With that in mind, the stunts for the movie have to be planned to precision for safety but they also need to look as spectacular as they possibly can! We’ve been given this UK exclusive interview with George Aguilar, the stunt co-ordinator from Prince of Persia who’s able to tells us about what goes into making a movie like this one.
If you haven’t already seen it, you can check out our interview with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer where he talks in depth about making this movie and enter our competition to win tickets to an advanced screening here.
Have a look at this featurette focusing on the Prince of Persia stunts below and then read on for the interview with George Aguilar.
Inspired by the best-selling video game series, Walt Disney Pictures and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the team behind the blockbuster franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean”, are bringing “The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” to the big screen in the Summer of 2010.
Mixing mirth with magic and plenty of action, “Prince of Persia” is the story of Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), a royal with something to prove. After being saved from a life on the streets by the King, Dastan must join forces with high priestess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to safeguard the Sands of Time – a mystical substance which has the ability to turn back the clock. But with plenty of interested parties desperate to get their hands on the Sands and the iconic Dagger of Time, the pair must battle against the odds to work out exactly who they can trust during this quest full of twists, turns and epic adventure.
GEORGE AGUILAR – STUNT COORDINATOR
Stunt supremo George has worked on a raft of big name Hollywood movies from “The Departed” to “Gangs of New York” via “Alfie” and “War of the Worlds”. As an actor, he has had small roles in “The Stepford Wives”, “Meet The Parents” and in the TV series “Oz”.
Q: How do the First Unit and Second Unit work together to create the stunt scenes?
George Aguilar: First Unit usually has the principle actors involved and Second Unit is more stunt intensive. After the planning stages, we work out what we can do with the stunt doubles and when. Then we generally take Jake, Gemma or whoever the actor is to plug them into the scene the stunt double has already shot. We make it fit as seamlessly as possible.
Q: What have been the most dangerous stunts to film?
George Aguilar: There have been some pretty big leaps that Jake and the doubles have done. Even though they are on a cable they are still pretty tricky.
There’s also a lot of working with animals, horse work, camels, all sorts of things. Both Jake and Gemma and the whole cast worked on the riding. We had a couple of horses run loose which is always tricky.
Q: How does the Parkour-style of movement play a role in the action sequences?
George Aguilar: With the Parkour we try and stay in the realm of reality but maybe just take it up a notch. If a Parkour guy could leap off a 15ft or 20ft building to a drop we might make it 30ft. If he tried it he’d bust his leg but not our guys. We do that by using wires and pads. We haven’t done any Parkour moves that aren’t realistic. It is maybe a little exaggerated but that’s all. You want people to believe in it and think ‘Could he possibly have done that?’ Well, yes he could, because he is Prince Dastan.
In each of the sets we incorporated places you can do Parkour, where it would look slick. It shouldn’t look planned. Dastan should see a spot where he can just run and go. The difficult part is to use the environment and make it look unplanned, for instance when he is scrambling up a wall. Jake started training a few months before shooting began and he has worked real hard on it.
Q: What is your favourite stunt from the movie?
George Aguilar: I like the one where Dastan is running down an alley. There’s a man on a horse about to spear him. He runs up one wall and then back down, up another wall and takes the man off the horse. They then proceed to have a nice friendly sword fight.
You have to incorporate everything in there. The fighting ability, the horse riding and the Parkour all comes in one scene. It’s not that long on screen but it took three to four days to film and lots of rehearsal time.
Q: Are there any times when you have to rein the cast in and stop them doing their own stunts?
George Aguilar: Every single day for every stunt. They all want to do them. And they are all very good. They’re very physical and we try and let them do it as much as we can. They do at least parts of them, except for the ones like jumping 70ft into a pillow.
Q: How does this compare to other stunt-intensive movies you’ve worked on?
George Aguilar: As far as other films I’ve done, the Parkour is unique. There are a lot of different elements too. There are the swords, the horse work, and also the timeframe of the setting. This story goes back so far in history and that has been interesting for me, learning about the Persian history.
Q: What parts of filming did you find a challenge?
George Aguilar: The sword fighting and trying to make it look gritty. Most sword fighting movies are a little proper and pretty. This is more physical and when someone gets hit, he really gets hit. And when someone gets stabbed, he is getting killed. You’re not stabbing someone six times and he still gets up and walks away. It’s not that kind of movie. When you swing a sword, you’re swinging to kill. It is all about intent and Jake is doing very well with that. We do use blood. We do practical and visual effects. But I don’t know how much you’ll see in the end, it depends what rating the film is given. I think there will be negotiations about that.