Tag Archives: George Miller

Stories From Snowy River

 

In 1890 A.B. “Banjo” Paterson wrote a poem called “The Man From Snowy River” that was published in The Bulletin and then later as a book as a collection of Australian verse. Little did he know then that the poem would spawn 2 movies and a TV show almost 100 years later.the-man-from-snowy-river

In 1982, George Miller (not to be confused with the “other” George Miller from Australia) directed The Man From Snowy River. It starred Tom Burlinson as Jim Craig, the man in the title, as well as Kirk Douglas in a dual role as twin brothers. The female lead and love interest to Jim Craig is played by Sigrid Thornton. The film was shot and released first in Australia and then came later to the US, where it did well in the theatres but really took off when it was released on video. My family loved this movie.the-man-from-snowy-river-banner

The most famous scene, being the downhill gallop featured prominently in the movie and the poem, was really performed by actor Tom Burlinson, who had never ridden a horse until he was cast in the movie in the title role. This stunt is amazing and should be highlighted as a perfect moment in the film.  It was shot and performed in one take. No one wanted to take any chances again, as you can see in the film , it’s quite dangerous.ManFromSnowyRiver romance

The film was so popular that a sequel was produced by Disney in 1988, called Return to Snowy River in the states. Tom and Sigrid return in their roles, but due to a dispute, the Kirk Douglas role was filled by actor Brian Dennehy. The film was directed by Geoff Burrowes, the producer of the first film. It’s a fantastic sequel and makes for a perfect box set on my shelf.return from snowy river

As for the TV Series identified as Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1993), let’s just say it’s inspired by the poem and really was produced to take advantage of the success of the movies. It’s actually really good in it’s own right, and features an incredible cast over it’s four year run. Among the stars were, Andrew Clarke, Brett Climo, Guy Pearce, Hugh Jackman, Josh Lucas, Victoria Tennant, Olivia Newton-John, Lee Horsely, Chad Lowe, Dean Stockwell, and Francis O’Connor.  It’s really hard to find a complete set of the TV Series, but is definitely worth owning if you can find it.snowy river

LINKS:

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER (1982) TRAILER

 

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.”

 

Stunt Team for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

 

I only saw this film as The Road Warrior (1982) when it was released in the US, but the Mad Max 2 title has since been added to the film in North America to re-establish it’s place in the series. This one is a lot like Evil Dead 2 in execution, where the 1st film in both of those series, Evil Dead and Mad Max were both very low budget films done independently of any studio. When those films were released and both were hits, the Directors, Sam Raimi for Evil Dead and George Miller for Mad Max were inundated with offers from Hollywood but both decided to do “sequels” of their films instead. What they are really, are just the proper films the directors would have made the first time around if they had the proper budgets to work with originally. Both Evil Dead 2 and The Road Warrior are highly superior films to their originals.mad-max-2-the-road-warrior-1981

I also want to add that it was this film and not the original film that caused a huge fervor and drew a whole slew of copycats of apocalyptic road pictures that has come after it.  The first one is good, don’t get me wrong, but I really think it’s this movie, specifically the last 20 minutes, that caused the cult status that it has attained.  It is arguably, the best road battle that has ever been put to film. It is utterly fantastic. That’s why it gets the nod for Best Movie Stunt for 1982.madmax2-carchase

More than 80 vehicles were involved in the production. According to cinematographer Dean Semler, the camera rig used to get medium close ups of Max driving required him and an ac (assistant camera) to stand on a small platform mounted to the driver’s side of the car. They found out during one sequence that they miscalculated the lift, because whenever they went up or down a hill the platform would actually scrape the ground, sending out a shower of sparks. (Initially alarming all involved, they just shrugged and kept shooting without cutting.) Most of the final action sequences (including Pappagallo’s death by trident machete, Wez’s final attempt to kill the Feral Kid, then the collision between Max’s truck and Humungus’ hot rod) were filmed on 24 July 1981. The collision caused more damage to the truck than expected, so the truck’s turnover (scheduled for the same day) had to be postponed. The truck was repaired, then crashed the following day.madmax road

The Road Warrior was directed by George Miller for Kennedy-Miller Productions.

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

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

  • George Miller
  • The Road Warrior
  • Kennedy-Miller Productions

History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia: Kennedy Miller Mitchell (before 2009 known as Kennedy Miller) is an Australian film, TV and games production house in Potts Point, Sydney, that has been producing television and film since 1978. It is responsible for some of Australia’s most well known and successful films, including the three Mad Max films, the two Babe films, and the two Happy Feet films.madde

Kennedy Miller Mitchell is one of Australia’s oldest existing film production companies, and the internationally most successful.

Many of the films are directed by the co-founder, George Miller, though he sometimes takes an organisational role and prefers to use someone else to direct, as with Babe, which was directed by Chris Noonan.

The company’s main current project is the fourth Mad Max film, titled Mad Max, Fury Road. After being “in development hell for 25 years”, according to Miller, the film went into pre-production in 2009.

What Will Be The Best Movie Stunt of 2015?

 

There are several movies coming out in 2015 that have impressive stunt sequences.  Here are a few of my favorites:

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

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.Mad Max Fury Road StuntsAs 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.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATIONtom-cruise-mission-impossible-5-rogue-nation-2015-bmw-s1000rr-motorbike-wallpaper

Tom Cruise has done it again with fantastic stunts in this film. At the beginning of the film, Tom Cruise performed the sequence where Ethan Hunt climbs on the outside of a flying airplane (an Airbus A400M) without the use of special effects or a stunt double. At times he was suspended on the aircraft 5000 feet in the air (1.5 kilometers).Screen-Shot-2015-03-22-at-1.05.12-PM-1748x984

Tom Cruise stated in an interview that it was his intention to do the stunt hanging onto the Airbus A400M in a way to outdo himself after the Burj Khalifa climb stunt in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. However, his idea raised objections due to safety by the crew. Being a certified pilot himself, he wanted to get the feel of being out on the wing or on the side of the airplane. A major obstacle to filming would be bird strikes and wind resistance on the runaway. To capture the action, a wind-resistant custom frame for the camera was built and mounted onto the left wing of the plane. The other major problem would be keeping Cruise’s eyes open in the presence of fast wind and runway particles, so his eye specialist designed a special lens that can cover the entire eyeball. Eight takes of the stunt were filmed. Christopher McQuarrie was very concerned that the actor might panic suddenly, but was assured by Cruise to not stop filming until the stunt had been finished. It took 10 days to actually film the aeroplane sequence involving Tom Cruise suspended on the plane, however it is only in fact a 90 second scene.

SPECTRE

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