The London Action Festival continued at the Royal Geographical Society for its second night “Action’s Big Night Out”, with an evening of comedy, live music, quizzes and surprise guests.

Host/comedian Bennett Arron introduced the McBain quartet to kick off the evening with a classical rendition of the Mission: Impossible theme before magician Nick Einhorn performed film related tricks involving audience participation, mobile phones and the power of deduction.

Main festival guest, director John McTiernan was then re-introduced for a session entitled “Anatomy of a scene” during which he discussed, with Ian Nathan and director Corin Hardy, the sequence from Dr. Strangelove which sees Slim Pickens’ Major “King” Kong repair a malfunctioned missile before it’s accidentally dispatched with him straddling it.

London Action Fest day 2Surprise guest Edgar Wright then turned up to dissect the bar fight sequence from The World’s End where Simon Pegg tries to salvage his pint while fighting aliens. Wright presented test/choreography footage of the fight and talked the audience through the process of bringing it to life.

Renowned film composer David Arnold then took to the stage to talk about music he created for the James Bond franchise. Arnold recalled reading the Casino Royale script before Daniel Craig had been cast, and how strange it was having a blank version of Bond in mind while doing so.

Arnold then performed a live acoustic version of his song Surrender which he wrote for Tomorrow Never Dies with David McAlmont and Don Black, and K.D Lang went on to record.

London Action Fest day 2For Casino Royale, Arnold wanted to write a James Bond song that wasn’t from a female perspective, nor about how Bond is such a mysterious stranger. He wanted to create something from Bond’s POV, encapsulating his arrogance and assassin persona. With this in mind Arnold wrote You Know My Name, which he later recorded with Chris Cornell for Casino Royale.

Arnold ended his LAF session by performing a stunning acoustic version of You Know My Name for the crowd.

Legendary stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong was then introduced to talk about his career and be presented with an award commemorating his work. Following a montage of clips from the Indiana Jones, Superman and James Bond films, Armstrong talked about doing a 100 foot jump in Cornwall for Omen: The Final Conflict, the difficulty of using piano wires in Superman, how CGI should just be treated as a “get out of jail free card”, and propelling down a rope into Blofeld’s volcano during the finale of You Only Live Twice.

London Action Fest day 2Armstrong also talked about his time working on Total Recall (’90); flying to Amsterdam to meet “fiery director” Paul Verhoeven, and the film’s finale, using cables and sets to make actors appear horizontal instead of vertical.

The evening concluded with a “guess the score” quiz which saw audience members, playing against David Arnold, guessing famous film scores based on their opening chords.

Finally, John McTiernan returned to the stage to accept an award for his contribution to cinema. McTiernan told the crowd how much he would love to direct again before leaving, as the McBain orchestra returned to play out the evening with a classical rendition of the Star Trek theme.

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Daniel Goodwin is a prevalent film writer for multiple websites including HeyUGuys, Scream Horror Magazine, Little White Lies, i-D and Dazed. After studying Film, Media and Cultural Studies at university and Creative Writing at the London School of Journalism, Daniel went on to work in TV production for Hat Trick Productions, So Television and The London Studios. He has also worked at the Home Office, in the private office of Hilary Benn MP and the Coroner's and Burials Department, as well as on the Movies on Pay TV market investigation for the Competition Commission.