ARUN RATH, HOST:
"Furious 7" is the latest over-the-top, muscle-car-racing, explosion-filled movie in the very successful "Fast And Furious" franchise. You may have seen the trailer featuring their latest exploit - Vin Diesel and his crew dropping in their cars from a C-130, 10,000 feet in the air.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FURIOUS 7")
VIN DIESEL: (As Dominic Toretto) Hey, Roman, you freaking out?
LUDACRIS: (As Roman Pearce) Should somebody just walk me through what we're supposed to be doing?
DIESEL: (As Dominic Toretto) Here we go.
(SOUNDBITE OF CAR ENGINES)
RATH: Who do you call when you need to figure out the best way to toss cars out of an airplane? Try Jack Gill, a stunt coordinator and second unit director for "Furious 7" and a longtime stuntman himself. I asked Jack since movies today are lousy with CGI, did he actually drop cars out of a plane? Did that really happen?
JACK GILL: It did, and we talked about it for a long time before we actually went out there and decided to pull the trigger on it because trying to get this many cars out of the plane together - and they all had to fall in succession, right one after the other. If one falls a little faster than the other, you've got problems. So, you know, there was a rehearsal period of about two weeks where all we did was just drop cars out of C-130s with parachutes so we could figure out how we're going to do this.
RATH: When you're going to work and your job that day is just going to be dropping a bunch of cars out of C-130s, do you stop and think, man, my life is awesome?
GILL: The hard part is when you're first putting it together, you're thinking of all the things that can go wrong.
GILL: And that's the issue that you're always dealing with. When it's over, yeah, it's a great feeling. Everybody's high-fiving, everybody's really happy, and you have a great dinner. One of the things that happened on one of the C-130 drops was we had a fuel leak in the right wing. And all of a sudden, we hear from the pilot saying, hey, I'm showing fuel dropping out of this thing. Do you guys see anything?
And we looked over, and it was running down the side of the aircraft. And launch the cars, launch the cars, launch the cars. Get them all out. Get all the operators out. And it was kind of scary there for a while. And we landed, and we fixed the fuel problem, but things like that can go wrong. You just got to know what to do.
RATH: Have there been any situations on a film or a commercial or whatever where you've had to say no, that is to dangerous. That's too risky. We cannot do that.
GILL: Well, I mean, yes. Sure, that happens, but usually, in the same vein, after you've said that, you'll say, move the camera over 20 feet, and I can get you the same angle that you like, but without really hitting this guy. But you never do come up and say, no, we can't do it, and that's just the end of it because that's not the way the "Fast And Furious" franchise works.
(SOUNDBITE OF HORN MUSIC AND CARS CRASHING)
RATH: I realized I've been seeing cars that you've wrecked since the '70s. You used to work on shows like "The Dukes Of Hazzard." And you must have destroyed your fair share of cars with you inside them. Can you run through the injuries that you've had over the years?
GILL: So I've broken my back twice, my neck once. I've got a six-inch titanium plate in my neck with six screws on it. And I've broken 23 bones, punctured my lungs, broken my shoulders, cut a finger off, had to have it sewn back on. But I've got to say, I feel fine. I don't walk funny. I mean, when it rains, yeah, I hurt a little bit more than most people.
But if you talk to a stunt person who says they've never been injured, then they're not really a stunt person because you are putting your life on the line in a lot of situations. And some of them - the ones that usually bites you are the ones that you don't think are dangerous because you think, I've done this a thousand times and treated it as if it's a nothing thing.
RATH: So in these movies now, you've had cars pull an entire bank vault through the streets of Spain, a tank bulldozing though cars on a freeway. Now you've got cars dropping from 10,000 feet. So "Furious 8" - is it going to be cars in space? How are you going to top this? [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: We incorrectly referenced a scene in Fast Five in which a bank vault was pulled through the streets. That scene actually was set in Brazil, not Spain.]
GILL: I don't think we'll ever run out of ideas because we've got some pretty wild ones. But I'm not really going to tell the audience what we have until they see it on screen.
RATH: Jack Gill is a stunt coordinator and second unit director for the new movie "Furious 7." Jack, great speaking with you. Thank you.
GILL: Fun talking to you, too.
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