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PAUL BLART: MALL COP

Capturing The Stunts
"To capture the essence of what these guys do on their skateboards, BMX bikes and free running, we had to martial many cameras,” says Alsobrook. "On every stunt, we shot anywhere from 24 frames per second (fps) to 96fps and even 120fps – the more frames per second, the slower it seems when you play it back at normal speed. So we got the ultra slo-mo footage of these guys jumping from balcony to balcony, riding their bikes full tilt, and careening up walls and over barriers on their skateboards. They are really incredible.”

Of the many stunts in the film, the biggest sequence involving the most complicated action involves a personal transporter (PT) against skateboard chase as Rudolph (aka Mike V) blazes after Blart.

"It's PT versus skateboard. Only one will survive!” James bellows.

In the scene, Rudolph spots Blart and fires off a couple rounds from his handgun, and the chase ensues. As they split kiosks, wreaking havoc as they go, Blart attempts to make an escape by heading for a glass elevator. While he is frantically hitting the up button, he looks out the window and sees Rudolph launch off an iceberg ramp from a North Pole display – and head straight for the rising lift. He's in the air for just a few seconds before crashing into and through the glass on the moving elevator. 

It was a complicated move to coordinate, made more complicated by Mike V's approach toward his profession. "I don't like to rehearse,” says the skateboarder. "I really live in the moment and seize it when it comes.” He nailed it on the first take.

But that's not the end of the Blart vs. Rudolph grudge match. They find themselves on the roof of the mall. Rudolph jumps a 15-foot gap, sure that Blart won't follow... only to turn and see Blart coming right for him. The two men fall through a glass skylight… and fall… and fall… and fall… 45 feet into a ball pit. (How many balls does it take to break a 45-foot fall? 64,000, to be exact.)

The filmmakers faced one challenge they hadn't counted on, though. Kevin James – the very guy who wrote the scene and intended to perform most of his own stunts – was saying that this was one stunt he would not do, because he's terrified of heights.

"The first conversation I ever had with Kevin was about the fall,” Mike V says. "He told me he wouldn't do it and when I asked him why, he said, ‘I'm afraid of heights.' Well, I'm afraid of heights too, but it's a challenge.”

"I didn't know Mike V was scared of heights till we were about to rehearse the stunt,” O'Hara continues. "He says, ‘Is it a bad time to tell you I'm afraid of heights?' And I said, ‘Yea, kinda.' But he did it – I had one of my stunt guys go up with him and talk him through it. We dropped him the whole way.”

"Kevin says to me, ‘Let's define fear here,'” Mike V adds, "‘because your fear is not the same as my fear.' I told him it would make the movie that much better if it was him and not a stunt double. I don't know how I convinced him, but he agreed.”

"When it actually came time to shoot the stunt,” O'Hara says, "We had to kind of ease Kevin into it. We suited him in the harness, and we raised him up to about 10 feet.”

"‘That's high enough,' Kevin said,” Mike V laughs. "I was like, ‘No dude, you can go higher.' I just grabbed him and said, ‘Come on, man, you can do this,' and he said, ‘All right. Let's do it.'”

"We got Kevin up to about 20 feet,” O'Hara says. "And the whole time Mike V is up there doing the same thing my stunt guy did with him – talked him through it. It was so funny to have two guys that are afraid of heights falling 20 feet down into a ball pit, and it came out great!”

"We did it twice,” Mike V. says. "I couldn't believe Kevin did it again, but he did – it went really well, and he said, "‘You got me through it, Vallely.'

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