Taking a Dive

April 14, 2012

I try, but fail miserably, to take my mind off the forthcoming high dive by watching the guys prepare the “bounce” area. They fill the washroom with assembled cardboard boxes and chunks of foam rubber from old mattresses, covering the pile with a canvas sheet. It should be quite easy, I tell myself, just like falling off a log—or a ladder. The stunt man checks it all out and gives a nod of approval. I see he’s coming over to me and I notice that he is still in uniform. My pessimistic nature reads all sorts of dire happenings into this and I’m not sure if I understand all the advice he gives me.

The camera crew set up at the open end of the house and as they are doing so I hope only one take is needed and that I’ll be conscious to receive any congratulations for a job successfully completed injury free.

The first warning shout for silence rings out and the assistant beckons me over to the ladder. I think how incongruous it is, that in the interests of safety, a man is holding the lower rungs of the ladder I’m about to climb, even though I’m going to come off much higher up— deliberately. With confidence I certainly don’t feel, I climb fairly quickly and get into position over the skylight. Beneath me, the little guy is waiting with his shotgun and I hope that he is a method actor. The way he is grimacing, it is as though he really does hate me.

The second call for silence goes out. For the first time I wonder why, as I know they don’t record sound during outdoor filming but add it later in the studio. I get into position to flop off the ladder, I hear “Action” — and launch.

I have no idea what the skylight is made of but it shatters and I’m through, almost immediately coming into contact with my first floor, rather forcibly as you can imagine. Fortunately, it gives and I hurtle through to the next one, which does hold, for a split second, before collapsing to allow me to drop onto the boxes. They work very well, but having been told in my briefing not to move before I hear “Cut”, I lie very still.

This causes an upset among some of the crew standing nearby and they panic, obviously thinking I’ve killed myself. They help me to my feet and then there are congratulations all round. Two of the crew remove the canvas, boxes and the rubber quickly to clear the concrete floor. A rather attractive young female member of the crew places an open plastic bottle, neck up, down my front, under my jacket. It is filled with a viscous red juice. I also take a huge mouthful of what is presumably the same “blood”. Following instructions, I lie on the floor with my head up and back arched. On the command “Action” I fall forward, spew out the liquid from my mouth, slam my chest onto the ground, depressing the bottle, which forcibly gouts the gore upwards and outwards to soak my neck and face and pool on the surrounding area of floor.

(When the film is eventually shown, I’m secretly delighted that I make such an impression with my acting when the audience cheers at this juncture. Later, a Chinese friend tells me, tactfully, that it is not my performance but because the police are definitely not the people’s favourite in Hong Kong. If it’s a ‘Gwai Lo’ policeman getting his comeuppance that is an additional bonus.)

However, I digress and have yet to describe the final scene.

(To be continued)

One Response to “Taking a Dive”

  1. …now you’re just teasing us!

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