Please don't try this at home. Instead of relying on CGI for a 125ft leap of faith, Assassin's Creed movie director Justin Kurzel wanted to try for realism. While that sounds like a great idea on paper, it also means that British stunt man Damien Walters had to put his hood up and leap off a platform suspended in the air by two cranes. Here, he talks Total Film magazine through the process.
It's all about realism
“There’s not that many people who do high falling these days because everything’s done on wires. I do quite a lot of wire falls. Or they’ll CG the guy. So to actually get the chance to do it for real was really cool. We rehearsed at the location the day before, and got up to 100ft in rehearsal. And then the next day, we got even higher.”
He worked his way up to 125ft
“We started at 70ft, went to 80, 90, 100, 110 and then 125. When I did the 110ft, Justin was like, ‘You don’t need to go to 125ft if you don’t want to.’ I went, ‘No, it’s fine. I’m happy.’ He was like, ‘Well, if you’re happy, let’s do it.’ I even wanted to go a bit higher when we did that. I think the next one would be very cool if we did a higher jump, but off the real churches.”
It's all about control
“The character in the game doesn’t change shape, he holds that shape for as long as possible. The problem with that is there’s no adjusting in the air, so you’ve got to guess as soon as you take off how much rotation to put in, and the higher you go, the more of a guess it is. As soon as you hit the bag, it’s a lot of speed to stop within two metres. You’ve got to spread your weight as much as possible. If you land on your feet you’re just going to crumple into a big heap.”
Prepare for your landing
“The biggest danger is landing wrong on the bag. It’s not about missing the bag. It’s 10 x 10m, so you shouldn’t miss it if you’ve got any ability about you. It’s the fact that you have to land flat on your back. On the 90ft jump I landed a little top-heavy. I’ve got a little bump on the back of my head. It’s quite tight, the bag, so if you land slightly wrong you get a big whack. Even when you land properly, you get a fair whack in the back.”
Check the weather first
“The wind’s a big issue. The bag is three–and-a-half metres high, so the wind can pick one side up and put the other side down. We had to park a truck in front to try and stop the wind from hitting the side of the bag. That’s something you don’t really want to think about when you’re up there. It’s like, ‘I hope that bag’s going to be there when I land.’”
You can read more about the Assassin's Creed movie, plus interviews with director Justin Kurzel and stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons in an exclusive Assassin’s Creed feature in the new Total Film magazine. Pick it up now or subscribe so you never miss an issue.