Another great stuntman turned stunt coordinator/2nd Unit Director from Great Britain is Simon Crane. There seems to be a great deal of talent in the stunt category coming from this part of the world. He didn’t start out to be a stuntman, he actually went to college to become a lawyer, but hated it, so he dropped out and…joined the circus? Seems like quite a departure, but the acrobatics definitely lead the way to a path in stunts.
Now in Great Britain, to be in the Stunt Industry, a person has to achieve instructor status in at least 6 sports to get a Stunt Performer Union Card. So Simon Crane became an instructor in Karate, Fencing, Gymnastics, High Diving, Parachuting and Scuba Diving. Like Vic Armstrong and the Powells, Crane was very popular with the Bond Film Series. Starting out in A View to a Kill, and then he became Timothy Dalton’s stunt double for The Living Daylights and then graduating to 2nd Unit Stunt Coordinator for License to Kill.
Simon was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for being paid the most for a single stunt when he was paid $1 Million dollars to slide between two jets on a cable for the movie Cliffhanger in 1993. Finally in 1995, he was hired as the Stunt Coordinator for GoldenEye. He’s been a 2nd Unit Director or Stunt Coordinator on every film he’s worked since. In 2014, he won a SAG Award for Outstanding Action Performance By A Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture on the film Unbroken. Unbroken was directed by Angelina Jolie.
Simon has worked with her and her husband (Brad Pitt) several times, working on the films; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Beyond Borders, Troy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Salt, The Tourist, World War Z and the previously mentioned Unbroken. Even though the Academy Awards does not have an award that recognizes Stunt Performers, Stunt Coordinators and/or 2nd Unit Directors, they have over the years invited some very important key members of the Stunt Community to become members of The Academy. There are only about 30 members total, which is a small number considering that there are thousands of Actors, Writers, Producers and Directors. Simon Crane was invited to become a member himself, in 2015. I hope this is a sign to come that someday, soon, the Academy will create a new category for the work these truly inspiring people do.