China Diary

Day 83: Breaking things

That car had it coming.

I mean, it was a piece of shit. It claimed to be a BMW, but the only piece of German Engineering in that pile of crap was the BMW logo stuck to its’ hood with a gaffer tape. We don’t know the actual model, but it doesn’t matter – it’s screen-proof and passes well for whatever it claims to be – and that’s all that matters for us right now, because we are about to beat the shit out of it. With a container. Dropped on it from six meters high.

The victim.

Man, I love breaking stuff.

The last day at the container yard we worked only with stunts: stunts jumping, rolling, running and jumping even more. We had a pile of rather complicated action sequences we needed to do, and setting each one of them takes always time, mostly to make sure it’s safe. In China, the stunts are very experienced and quick – probably because of the country’s wealth of kung fu action films – so setting up takes half the time from what I’m used when shooting in Europe, but even still, there’s only very few shots you can do during a day.

The car crash was the main stunt, and we prepped that for quite a while. The bit itself is simple: a car screeches to a halt, two guys step out and make it just barely from being crushed under a two-ton container. But to get the car in exactly correct position, guys out the right way, to a safe distance from the drop and then timing the drop cinematically is the trick. Oh, and we only had one of the “BMW”s, so it’s a one-shot-wonder – double or quit.

The guillotine. 

Thus, we prepped the shot for almost an hour, measured everything, drained the car from gasoline to prevent any explosive surprises, dry-rehearsed at least ten times the moves and then – well, the whole show was over in a matter of seconds. The crate falls and the car is crushed.

And it’s a beautiful, masterful shot. Everything goes beyond our expectations. The whole crew cheers. Only one not so happy anymore is the not-pinin’, passed-on, bereft-of-life, daisie-pushing, mechanically challenged, bucket-kicking ex-Beamer, which now had joined the choir invisible.

The executioner.

Oh, what a piece of shit of a car it was. Even the airbags didn’t deploy at the crush, because – well, there were none! I believe we did a favour to someone by getting rid of such a terrible death trap; practically, we may have saved someone’s life today!

Anyway, one thing a film crew can’t fight against is the sun. When its’ down, everything is pitch black and there’s nothing to be done, so we headed home with Annika, enjoyed dinner at the lounge and the called it a night.

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