Tag Archives: Simon Crane

Simon Crane, Unbroken, Do Not Fix it

 

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.simon crane 2nd unit

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 Crane Vic Armstrong

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.

SUNDAY CALENDAR SNEAKS FOR MAY 2, 2010. DO NOT USE PRIOR TO PUBLICATION--------- On the set of Angelina Jolie and stunt coordinator Simon Crane on the set of the movie Salt.
—- On the set of Angelina Jolie and stunt coordinator Simon Crane on the set of the movie Salt.

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.

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

Wayne Michaels for Goldeneye

 

Wayne Michaels as James Bond bungee jumped over a dam to break into a Russian chemical weapons factory. Michaels reached 100 miles per hour (161 km/h) during the jump and came perilously close to the sloping surface of the dam, which was studded with irons struts that could have torn him to pieces. The stunt was further complicated as Bond had to take out a gun during the fall, which threw Michaels off trajectory. The jump was the highest bungee jump from a structure in a movie, ever. The drop was over 722 ft. GoldeneyeSimon Crane was the Second Unit Director on this film and he recruited Wayne Michaels for the stunt. Michaels is also a veteran in the stunt industry and has also been involved with many of the great action franchises, including several Bond films, Superman 3, and two of the Indiana Jones movies.

GoldenEye was directed by Martin Campbell for Eon Productions.goldeneye_us1

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

  • Wayne Michaels
  • GoldenEye
  • Simon Crane
  • Martin Campbell
  • Eon Productions
Glossary of stunt terms as defined by Wikipedia:
Stunt Coordinator – stunt coordinator, usually an experienced stunt performer, is hired by a TV, film or theatre
director or production company to arrange the casting (stunt players and stunt doubles) and performance of stunts for a film, television program or a live audience. Where the film requires a stunt, and involves the use of stunt performers, the Stunt Coordinator will arrange the casting and performance of the stunt, working closely with the Director. In many cases, the stunt coordinator budgets, designs and choreographs the stunt sequence to suit the script and the director’s vision.

 

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

Simon Crane and Cliffhanger

 

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.Cliffhanger-Airplane

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.”Cliffhanger8 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.CLIFFHANGER STALLONE

Things to look up (go to IMDB):

  • Simon Crane
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Renny Harlin
  • Cliffhanger
  • CarolCo Pictures

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