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Legendary stuntman Vic Armstrong reveals his 007 secrets

08-May-2011 • Bond News

Dangling over an icy precipice, dodging hungry sharks or leaping off a bridge is just another day at the office for Vic Armstrong, reports the Daily Mail. For 45 years, he has put his life on the line as a stuntman, bringing us some of the most spine-tingling moments in film history. He's taught, guided - and stood in for - Hollywood stars including Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Sean Connery, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford and Christopher Reeve. Vic's death-defying work has earned him an Oscar and a Bafta lifetime achievement award. Now, in an exhilarating new book, he tells how an English boy who was good at riding horses ended up as a Hollywood hero...

James Bond gave me some of my first big film jobs. I played a ninja in 1967's You Only Live Twice, filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, then, in 1969, I found myself doubling the new 007, George Lazenby, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

It was an introduction to real danger. I performed the stunt that comes at the end of the big ski chase when Bond jumps off a cliff and ends up hanging from the edge. I couldn't walk out to see over the edge because I'd leave footprints in the snow, so my jump was going to be a leap of faith. I hooked the safety cable round my ankle and ran towards the edge. As I neared the precipice, the snow beneath me gave way and I fell earlier - and further - than planned.

All I could see was a 1,500ft drop and my heart nearly stopped because I thought the cable had snapped.

Injuries are common in my trade, many of them fatal. But I've been fortunate, even though I've broken my shin, my arm, my nose, my collarbone and my ribs.

Live And Let Die, released in 1973, was a painful experience. Roger Moore is tied up with Solitaire, played by Jane Seymour, on a platform hanging over a shark pool. Using a buzz-saw in his watch, Bond cuts the rope and then somersaults across to land and confront the villain.

However, the platform wasn't braced well and gave way under me as I was doing the somersault. As a result, my feet smashed into the ground, cracking my heels and crushing the pads under them. It was absolute agony.

In 1999, I ran the action unit for The World Is Not Enough, which is famous for its boat chase on the Thames. It was a huge project, with 60 boats. Maria Grazia Cucinotta, who played the female assassin, had to trust us completely when she drove off down the river at high speed with a stuntman crouched at her feet - out of shot but ready to take over if things got out of control.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1384668/James-Bond-Superman-Indianna-Jones-played-bty-legendary-stuntman-Vic-Armstrong.html#ixzz1Lu6ZpiQd
My secret mission: Jump off a 1.500ft cliff

James Bond gave me some of my first big film jobs. I played a ninja in 1967's You Only Live Twice, filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, then, in 1969, I found myself doubling the new 007, George Lazenby, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

It was an introduction to real danger. I performed the stunt that comes at the end of the big ski chase when Bond jumps off a cliff and ends up hanging from the edge. I couldn't walk out to see over the edge because I'd leave footprints in the snow, so my jump was going to be a leap of faith. I hooked the safety cable round my ankle and ran towards the edge. As I neared the precipice, the snow beneath me gave way and I fell earlier - and further - than planned.

All I could see was a 1,500ft drop and my heart nearly stopped because I thought the cable had snapped.

Injuries are common in my trade, many of them fatal. But I've been fortunate, even though I've broken my shin, my arm, my nose, my collarbone and my ribs.

Live And Let Die, released in 1973, was a painful experience. Roger Moore is tied up with Solitaire, played by Jane Seymour, on a platform hanging over a shark pool. Using a buzz-saw in his watch, Bond cuts the rope and then somersaults across to land and confront the villain.

However, the platform wasn't braced well and gave way under me as I was doing the somersault. As a result, my feet smashed into the ground, cracking my heels and crushing the pads under them. It was absolute agony.

In 1999, I ran the action unit for The World Is Not Enough, which is famous for its boat chase on the Thames. It was a huge project, with 60 boats. Maria Grazia Cucinotta, who played the female assassin, had to trust us completely when she drove off down the river at high speed with a stuntman crouched at her feet - out of shot but ready to take over if things got out of control.

The whole thing was real: the only computer-generated images were the torpedoes that Bond fires, because the authorities wouldn't let us use real ones.

In 1983 I doubled for Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again and jumped with a horse 40ft into the sea in Almeria, Spain. The horse was calm as I walked him up to the trap door that was going to release us. But as we slid out, his reaction was to try to rear up.

I couldn't jump clear: I had to stay with him and hold his head forwards or he would have flipped backwards. We went down absolutely vertically and crashed into the sea. When I finally reached the surface he'd already swum ashore - I'd spent two weeks training him to do that.

Read the complete article at the Daily Mail website.

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