MI6 caught up last month 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...

Steve Truglia Interview (1)
4th February 2004

MI6 caught up last month 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...

Above: Steve preparing to sky dive.


What was your first film to perform as a stuntman?
My first film was "Tomorrow Never Dies", and I started in the stunt business in 1996.

What was your first film to perform as a stunt stuntman driver?
I think it was something like "Cold Feet" or "Coronation Street" English soap opera’s. It was one of my first jobs. It was literally driving around a corner and stopping on a mark as an old lady was crossing the road. It starts as basic as that.

Tomorrow Never Dies

At what stage did you come onboard the project?
I came on board the project around about July.

Where there any heart stopping moments during this Bond film?
There was a scene in the final sequence where Bond pushes the detonator on his watch and it explodes the glass jar. With the huge explosion there were three of us near to that action. One guy who had previously been "shot" from down below up on the gantry and myself and another stunt performer were to be blown to the ground by that explosion. The whole thing was designed so that there would be a fireball which would raise above us and along the ceiling, so that was a big moment and everyone was their form producer downwards to watch this big fireball stunt. So it was a pretty tense time.

Chasing Bond in Range Rovers

Which of the Range Rovers did you drive?
The front one of the group.

Where was this sequence filmed?
The sequence was filmed in the several places, some of it was actually filmed In Bangkok and the one I did was done in the studios up in Frogmore, near St Albans. Which was a reconstruction of the Bangkok street, they didn't get everything finished out there because the weather changed and it was something to do with the lighting and the weather, I think the rains came in or something and they couldn't keep shooting for continuity. So we built the set here in the UK. We had hundreds of Chinese extras from China town.

There were a couple of scenes in particular where we had to come around a corner very fast practically flat out and there were Chinese extras absolutely everywhere darting around in front of the vehicle in a panic scurrying around, so it was kind of a tricky job not to run these guys over and then we had the crash the vehicles into a load of cars.


DVD Timecode

"Tomorrow Never Dies"
Backseat Driver

Above: Range Rover

Bond in the meantime is escaping with the girl across the balcony tops and we were frustrated after crashing these cars, so we'd get out and shoot after him. The other scene was where the door was ripped off the car. Somebody opens the car door in the Range Rover, the first one stops, the second one hits it in the back. I was driving the front one in that sequence where the crash happens. That's a very very tight shot. It was a one shot deal, they didn't have the time to fix the vehicles after they had the shunt and Vic Armstrong asked me to do that from the start absolutely inch perfect and it had a very tight camera shot on it and they wanted it in the central frame so it was critical that I stopped the vehicle exactly on the stop. So what may not sound like a big stunt, a little shunt, one vehicle shunting another there was a massive amount of pressure because we were going to cave in the vehicles a little bit so we couldn't do it a second time and we got there in one take. There was quite a bit of pressure coming in a 20 miles an hour and stopping exactly each person on the mark. When you have Vic Armstrong there and the producer watching it makes your palms sweat a little bit.

How many days was there to prep?
A good couple of weeks really, on and off with the Range Rovers.

Where either of the Range Rovers retrofitted for that scene?
No not to the best of my knowledge - they were box standard and they felt box standard. What was really interesting, it happens a lot with stunt drivers and a lot of people don't realize it - when you're doing stunts you've got to get out of vehicles with weapons in your hands and you don't always know where to put the weapons and they're loaded weapons with the safety on, so although they're not loaded with live ammunition they are still dangerous. You can't fire that at someone's face, you'd probably kill them or take their eye out. So you've got concern of the weapons where they're stowed in the vehicles where they won't roll around on the floor and get under your brake pedals. So you need them stowed either by your side or under your thigh, wherever.

Bear in mind that you need to retrieve them quickly. It's happened a couple of times when people haven't disabled the autolocking on the door, i.e. "me". I did it on about three separate occasions. I managed inadvertently to push the lock button down on the car driver door. You skid around the corner you do all the action and no one can get out of the car. You're all trying to open the door, it's locked and by the time you've worked it out its too late. So it's a cut and you've got to go again. But its quite comical when you look back on it, all these bad guys come screaming around the corner and they're all locked in their car like a load of "Keystone Cops" trying to get out. It's one of things that happens a lot with stunt driving, you look out for buttons on top of the door that you could push down with your elbow, check that you haven't pushed it down by mistake, and if it's central locking no one else can get out.

Everything go to plan?
Everybody on that team is very very experienced. So what I call the fudge factor is very low because everybody knows what they want and they've had a lot of time to prepare and plan. The more experienced a stunt team is the better directing team is. When you're talking about someone like Vic Armstrong and his level of experience and in that film, and Dickey Beer the Stunt Supervisor. Combined the have 40, 50 maybe 60 years experience and on some of the best, biggest movies out there. They managed to get what they planned in the first place because they know what's going to work they know what's going to look good. It's not the same with all films but it certainly is with the Bonds.

Above: Sean Connery and Catharine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment

Was there any portion of the chase missing from the final cut?
There were lots of bits and pieces actually we did a heck of a lot and the way it was edited not everything we did ended up on screen. But that's always the case, things are done for editing. I did a driving job for Vic on a film called "Entrapment" and it was over a several weekends and 40 stunt drivers, it was a huge car chase sequence and they cut the whole lot. We watched the film in eager anticipation to watch this wonderful stunt sequence that we'd all worked so hard for, for 8 solid days. Really long days as well 4 long weekends, nothing 'not a sausage!' Its not depressing, its slightly disappointing, you'd like to see it in the films. As a creator, I can't speak for other people, I think some people turn up and do there job, because it's a job. But I've got to create because I like creating. I've got a creative mind and I love to see my work at the cinema afterwards. I love being at a theatre when something happens and people go "that was good!", you know. I feel great, wow, I was apart of that action that was me over there. You know? That's really nice there satisfied with the finished product, and you see it on film and you think that looks good.

In fact I was watching TV, I did a thing for the Johnny Vaughn show - it was a simulated car knockdown. I get nearly knocked down but not quite ran over. And we filmed it and looked at the playbacks at the time and I was moderately happy but I thought that they could have been done better. But you can do a heck of a lot in editing and the editor was obviously great. He was fantastic, I thought I'd missed the show and I started watching the Johnny Vaughn show and thought, ahh this is my thing. I watched it and it made me flinch, it was like crikey it looked like I nearly got ran over. It was so good that it made me flinch and I did it. So that's what I think is a good stunt, I mean it's that convincing.

Keep an eye out for the second part of the interview where we chat about the helicopter stunts in "Tomorrow Never Dies" and full body burns...

Many thanks to Steve Truglia

Related Articles:
Interview Steve Truglia (Part 2)
Interview Steve Truglia (Part 3)
Interview Steve Truglia (Part 4)
Tomorrow Never Dies MI6 Movie Coverage
The World Is Not Enough MI6 Movie Coverage
Steve T's Official Website