Hollywood stuntman James Embree shares set secrets from films including A Good Day To Die Hard, Kick-Ass, Prometheus and The Dark Knight
Not many people can count Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Kevin Bacon as workmates, but a Southfields stuntman has worked with all three.
James Embree, 34, has body doubled for the likes of Willis, Colin Farrell and Jason Statham, and worked on film sets for the new Die Hard, A Good Day To Die Hard, and Superman films, as well as Kick-Ass, Prometheus and The Dark Knight.
Mr Embree, who now lives in Colliers Wood, was inspired to get into the profession after watching classic 1980s action flicks as a child.
He said: “I remember watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and just wanted to ride around on horses, shooting guns and fighting on ships and trucks.
“Also, being a kid of the 1980s, I was watching all the TV action shows, like Fall Guy, Airwolf, Knight Rider and The A-Team.”
Having worked his way up the industry, he has since managed to work with some of the most prestigious directors and actors in the business.
The former Elliott School student, who grew up in Southfields, said: “I had the immense privilege of working with Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese about two years ago. I don’t imagine many people will ever get the chance to work with those guys so for me to have that opportunity was pretty special.”
Working with mega-stars also has its hilarious moments, such as one afternoon on the set of The Expendables 2.
The father-of-one said: “Schwarzenegger came over and said he was just going to sit on the bench behind us and that, if anyone asked for him, to give him a nudge.
“I looked over five minutes later and, to be fair he was about 65, but he was nodding off like someone trying to stay awake on the Tube.
“He had a cigar in his mouth and was holding a huge machine gun in his lap, but he just couldn’t keep his eyes open.
“I wish I’d had a camera because watching the Terminator fall asleep holding a gun and smoking a cigar was absolutely priceless.”
While he is loving his work at the moment, Mr Embree knows he cannot be a stuntman for the rest of his career.
He said: “Eventually, I would like to be a stunt co-ordinator – it’s a natural progression within our industry.”