Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Stunt Man

A glowing week to everyone especially in these trying times! Chin up everyone; the only way is up. This sort of reminds me of the Pharaoh’s dream of old where he dreamt of the seven scrawny cows eating up the seven fat ones. Well let’s hope it was just one cow that swallowed the seven this in our case! Anyway like I said, a wonderful week to all and I’m going to toot my horn this week and brag about one of my many talents – not that I intend making a career out of this one – stunts! Yes my dear friends I can confidently say I have earned my stripes in the world of stunts with no insurance! Hopefully this will be the last.

It was on a movie set in Lagos and the character I was playing was a slime bag that got his kicks off sleeping with other men’s wives. The movie’s not out yet hence no title yet. Sorry that’s the Nigerian way of doing things – no movie, no name. Well in this scene the cuckolded husband, played by Bimbo Manuel is so frustrated with his philandering wife’s (Rita Dominic) antics that he goes to help himself with the ladies of easy virtue at night. While parked on the road where the prostitutes ply their trade and seated in his car, he imagines his arch enemy, yours truly, crossing the road while he runs me down into hell where I ‘belong’. Now I jauntily thought it would just a case of crossing the road, being startled by the bright headlights, open my eyes wide when I realize the intention of the driver, raise my arms across my face to avert the impending onslaught and then ‘cut’! No such luck.

The director, Izu Ojukwu, walks up to me with a guilt laden grin on his face. The kind that says “I’m sorry to have to ask you to do this but you’re going to have to do it anyway cos I won’t have this scene look stupid”. All I’d have to do, according to him, was to walk casually across the road and the vehicle would ‘bump’ me from the side and I’d simply employ my athletic skills to fly up in the air, fall to the ground and play dead. I looked at the vehicle in question. It was a formidable looking Mercedes SUV and to make matters worse, it had monstrous steel bull bars attached to the front bumpers, rising up to my rib section! I looked back at him.
“Oh no no no. The engine will not be turned on. The P A’s will simply push the vehicle so it will roll gently and just graze you just a little bit.” He said in an attempt to reassure me.
With some reserve I consented and made ready on the other side of the road. At the first attempt I ‘casually’ sauntered across the road, my peripheral vision at its sharpest as I spied the black shadow gliding towards me like some oily monster until I ‘saw’ it at the very last moment and startled by the dazzling headlights, opened my eyes wide when I realised the intentions of the driver and raised my arms across my face to avert the onsl… “Cut!” The director bellowed. Damn!
“You are not supposed to ever notice the car. It’s supposed to catch you completely unawares. Take two!”
I walked across a second time. Twenty people must have been pushing that car because the speed at which that vehicle came at me made it look like it was fleeing a crime scene. I jumped back at the last minute swearing and hurling unmentionables at my would be assassins. By this time a small crowd had gathered round to watch even though it was 11pm, I decided to be a tough guy and go through with it. I crossed, walked bravely in front of the car and got hit. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be but if I had initially thought I was going to sprawl over the bonnet like I would an ordinary car, I was to change that thought very quickly if I was to live. The bull bars would not even let me get close to the already high bonnet let alone sprawl over it. Using the bars as leverage, I flipped and then flung myself over the side of the bonnet landing on the ground with a thud. Of course I had to repeat it again as it looked too ‘contrived’. It took two more takes for Izu to be satisfied with the sacrifice I had made. The good thing was I suffered no injury and no bruises. The highlight of the shoot that night was when on being knocked down, the ‘prostitutes’ rushed over to assist my character as he lay prone face up on the ground – Staying dead was a very trying time for my character especially with the camera trained on his lifeless body!

Whenever Nollywood deems it fit to honour versatile actors, I will stand tall in the exclusive club of actors who do their own stunts! Have a great week ahead everyone!

10 comments:

  1. It must be a highly creative week, two blogs in one week usually we would have to sweat it out while you compose your witty ditties.

