ONE GIANT LEAP - How did they do the stunts in Assassin’s Creed?
THE RED BULLETIN: How does one become Michael Fassbender’s stunt double?
DAMIEN WALTERS: My friend was a stunt coordinator on the movie. I was very familiar with Assassin’s Creed—I played the first three games and loved them—so when the opportunity came up, I was very happy. I was with Michael every day, fight training, working on wires. We got on really well. Really nice guy.
Perhaps ironically, you’re re-creating a video-game character without the use of computer graphics …
Justin [Kurzel, the director] wanted to push the limits on what’s humanly possible. He wanted a very real, organic way of moving, so we had very few wires—the jumps were real. He wanted me to feel a little scared, because it helps with the body language. We were safe, but some of those jumps were 65 feet up, from building to building. We had an air bag at the bottom, but you don’t want to be landing that way, hitting stuff on the way down.
Tell us about the game’s acrobatic trademark dive, the Leap of Faith. You’re falling at almost 60 mph on impact, right?
There aren’t many people in the world who will do that sort of height, but because I do high falls quite a lot, we decided to try the Leap of Faith for real. I had a day’s rehearsal, got up to about 100 feet, then on the day of the shoot we decided to go even higher. It was a pretty hairy moment: The high fall is not the problem, but you have to land flat on your back—you can’t land any other way. You’re falling 130 feet and your stopping distance is 10 feet, so if you’re landing any way other than spreading your weight on your back, that’s bad news. Even when landing on your back it’s a big hit. It’s a hell of a thump.
What’s going through your mind just before the jump?
Make sure you hit the crash bag. Don’t miss!
Bruce Lee’s One-Inch Punch
First demonstrated by the martial-arts icon at an event in 1964, the small but explosive hit became part of the legend of Bruce Lee. Forty years on, the punch was adapted for the Bride’s escape from a coffin in Kill Bill: Volume 2.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Helicopter Kick
The 360° spinning kick is the stuff of fighting games, but former kickboxing champion Van Damme became famous for executing the move for real – as seen in his breakthrough film Bloodsport (though sadly not in his recent beer ads).
Tom Cruise’s Hanging Off Things In The Air
The world’s most famous movie star doesn’t “do” stuntmen, particularly in his hit Mission: Impossible franchise. Cruise has clung heroically to trains, skyscrapers and, most recently, a plane during takeoff, all in the name of entertainment.