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Exclusive Interview: Tommy Harper on the Stunts in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is now on Blu-ray and we have an interview with the Stunt Coordinator, Tommy Harper!

Dead Men Tell No Tales

The transcribed interview can be read below and it’s followed by audio of the interview.


Luis Lecca (Nuke the Fridge): How has stunt work changed over the years?

Tommy Harper: I’ve done a lot over the years, and it’s changed quite a bit. With the fact that I have two sons that are both stuntmen, and if it was back then I wouldn’t (To be honest with you) let them do it. I would forbid them to do it, because there were literally days when I was like, man, I hope to live through today. A lot of those days. What we used to call 50-50 days. You’ve got about a 50-50 chance of surviving.

Nuke the Fridge: Wow!

Tommy Harper: Nowadays, it’s a lot easier because we get to a point where you go, okay, you know what it is – We get to this point, and then it’s a handoff to CG because it’s just too dangerous. Where, when I came up, it was like, “okay, good luck, hopefully, you live through this.”

Nuke the Fridge: What was your “wow, I made to the big time moment?”

Tommy Harper: I worked in a lot of big films. But as a coordinator, when Jon Favreau gave me the call for Iron Man One, and we did Iron Man One. It was amazing. But, you know, when we did Lone Ranger, with Johnny Depp. Johnny’s an amazing guy. I’ve known him quite a long time, and when we were on Lone Ranger, it was just like, you know, every day I would have goosebumps. Oh man, this is epic. I’ve got 20 guys right next to this train- Excuse me. And, you know, I mean it was just like, you know, I’ve been doing this a long time, so the visuals were just amazing what we did. But also on Pirates, you know, it’s like, man, Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a huge franchise. Working with Gore Verbinski on Lone Ranger, who started, you know, the whole franchise, and to be able to go and work on it was amazing, you know, and you look over and see Jerry Bruckheimer on the set, and you’re like, wow, yeah, I’ve made it. I mean, Jerry Bruckheimer is the number one producer really in the world, you know. This guy is amazing. He’s trusting me to do this, I mean, there’s a lot of moments involved in your career where you feel that.

Luis Lecca: In Pirates, you work with Johnny Depp. You guys already have a relation. How does that help, and how did it help in the new Pirates film?

Tommy Harper: Well, it was amazing because, you know, Johnny and I are friends. We actually knew each other back from 21 Jump Street years ago. He looks at me as like, I feel safe with you.

The best part about Johnny is that he tells me, “So yeah, I’ll do that. No, I’m not going to do that. Okay, yeah, don’t plan on me doing that.” 

Listen to the interview below.