    All I will say about this particular blog is that let's hope your mom isn't computer savvy and/or that one of your family members doesn't tell her that her Okpara (first born son)has been playing with his life...if you get hurt, you will not be able to stand tall anywhere o ehe! Did the director NOT read the script to know that there is an accident scene that might call for a stunt man? Did he then not know upon reading it that he ought to build that cost into the budget that would be presented to the executive producer of the film? "Guilt laden grin" be darned, Mr. Ojukwu should have told you ahead of time the plan of the scene, what if the driver over estimated his speed and came away with your knee caps? That is not cool at all, playing with people's lives on set is NOT cool at all. In the US, trust and believe that the likes of Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis,Chow Yun Fat, Wesley Snipes etc who perform some of their stunts are doing so with heavy, heavy insurance on their head, they have to sign off that they insisted on doing the stunts and in some cases get extra pay for it as well. Nollywood isn't Hollywood just yet so they should do their stunts within their financial capability.

    You are taking it so lightly because you are used to the way things operate there but I am aghast because it is just really a risk to your life and that of those around - what if the break failed (sure, it didn't but what if?) and the car went careening into the crowd? Are those cars given a full inspection before they are used in these movies? Probably not.

    I know you are helping build a foundation, your name will go down as one of those who has pioneered the industry whenever Nollywood rises to attain a shoulder to shoulder standing with Hollywood and Bollywood, but please don't let it be built on your blood as well.

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  2. You made me laugh out loud in the office. will have to stop reading ur blog at work.

    but very brave and commendable act considering the fact that the industry does not have the mechanism in place to cushion the impact of the car or prepare a softer landing (i winced at the tud). please next time, b4 u emback on such stunts, make sure your accident or life insurance has been durely singed, atleast until the industry is well equiped. they were pushing that car from the back. who was in front to stop it to make sure it does not hit u too hard?

    but, that was a good stunt u pulled though. am so proud of u. hey! thats a good idea -'Nollywood Stunts Awards' COOL!

    hope u got a good massage afterwards...
    stay blessed!

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  3. body no get spare parts ooh!! at least on niger's side of the globe. ( at least since clifford orji, remember? )

    hope the movie is out like TODAY!can't wait, so ''we'' can rate the stunt for originality.

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  4. Kalu Egbui Ikeagwu! Kalu Egbui Ikeagwu! Kalu Egbui Ikeagwu! how many times I don call you so? How many? Okay o. Na your life you dey carry do play-play, abi? If someting happen now, no be I am sorry Izu Ojukwu go tell your mama, shebi? Wetin your mama go carry I am sorry take do? Nwannu, continue now.

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  5. Kalu de stunts man! weldone on pulling it off, but man, u've got 2 b more careful n probably say NO next time, unless things are done properly; like u being informed b4 hand so u can get ur groove together, n cushioning effects being put in place to reduce/prevent against any eventualities...Nollywood directors/producers need to take the lives of their artistes more into consideration in these matters, n as we don't have access to them, u'd be in a better position to make these complaints/demands/corrections...all d best...

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  6. What!!!!!!!!!! K is doing stunts now?someone call Jackie Chan:-)

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  7. like one person said, i too would have to stop reading ur posts in the office, Can u ever stop making people laugh? u re supposed to be another basket mouth etc.
    Please be careful too!
    we can't afford to lose u.

    Ujebe esther.

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  8. Mr Kalu, don't kill me with laughter.
    Please be careful too, we can't afford to lose u.

    Ujebe Esther.

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  9. Nice blog, Funny tooo. Unfortunately i don't watch Naija movies.....the storylines are just too fake to be watched. Hope the movie come out nice anyway, would be popping in here from tym to tym. TTYL

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  10. formerly stealth readerJuly 12, 2009 at 3:26 AM

    wow i must have missed dis blog just seeing it.....................anyways uhm ...k am glad d director chose creativity over d same old deer caught in the headlights thing which is wat we have come to know as accident scenes in 9ja movies..........n pls do mo stunts ok yeah n be careful, take precautions.
    just a thought,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,if u were ever to do an accident scene pls refuse refuse d whole look of terror- scream- n dizzying effect which seems to me like a bee's eye view....cos its like buzz zz spinning..d end opt for d more graphic impact!! jerk....bodily damage both car n human. ok i'll stop now. gud job stunt man (seriously continue or u wudnt be a real stunt man if u tried it only once....5 times n u wud have gained street cred in d stunt community haha)

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