3 Tips To Movie Stunt Work with Charlie Picerni

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Veteran stunt coordinator Charlie Picerni has worked with countless movie stars such as Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), Bruce Willis (Die Hard 1, 2) and now Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez in GETAWAY. GETAWAY’s stunt coordinator reveals three things he tells his actors before shooting an action scene.

One hundred cars were destroyed in the making of GETAWAY. Picerni, who got his start as Paul Michael Glaser’s stunt double in the 70s tv show Starsky & Hutch, tells CineMovie GETAWAY is the “biggest car movie, I have ever done. It was non-stop”, he explains. Choreographing twenty to thirty people around cars proved very tricky and stressful.  A scene involving a train and cars was the most troublesome stunt in GETAWAY, and required hours of preparation and concern. Picerni is responsible for the crew and cast, so he always cautions about safety especially when it comes to the stars.

Picerni always offers the stars three pieces of advice when it involves dangerous stunt work.

 

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1. Pay Attention

Picerni compares his work to a film director. A director guides actors through the dramatic scenes, while the cast and crew rely on the stunt coordinators for guidance during the action scenes.  It’s vital for the cast to pay attention to his direction.

“The actors usually listen if you lead them the right way.  If you know what you’re talking about, they are going to listen.”  

2. Be Aware

“It’s like a cat in the jungle. If you’re sitting on a rock in the plains of Africa, watch everything around you. Be aware of everything.  Anything can happen at any moment,” according to the stunt coordinator behind movies such as Daredevil, Bad Boys II, XXX and The Fast & the Furious.

3. Don’t Get Carried Away

Do the actors ever get ambitious?  Picerni says he runs a tight ship and ‘doesn’t let them get away with it.”  “The actors usually listen if you lead them the right way.  If you know what you’re talking about, they are going to listen.”  His piece of advice is “don’t get carried away with the action. Do as much as you can”

Picerni’s profession has largely gone unchanged since he started in the 1970s, but CGI has changed the amount of work available.  He believes directors overdue CGI work. For certain movies, CGI works well such as in the Transformers movie and the most recent Fast & Furious movie, which he considered “way of the top.”

However, Picerni’s love of the craft hasn’t changed any.  Picerni trained his two sons and now they work as a team. One of his sons and Picerni worked in Bulgaria on GETAWAY, which is now playing in movie theaters.

 

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