Hollywood`s Secrets through the Life of Stunt Profession
Now we decided to lift a bit up curtain which hide the secret life of a stunt profession. Hard and complicated sometimes it`s even lined on the border with life risking. We asked about his filming experience and stunt action reality to Mark Kubr, one of the most well known in Hollywood stunt professional. Meet Mark and his bright life.
SSTR: We’ll start with something that might be slightly provocative – is there any use for stunt performers in films these days since CGI is so advanced?
Mark: Yes, absolutely! Even within CGI there is motion capture where stunt performers are hired.
SSTR: How many years have you been working in stunts and how did you get involved in the business?
Mark: I started working in film over 30 years ago. I started out in the business originally as a model and an actor. Early on during a job, they were looking for a stunt double for me and I asked if I could do the action. That stunt coordinator introduced me to the world of stunt work.
SSTR: You used to do more stunt work yourself and have now become a stunt coordinator. What is the difference between the two jobs and which one is more complicated?
Mark: As a stunt coordinator, the work is extremely more complicated. First of all, you put in years as a stunt performer to learn what is required to perform certain stunts, the safety required, the camera work, dealing with cars, explosives, weapons, interacting with other stunt performers and directors… all the years of on-the-job training prepare a stunt performer for the position of stunt coordinator. As stunt coordinator, you learn who the best stunt performers are to accomplish a particular stunt and hire them.
Mark: A stunt coordinator keeps the action that is written in the script, has an open dialogue with all the departments from the director to the wardrobe, and hires the right stunt performers for the job. You also are involved in choreographing the action sequences for the director, actors and stunt players to approve, learn and execute.
SSTR: What are the main challenges of being a stunt coordinator and stunt performer?
Mark: In stunt performing the challenges are to keep in shape, keep training and learning new skills and, if you don’t have a person you usually double, take acting classes to be useful as a stunt-actor. The challenge in stunt coordinating is keeping everyone safe. As coordinator, you have the ability to halt filming if you feel any person in any department is in danger.
SSTR: What do you love the most about your job?
Mark: I love being on a live set! I love the process of filmmaking – how all the many departments come together and create a single thing.
SSTR: Have you only filmed in the USA or have you filmed in other countries too? If so, are there any differences in working in another country?
Mark: Yes, I have filmed in other countries before. Recently I filmed in Canada and Mexico. Years ago I worked in Germany and Greece. The difference is going into unfamiliar territory with other languages and cultures. You represent the stunt community so do your best to be respectful, because you are representing your country as well. As far as filmmaking being different in other countries, I don’t think there is a difference; the process is the same, the set etiquette is the same, the universal language of the filmmaking process is the same.
SSTR: What is the most important thing you look for when choosing what project to work on? Would you agree to filming a project from a little-known director from a country like Ukraine or Australia?
Mark: Yes, I absolutely would work on a project from a little known director from a country like Ukraine or Australia. I have done many projects with first time directors and staying current is vital to me. In fact, in choosing to work on a film, many times it is the enthusiasm of a director in regard to the script that attracts me to choose the job.
SSTR: You have been a stunt double for Mickey Rourke more than once. How did you end up working with him so many times?
Mark: First of all, Mickey and I look alike. We became friends immediately when we met on Iron Man 2. We stayed in touch and he asked me to do more TV commercials and films with him.
SSTR: What is the best thing about filming with Mickey Rourke?
Mark: Mickey is an extremely seasoned actor who knows his craft. He’s the best. After working together many times, I came to be able to project what he may want, so his trust in me is the best thing about working with him.
Mark: The adrenaline rush when you know there is a fight that is going to take place, an explosion you have to run from, or weapons being fired. I usually get picked in the bad guy roles to get beat up by a lead actor, like when someone tells me “hey, Robert Downey Jr. is going to beat you up!” or Russell Crowe; that is a rush because you are working so closely with a lead actor and you don’t want to accidentally hit them.
SSTR: On IMDb, your biography mentions that you have a unique world-view. How has your world-view affected the way you live?
Mark: Being raised by Czech parents who survived oppression and prejudice, I think I am little more open to other peoples’ different trains of thought. I don’t think I’m an extremist. I value manners and having respect for others greatly.
SSTR: You have been a part of a lot of projects, including many with huge stars. What is the best experience that you’ve had in your career? It could be working on a film that impressed you, a certain stunt you got to do, or working with an amazing person?
Mark: It’s about people. I have had the honor of woking with wonderful people over the years. What sticks out in my mind now is working with Damien Chazelle in the soon to be released La La Land. Damien was kind to everyone and genuinely listened to the ideas of those around him who wanted to make his vision a reality.
SSTR: Who would you like to work with on a film? Why?
Mark: I would like to reunite with Henry Cavill and Luke Evans, who I met while working on Immortals. They are two of the hardest working and best dressed gentlemen on the planet!
SSTR: What movie genres do you like watching? Why do you prefer those genres?
Mark: I enjoy all types of film genres. I get lost in Lord of the Rings, which I have watched a million times, just as I get lost in watching Saving Mr. Banks. My taste is all over the map!