THE LONE RANGER
Stunts: Harper's World
The seven months of filming would see stunt supervisor Tommy Harper and his team accomplishing impossible
stunts, many of them inside and on top of trains for the spectacular action sequences that bookend the film.
"The trains are amazing in that they're real," says Harper. "We never did anything on those trains slower than
30 miles per hour, and usually somewhere around 40 miles per hour. We put special tracks on the top of the
train cars so that the stunt players could run along the top but always tethered to the train on a limit line, which you can't see, so that if something should
happen, they wouldn't fall off."
Harper and his team were constantly doing
safety checks and ensuring that, to the
best of their abilities, the action, though
inherently perilous, would be within certain
In addition to his great team of stunt players, Tommy Harper
was blessed with two stars and several supporting players who
absolutely loved doing as many of their own stunts as possible.
For Johnny Depp, that meant running on top of moving train cars
and plenty of work on horseback. "Johnny's fantastic," says Harper.
"What's so great about him is that you tell him something, and he
says, 'Okay, yeah, I get that.' And Johnny will go and do exactly
what you say."
With his youth, athleticism, and adventurous spirit, Armie Hammer
was pretty much up for anything as far as stunts and riding were
concerned, and Tommy Harper took full advantage of the actor's
enthusiasm. "I told him that if the whole acting thing didn't pan
out, he could come work for me anytime because he did a fantastic
job with all his stunts."
Another principal actor who got a major stunt workout was
William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish. "Bill really embraced
that character," notes Harper, "one of the best movie bad
guys I've ever seen. In one scene, he jumps from a moving
train onto his horse, and he really did that."
Strangely enough, Fichtner found that incredible stunt
considerably less intimidating than the road rig work. "All I
can tell you is that jumping out of a 20-mile-per-hour train
onto a full galloping horse and landing on an empty saddle
was not nearly as nerve-wracking as standing on top of a moving train when it's flying around the bend!"
And it wasn't just the boys in the cast who were
having all the fun. "Ruth Wilson is amazing,"
confirms Harper. "She's another one who
could be a stuntwoman. She's fearless and
very smart. She doesn't just throw herself out
there but asks all the right questions. I had
Ruth hanging off the side of the train upside
down with her head right next to the wheels.
She saw what the parameters were and felt
safe with us rigging her."
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