The Game of Thrones stuntman shows you the ropes
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