Posts Tagged ‘Vic Armstrong’

Book Review: The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman (Updated and Expanded Edition)

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

vic-and-harrison

 “No CGI can match what Vic can accomplish.” –Steven Spielberg

That quote is from the introduction to The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman.  Spielberg is talking about Vic Armstrong, and trust me when I say you DO know him.  He’s been stunt doubles for James Bond, Superman and Indiana Jones.  He’s directed action scene in Bond movies, Mission Impossible 3 and the recent Thor blockbuster.  You can see his work this summer in The Amazing Spider-Man too!  This is a great look at the industry; Vic Armstrong’s memories are page turners.

He’s been part of the business for over 40 years and in that time played the most iconic on screen heroes.  Harrison Ford joked (image above), “If you learn to talk I’m in deep trouble.”  That says it all about his ability don’t you think?  He’s got a lot of amazing stories to tell you, and they’re all here in this newly updated version of the successful memoir from released last year.

“Vic Armstrong is, of course, a legend in the film world.” –Martin Scorsese

vic-2One of the coolest credits on his long list (far too long to put here) is “Unicorn Master” on Ridley Scott’s Legend.  Can I get that business card?  This memoir spans his career from his horse riding beginnings to one of the industry’s most sought-after action coordinators.

One of my favorite stories in the book concerns his work on Richard Donner’s Superman.  Vic explains how he and Christopher Reeve would clash on the set because Reeve wanted to do his own stunts.  Reeve’s was a professional and very involved in his character, he wanted to do it all understandably says Vic.  One night they were filming some shots for Superman II, it was the scene in Metropolis with a few alien baddies and Superman getting a manhole cover thrown at him which tosses him back into a car window.  Yes, Reeve’s wanted to do this.  [watch the scene here]

I went into the dressing room to get my kiss curl put on when Chris walked by and stopped in the doorway.  ‘What are you doing?’ he asked.  I told him about the stunt.  ‘No, I’m doing it’ he said.  ‘Chris you can do whatever you want, but don’t stop me from earning a living’, I replied.  Off he went in a huff.

He explains the stunt in detail and the rest of the night, he got “beaten up like hell” he says.

After getting changed I was leaving for home and Chris Reeve, bless him, came over, gave me a thumbs-up and said ‘Jeeze, Vic, you’re right, I’m glad I wasn’t doing that mate.  Thanks a million.’

He’s a master of the craft and has some very big names making these claims for him if you’re still unsure.  He jumped from a horse to a tank for Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg, off a helicopter onto a mountain peak and lives to tell the tales.  This book is fun and easy to read, it’s written with passion and most noticeably from the perspective a fan of movies, one of the many reasons I couldn’t put it down.

VicCoverThe True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman: My Life As Indiana Jones, James Bond, Superman and other movie heroes

Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: May 17 2011, Updated May 2012
Authors: Vic Armstrong, Robert Sellers
Paperback: 352 +16 color photos

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From Amazon.ca

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