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THE MECHANIC

The Mechanics of a Stunt
As with any film that has a lot of action, there are considerable stunts in The Mechanic. But unlike many action films, The Mechanic's stars made it a point to do most of their own stunts. Stunt Coordinator Noon Orsatti (whose father and uncle worked in stunts on the original Mechanic) was impressed by Jason Statham and Ben Foster's commitment.

"Jason brings a lot to the table,” says Orsatti. "It helps that he's a world class athlete (among his athletic accomplishments, Statham spent years on the British high diving team – his diving skills came in handy in the film's opening pool scene where Bishop carries out an aquatic hit and again, a few moments later, when Bishop jumps off a massive bridge into a body of water).”

As well as doing the actual stunts, Jason took part in various stages of the stunts' development. "His input was invaluable,” continues Orsatti. "He was a part of the process every step of the way. He loves to get in there and get his hands dirty.”

The process of putting a stunt together is quite extensive. For The Mechanic's stunt team it included walking the location, typing out an entire ‘story line' for the stunt sequence, shooting renditions of the stunt on a high def camera and continually revising the stunt per Jason and the filmmakers' input every step of the way. By the time each stunt sequence was shot, the stunt crew and filmmakers knew exactly what they are getting into.

But as prepared as the stunt team was going into the actual shoot days, they were always flexible for creating and re-­creating elements on set.

Action Designer and 2nd Unit Director David Leitch recalls a change that was made on the day of shooting a ‘battle scene' between Dean Anderson and Bishop and Steve on the streets of New Orleans. "We had developed a bunjee rig for one of the stunts using a tire and chain to make it look like Bishop was protecting himself from being harmed in a particular maneuver but Jason said ‘No, I want it more raw. Bishop wouldn't have had those things.' So we swapped the rig out. It actually created a much more violent, more action-­y, cool look.”

For Ben Foster, diving into the stunts was something he was both excited about and frightened of at the same time. "Doing a film like The Mechanic is really a boy's dream. We've all played with sticks as guns in backyards as kids. This film gave me permission to do those kinds of things as a grownup – it's boys with guns doings bad things to bad people.”

One stunt in particular turned out to be of particular challenge for Foster – propelling down 30 stories of a high-­rise, 350 feet in the air. "Hanging from a single wire and dropping isn't that difficult,” Foster explains. "It's the four minute climb up that makes you question why you didn't let the stunt man do it. It was almost a relief to fall. After the second take, I didn't want to stop. "

It helped that Statham was there to give Foster advice. "He told me to find a point on the horizon line and focus on it,” recalls Foster. "Unfortunately, the wire started to spin so I couldn't find the point. Just saying ‘f*ck it' gives you a lot of freedom.” The action scenes ended up being Foster's favorite part of filming.

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