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VIC ARMSTRONG (2nd UNIT DIRECTOR)

By: Anders Frejdh
Published:
2009-05-15
Stuntman, stunt coordinator and 2nd Unit Director who has worked on seven James Bond films

The first time I saw the world's most prolific stuntman, Vic Armstrong, was during an on-stage interview at National Film Theatre in London in May 2009. The session was entitled "Stunt Masterclass with Vic Armstrong" and part of the centenary celebrations of Cubby Broccoli's birth.

Vic has worked with some of the greatest directors of modern cinema, doubled for the leading stars in Hollywood, co-ordinated the best stunts in some of the biggest blockbusters of all time and has been awarded an Oscar for his services to film, as well as an honorary BAFTA for lifetime achievement.

There's so much talent and hard work behind the career of the great man that we prefer to use a reliable source, the biography from Vic's personal website:

"Vic Armstrong has worked in motion pictures for over thirty years, as a world-renowned Stuntman, Stunt Coordinator and Director. His resume reads like a "who's who" of film history, including some of the most popular films of all time.

Following his stunt debut as an accomplished horse rider, doubling Gregory Peck in Stanley Donen's "Arabesque," Vic went on to work as stunt performer in countless movies, commercials and television shows in and around Europe. His earliest work included stunts on the "Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Show," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," and some of the classic James Bond films, such as Live and Let Die (1973), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and You Only Live Twice (1967).

His reputation for precision and talent with the most complicated of stunts, earned him the opportunity to become a Stunt Coordinator, beginning with his work on the 1968 British film, "Figures In The Landscape," for Joe Losey, and continuing with epics such as "A Bridge Too Far," "Young Winston," and the first two "Superman" films, in which he also doubled Christopher Reeve.

His skill made him a popular double for several other leading men, including Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Dalton, George C. Scott, Malcolm McDowell, Roger Moore, Richard Chamberlain, George Lazenby, Ryan O'Neal, and Jon Voight.

His resemblance to and friendship with Harrison Ford, established on the film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," merited Vic the opportunity to double Ford and Stunt Coordinate throughout the "Indiana Jones" film series, making Vic (along with George Lucas) one of only two creative members to work on all three segments of the film's trilogy, plus all three seasons of the "Young Indiana Jones" TV series.

As a Second Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator, his creative vision has lent itself to films helmed by some of the world's most respected and prominent directors, such as Steven Spielberg, Paul Verhoeven, Peter Yates, Sir Richard Attenborough, Roland Joffe, Ridley Scott, Michael Cimino, Irving Kirshner, and Michael Caton-Jones.

It was, in fact, his association with George Lucas, that led him to his directorial debut, on the second season premiere of the "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles." Ironically, it was in that episode that Vic directed Christopher Lee, whom he doubled in the "Hammer" horror films.

In his first directorial feature, the 1994 film, "Joshua Tree," the casting of George Segal also proved to be an ironic throwback to Vic's stunt days, as he had doubled the veteran actor in the British release, "A Touch of Class." The international success of "Joshua Tree," proved that Vic's expertise and finesse in creating action sequences are not lost on a worldwide audience. The venture equally established him as a talented principal director, whose guidance illicited a more personal side of the film's lead actor, Dolph Lundgren.

Vic's extensive body of work includes films of all genres and size, including: "The Mission," "Empire of the Sun," "Black Beauty," "Johnny Mnemonic," ,:Terminator 2, " "An American Werewolf in London, " "Double Impact, " "Tai Pan", "Dune", " "The Phantom, " "Air America, " "Universal Soldier", "Return of the Jedi," "Blade Runner," "Henry V," and "Rob Roy."

His re-teaming with Paul Verhoeven on "Starship Troopers" proved a great success as has his most recent exploits on the box office superstars Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), "Entrapment" and The World Is Not Enough (1999).

Recent films Vic has worked on include "Charlie's Angels", "Captain Correli's Mandolin", "The Four Feathers" and "Mission Impossible 3" starring Tom Cruise."

Other James Bond stunt people featured on FSWL:
>Bill Weston
>Bob Anderson
>Doug Robinson
>Eunice Huthart
>George Leech
>Greg Powell
>Jim Dowdall
>Lars Lundgren
>Malcolm Weaver
>Martin Grace
>Mickey Baker
>Nick Gillard
>Nick Wilkinson
>Paul Weston
>Remy Julienne
>Rocky Taylor
>Roy Alon
>Sarah Donohue
>Terry Richards
>Trevor Steedman

Photos below::
(Top) Vic Armstrong interviewed on stage at National Film Theatre, London, May 2, 2009 © Anders Frejdh

(Bottom) "Premiere 2nd Unit": Editor Anders Frejdh with Vic Armstrong attending Bondstars Christmas Party at Pinewood Studios, November 27, 2011 © Ajay Chowdhury. All rights reserved.

This and photos published by Anders Frejdh in December 2011.

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#directors

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