While there are more than a fair share of incredible climbing films that have been made and continue to be made, there are quite a few films on the big screen that may show a bit of rock climbing here and there with death defying stunts, lives on the line from faulty gear or a nemesis blatantly trying to cause a fall, or a character just enjoying some great outdoor time. Some actors may attempt to do their own stunts and actually learn how to rock climb while others may need to leave it to the pros to make it look a bit more legit. Here are a few movies, some quite popular, that some of your favorite climbers have either contributed their expertise in or have been a stunt-double for.
Cliffhanger – Official® Trailer [HD]
Cliffhanger – Barry Blanchard. Barry Blanchard, mountain guide and one of North America’s top alpinists, not only stood in as a climber on the film, Cliffhanger, but he was also in charge of all aspects of mountain safety and rigging on location in the Italian Dolomites during filming. Cliffhanger is loosely-based on an actual incident where a Lockhead Loadstar plane filled with marijuana crashed in Lower Merced Pass Lake in Yosemite National Park during the winter. Several climbers from Camp Four got wind of the crash, headed toward the site and ended up salvaging some of the marijuana (although laced with fuel), and pretty much had the time of their lives for a while. You can catch the actual story of this ‘Yosemite Gold Rush’ on Valley Uprising: Yosemite’s Rock Climbing Revolution.
Mission Impossible 2 Rock Climb
Mission Impossible II – Ron Kauk. At the beginning of Mission Impossible II, there’s a famous rock climbing sequence that was filmed at Dead Horse Point in Utah. While Tom Cruise actually did some of the stunts in this climbing sequence, legendary Yosemite climber Ron Kauk was the climbing double.
The Bourne Legacy Official Trailer #2
Bourne Legacy – Will Gadd. In one scene of The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, he is seen climbing a back cliff on a ridge in some snow and icy conditions. So who else to call in to be Renner’s double but the one and only Will Gadd? Gadd had a nice painted on beard, his hair cut and was given a bit of tan to do this role. He definitely earned some bragging rights for his stunts. See Red Bull’s Bourne action hero interview with Will Gadd and his experience on The Bourne Legacy.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2/10) Movie CLIP – Bella’s First Hunt
Breaking Dawn, Part 2 – Sonnie Trotter. We were all quite familiar with the craze of the Twilight movies based on the books by Stephenie Meyer. Most likely there weren’t a whole lot in the climbing community that were dying to see it, but did you know Sonnie Trotter had a small part in the last installment, Breaking Dawn, Part 2? Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has just woken up as a newborn vampire when husband, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) takes her out on her first hunt. While they hunt for animal blood, Bella gets a whiff of human blood (pan into Sonnie Trotter’s strong and prominent jugular vein while free soloing a cliff) and speeds off to eagerly get her fill of human blood, scaling the same cliff that Trotter is on with dogged determination while ripping out clusters of stone in the process.
Point Break – Official Trailer [HD]
Point Break – Chris Sharma. If you haven’t seen the trailer for the upcoming remake of Point Break, it’s pretty worth it just for all the extreme sports that are portrayed in the film. While remakes of films are frowned upon, there’s been some hype and excitement at the added extremeness of Point Break’s remake, and the fact that Chris Sharma is a stunt-double for the climbing scenes for one of the main actors. Many wondered why Sharma dyed his locks blonde and eased his way into looking like a surfer dude. In the original Point Break, the criminals were just surfers. In the remake, in addition to surfers, they’re portrayed as extreme sports athletes. Point Break not only involved the legend that is Chris Sharma (stunt-double for Luke Bracey, Johnny Utah), but it also involved climber Dani Andrada of Spain; the other principal climber (stunt-double for Edgar Ramirez, Bodhi); Mike Call, climber-filmmaker as second-unit cameraman; and Peter Croft was hired as a backup climber and a stunt rigger. See Rock and Ice article, TNB: Point Break – Sharma, Andrada on the Big Screen.