The Game of Thrones stunt­man shows you the ropes

Men's Health (South Africa) - - REGULARS & DEPARTMENTS -

BOBBY HOL­LAND HAN­TON IS about to get grilled alive by a colos­sal dragon.

That fire-breath­ing beast is named Dro­gon, one of the most fearsome crea­tures in Game of Thrones. Yet Han­ton stands firm. “With the right re­hearsal and safety pre­cau­tions, I’m will­ing to try any­thing,” he says. “The ti­tle of the job is 'stunt­man'. So, yeah – it’s dan­ger­ous.”

Wrapped in a safety suit and slathered in lay­ers of freez­ing fire-pro­tec­tion gel, Han­ton burns un­der Dro­gon’s breath for 15 sec­onds. Flames around his body shoot as high as four me­tres. He hits his knees and col­lapses to the ground. He holds his breath – oth­er­wise he’d suck the flames into his lungs – un­til the stunt team puts out the blaze.

“You feel like you’re in a ra­di­a­tor. All you see is or­ange,” Han­ton says. “It’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal bat­tle. You have to be­lieve in your­self, be­lieve in your boss, be­lieve in what you re­hearsed.” That could de­scribe job suc­cess in any field.

The re­al­ity of be­ing a stunt­man, apart from all the doom jumps, shat­ter crashes and fire walks, is that by the time the stunt­man’s name rolls up the cred­its, most peo­ple have al­ready left the theatre or changed the chan­nel. It’s un­sung work. Does that sound fa­mil­iar too?

But that’s where the stunt­man finds suc­cess. Through the knocks, burns, jerks and jumps, Han­ton pur­posely offers him­self in the ser­vice of oth­ers. He won’t be the star, but that’s okay. He’ll ap­pear in this sea­son of GoT and in the up­com­ing movie Thor: Rag­narok, but you prob­a­bly won’t see him. Han­ton’s happy – ea­ger, even – to keep on tak­ing shots for the stars.

“I’ve re­ally learned the willpower to go back to work af­ter tak­ing some big hits. It’s not for the faint-hearted,” Han­ton says. “When peo­ple go, ‘You’re crazy. I would never do that,’ that’s a huge sat­is­fac­tion for me. That’s when I think, ‘This is what I’m here for.’”

This stunt­man takes hits on the job ev­ery day. The funny thing? His tips on bounc­ing back are good for the av­er­age guy’s dayto-day. Mi­nus the ex­plo­sions BY TYLER DASWICK • PHO­TO­GRAPHS PEROU

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