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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 boundaries.

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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