– STUNTPEOPLE –
Would you jump off the Great Wall of China for £300 a day?
A stuntperson is a man or woman who does all the dangerous acting work in films. This can be anything from a simple fall into a swimming pool, to jumping from the top of a very tall building. It sounds like a crazy job that you’d have to be mad to try, but there are actually lots of people who want to do it.
Sarah Franzi, twenty-four, is one of Britain’s sixteen professional stuntwomen. (There are a hundred and sixty stuntmen in the country.)
We asked Sarah how she came to be a stuntwoman. “From when I was young I’d trained to be a dancer, and for seven years after school I was rarely out of work. But a dancer’s professional life is pretty short, and my father suggested I should think about doing stunt work after I’d given up dancing. I thought about it for the next two years. Then I decided to take the risk and started the training course. For six months, I worked really hard every day, all day. I had to learn different skills – sub-aqua, sky-diving, horse-riding, etc.”
Sarah finished the course and applied to the Stunt Committee (the group which decides whether you’re accepted as a professional stuntperson or not). Two weeks after she was accepted, Sarah was throwing herself off the Great Wall of China in Superman IV.
“I was very lucky to get work so quickly. I had a small part, playing a tourist who fell off the Wall after an earthquake. The tourist was rescued from death by Superman, of course. Actually, I fell 25 metres onto cardboard boxes! You can’t use anything softer than those. like mattresses for instance, because you’d bounce back up into view of the camera. Instead, you just have to learn to fall properly. It’s quite dangerous but I enjoy taking risks which are part of the job.
HOW TO BECOME A STUNTPERSON
To be accepted as a stuntperson, you have to be between 18-30 years 30 old and a full member of Equity, The Actors’ Union. You also have to reach a very high standard in at least six of the skills listed below. They should fall within at least three of the groups, but not more than two of the skills should fall within any one group. The groups are:
Group A – Fighting
Group B – Falling Fencing, Boxing Diving Judo or Wrestling Parachuting
Group C – Riding and Driving
Group D – Agility and Strength Horse riding Gymnastics C^r driving
Group E-Water Motor-cycle riding Swimming Sub-aqua
A. What do the following refer to?
1. This’ (line 2):
2. “it” (line 12):
3. ‘those’ (line 24): 4. ‘which’ (line 27): 5. They” (line 31): ‘.
B. Does the text give information on the followina points? Mark the statements Yes (Y) or No (N).
1. What the writer thinks about stunt people.
2 The number of stunt people injured every year.
3. The type of clothes stunt people wear.
4. The skills required of a stuntperson.
5. How much a stuntperson earns in general.
6. The length of the training course for stuntpersons.
7. Examples of acting work a stuntperson is asked to do.
C. Mark the best choice.
1. According to the text, Sarah Frenzi .
a) is the most famous of the twenty-four stuntwomen in Britain
b) trained for seven years to be a stuntwoman
c) continued dancing for two years while she considered being a stuntperson
d) learned many things from her father, who was a stuntman himself
2. In her first job as a stuntwoman, Sarah .
a) had to work very hard for six months
b) had to throw herself twenty-five metres down
c) did not do anything dangerous as she had a small part
d) was not yet accepted as a professional stuntperson by the committee
3. For a professional stuntperson, .
a) it is necessary to be a member of the Stunt Committee
b) there are strict age limitations
c) it is necessary to have a high standard in all skill groups listed in the text
d) it is only required to be qualified in one skill group listed in the text