They’re the in­vis­i­ble men and women who put their lives on the line so Tom Cruise and Kris­ten Ste­wart don’t have to... but some­times things can go ter­ri­bly wrong

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - COVER STORY -

ollywood has upped sticks and crossed the pond, with $1bn worth of big- budget films be­ing shot in and around Lon­don alone this year. So, on the eve of the sum­mer block­buster sea­son, spoke to some leading per­form­ers to find out what it takes to be­come a stunt dou­ble. crane, 20ft be­low. The cal­cu­la­tions had to be pre­cise. He had worked out he had one square foot to land on. There was no mar­gin for er­ror... if he was to sur­vive. Ben Cooke k and d Daniel l Craig d dur­ing the film­ing of

Enough pres­sure? To up the ante, a he­li­copter hov­ered over­head laden with cam­eras, watch­ing as Cooke, Daniel Craig’s stunt dou­ble stepped into space. He hit his tar­get, then hurled him­self onto a roof an­other 20ft be­low.

Cooke breathed a huge sigh of re­lief when his ter­ri­fy­ing stunt in James Bond film f went to plan. Then he had h to do it all over again.

‘I fin­ished the jumps and we went down and a looked at the play­back. At which point they t de­cided they wanted an­other take – they al­ways a do. So I climbed back up the 170ft crane. c By then I was re­ally ex­hausted.

‘They brought out the he­li­copter and were just j about to count down (it needed to be all vis­ual v cues be­cause I couldn’t hear any­thing) and a then the cam­era jammed…

‘ The he­li­copter had to land while they fixed f the cam­eras. It was the long­est 15 min­utes u of my life.

It was an ab­so­lutely amaz­ing view – you could c see the cur­va­ture of the hori­zon – but it was a very long time to think about the risks of what I was about to do.’

Clearly Cooke sur­vived and since then has pro­gressed to stunt co­or­di­na­tor. His lat­est film, sci-fi block­buster by the Wa­chowski sib­lings (the duo be­hind the

films) is out this sum­mer. He’s just one of the hun­dreds of Bri­tish and Ir­ish stunt men and women cur­rently en­joy­ing a boom­time as more Hol­ly­wood block­busters are pro­duced over here.

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