals.  David Prowse, Sebastian Shaw, George Lucas, James Earl Jones, Bob Anderson (Stuntman Stand-In), Jake Lloyd, Ben Burtt and Hayden Christensen can all claim some participation in creating the legacy of such a fantastic character.

I was saddened to hear that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, never made a profit, which must have been made for over a billion dollars, as David Prowse has gone on record to say that he has never seen any of his profit points for that movie.  “I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) has never gone into profit, we’ve got nothing to send you.” davidprowse-2-397x600

Well, here’s hoping you get some credit and profit from that movie some day, David.

Things to look up on IMDB:

  • David Prowse
  • Star Wars
  • George Lucas
  • LucasFilm