MI6 caught up with UK Freediving Champion, Steve Truglia. In this in depth four part interview we look at his experience on the "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "The World Is Not Enough" sets, his Guinness World record attempts, and much more...

Interview - Steve Truglia (3)
21st April 2005

That Sinking Feeling
During the underwater shoot at Pinewood you were one of the sailors who is killed, why did they used stuntmen for this simple scene?
It was my first ever day, and my first film day was a night shoot in a tank at Pinewood where the bottom of the stealth ship was over the tank. We played British sailors floating in the water being shot by Stamper. The scene was we're being rescued so we were all happy - but then Stamper shoots us with a machine gun with Chinese ammunition.

But in reality he was using a blank firing weapon - but they are dangerous because even though they are blank firing, as you can see by the flames there loaded with quite strong charges. If you freeze framed the action to the point where you can see the size of the flash, you'd never get a flash that big from a real weapon. That's what the special effects guys use for stunts because they look absolutely fantastic.

So that's why they used stunt people for that scene. It may seem like a relatively simple scene, but it is quite dangerous to do that kind of thing. You can blind people if you were that close to them and you could almost kill them with a blank round if you put it right up against their face. on top of all that, there were air jets in the water to show the ricocheting rounds.


Above: Otto Gotz

But again, as with a lot of the Bond things they go quite easy. I thought that was more of a gruesome scene in it's first cut, but what was finally cut for the cinema looked a bit tamer. It was a bit more dramatic but I think that there's a lot of censorship because the movies are rated "12" and that's probably why a lot of the more gruesome scenes they don't do the blood and guts.

Above: British Navel Frigate.


Was there any portions of your shoot missing from the final print you remember film?
There were air jets in the water all of the place and people doing the big dying scene and they cut that you - don't really see it. It is implied it but you don't see it. It was the coldest night work I've ever done. First night on a James Bond film, nervous as hell, just really starting in the business and absolutely freezing. We had a huge tent with hot air bellowed into it and we had wetsuits on underneath our costumes, but they were short wetsuits and you just loose so much heat. We were there all night till about four in the morning and it was a long night shoot.

We were so cold that they gave us what in stunts you call "stunt adjustment" - an adjustment to your day pay. You get a day rate and then you get an adjustment which is usually takes into account objective danger, if you do a high fall or set yourself on fire there are set rates, sometimes they negotiable but there are guideline rates for how much extra you get. We got an adjustment for that because it was so physically uncomfortable, the objective danger wasn't high in the stunt but it was so physically unpleasant for hours and hours on end.

Making Waves
The special effects people had oil drums to make the waves. Imagine an oil drum, and they make it look like a wheel barrow with two sticks attached to it. You've got two sticks with a top across the front so its like a u-shaped handle. You strap that on to the oil drums and you get 6 or 7 guys stood around the tank pushing them in and out of the water. It's great it looks exactly like waves. It really does work, very very realistic and you feel like you're in waves as the water reflects and bounces off the sides.

Stealth Ship Battle
You also had a stunt role on the Stealth Ship, in the final battle. Can you talk us through this?
There were loads and loads of scenes wrapped into that sequence and the main one was the final sequence when we were blown to the ground. As you're looking at the scene from the camera I'm on the left hand side being blown down face first by that explosion. I even at one stage grab a fire extinguisher and in the main control room, I'm firing the fire extinguisher onto some of the panels that are burning. Everyone was just mucking in and doing everything for scenes.


Another stunt I performed was when I run along one side of the gantry on one side of the stealth ship, and as Bond is firing return fire to me, I'm dodging all the bits and pieces - so it's almost like hurdling. In another scene I'm up on the gantry and two goons are having a shooting match with Bond, and Bond fires back and one guy falls off, head first over the barrier as he gets shot - and then aims the missile launcher and we dive off the collapsing gantry as it hits the ground explosions go off.

Free Diving
You are currently official UK Free Diving Champion tell us a little about this feat and what is involved?

Free diving is breath hold diving without any oxygen. You hold your breath and go as deep as you can. There are a variety of disciplines in free diving. There are disciplines where you swim down and swim back up and there are disciplines where you go hand over hand pulling yourself down a rope and back up. The the most extreme discipline and the deepest is called "no limits". This is explained beautifully in the the film "The Big Blue"

Left: Steve Truglia performing a freedive (image courtesy Deeper Blue)

"No limits" is where you go down with a weighted sled, which is basically just a huge weight attached to a rope, and you come back with a balloon full of air (a lift bag ) still holding your breath the whole way. You go down very deep very quickly and you go back to the surface very quickly. It means you go deeper quicker and get yourself into dangerous waters quicker. It's called "no limits " because in terms of the sport there are no limits on how much weight you can use to get yourself down and no limits on how you get yourself back to the surface. So you go down however you like and get back however you like and get as deep as you can. So it's the real sharp end of free diving. I got the established UK record officially in May 2002 in Loch Linnha Fort William in Scotland with the help of the Fort William underwater centre, which is a diving organization for safety divers, and I got to 76m.

When I work that out in feet it's almost 240. I really am not a daredevil in any way shape or form though. I'm a fully thoughtful calculating professional - that's why I've survived 600 parachute jumps, I've survived over 200 military parachute jumps in all continents of the world with day, sea, night, land and from helicopters... aircraft, balloons everything. Even into the Arctic! You name it I've done it, but I'm still here. I've been climbing and mountaineering at a really high level all my life - and I've not broken a bone doing any of it.


Above: Steve on a freedive (image courtesy of Deeper Blue)

Keep an eye out for the final part of the interview where we chat about the "The World is Not Enough" and CGI...

Many thanks to Steve Truglia

Related Articles:
Interview Steve Truglia (Part 1)
Interview Steve Truglia (Part 2)
Interview Steve Truglia (Part 4)
Tomorrow Never Dies MI6 Movie Coverage
The World Is Not Enough MI6 Movie Coverage
Steve T's Official Website