Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two good stories from Michael Ironside's AMA--these are about filming Highlander 2:
There's a scene in the movie where my character comes to earth, and literally lands by going through the city streets and through the roof of a subway car, and lands on the subway. My stunt double had never been anywhere in the world where cocaine was so cheap. 
And he got absolutely hammered out of his mind for a week, and ended up running through the streets naked in Buenos Aires, and was arrested the morning of that sequence. 
So I had to do the stunt, because we had nobody in that part of the world who looked anything like me. 
So I had to hang on the roof of the subway car, and land on the floor, without any pads, and it was about a 12 foot drop, straight down, and in costume as the character. In the actual movie, you'll see me slowly get up, and the character checks both his knees as he's standing, he checks his back, his arms, and then throws his head back with a joyous scream knowing that he hadn't broken anything. 
That was not acting. That was me. Because i realized I had done it, and I didn't have to do it again! 
From that moment, we just walked forward with the scene. It's one of my favorite sequences of that film, because it's where real life and acting come together in such a joyous moment, and it's captured.
I had been shooting on Highlander 2 for two months of the 6 month shoot in Buenos Aires when Sean Connery arrived. 
And I was actually on the city set we had built, down on the docks, helping the stunt crews rig all the stunt mechanisms because i was bored and had nothing else to do, in the middle of the night. And down the street came a small mob of press with sean Connery walking at the head of it. 
And they had just returned, the producers had just returned from Cannes, where they had pre-sold the film and it was going to be a financial success. And they had come back with Sean, who was going to be working on the film for 10 days. 
They walked up to me, and introduced me and said "Michael Ironside, Sean Connery. Sean Connery, Michael Ironside." And Sean stuck out his hand. I was wearing rubber boots, shorts, a singlet, and covered in mud and grease from the wires we were setting up for the flying sequences. And having never met a childhood idol, I turned into a blithering idiot. 
I said (and I quote) "My name is Michael Ironside, I am playing Katana in this movie" and then I looked at myself and said "But not in these clothes... I got a leather outfit, and a cape, and I got a REALLY BIG sword." 
Leaving Sean's hand sticking out, and not having taken it. 
Sean very gently tapped me on the shoulder and said "My good boy, of course you are. I have to go now." 
And he walked away with the 30 press people behind him. I have it on tape, because my stunt coordinator videotaped it. It's in my archives of moments of real humility.
It's absolutely true.
Do not read the story about Christian Bale.