ONE ARM PREDATOR STORY ON LOCATION

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stuntsa

New Member
First off. I want to thank Chris Guess for informing me about this site. My name is David Smith, I have been a one arm stuntman for over 25 years. I received an acting scholarship at Paramount Studios in 1981 and was soon casted as one of the leads in a B rate 3-D movie called “Metal Storm the destruction of Jerrod syn, I played Capt Baal son of syn. It was a road warrior type movie, in fact the guy who played Jerrod Syn my father was one of the leads in Road warriors. Anyway to make a long story short, there were no one arm stuntmen at the time and they were saying how are we going to do the stunts for this guy and make it look good? I said I’ll do them, I’ll do the stunts. I was born missing my left arm just below the elbow/ I was always very athletic, played All-star second base and a very good receiver and quarterback.
After this movie word spread to other make up effects and stunt coordinators that there was this one arm guy who would do anything for a buck. That’s how I met Stan Winston who saw the value of an amputee for many effects where a limb maybe eliminated for an effect Stan was one of our biggest supporters, help us to get the word out to many Producers in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, who used us for “Artificial Intelligent. Stan was not only a friend, but in my eyes a great man who helped us to change the way Hollywood viewed amputees, as an asset not a liability. Predator 2 was a true gift for me and helped me put Stunts-Ability on the map and helped change the way people saw people who were missing limbs. Helped change the stigma that people who were missing limbs or in a wheel chair were weak helpless poor victims. I know you all can see that I’m not the best writer, so please bare with me!

Predator 2 was the wildest movie I had ever done, I was finally working with the big boys, Stunt coordinator Gary Davis, Tony Bruebaker and the 2 arm stuntman for the predator Brian Simpson. These men were some of the best in the business and great guys who truly supported me. Some of the stories I’m going to share are not in order as they were shot. Now you have to remember I didn’t start stunts-Ability until just after predator 2, so if I had 2 arms I wouldn’t be working on this film, but I do have one arm so I did. Close to the first week we had a meeting with Gary, Stan Winston to discuss these 2-3 story fall, I’m not real fond of heights, but for that kind of money hell yes. You get scale per day which is a very good salary always over time, but stunt players also got money per stunt ranging anywhere from $250.00 to $20,000, I mean after P-2 I was able to buy a house!
So I showed up on location that afternoon in the worst part of Down Town Los Angeles there is. Went over to Gary and they were rigging some stunt gag, it was a 12 story building, I said hi Gary what are you rigging, he said were rigging your fall, I said that’s not 2 stories! He said its 12 stories, he said 2 stories 12 stories if the cable snaps you’ll be dead anyway! So I thought what the hell did I get myself into. By the way a week earlier I spoke at a school where they were merging a disabled school with a able bodied school and they gave me a t-shirt and I told them I would where it during the fall, big shot right? Well now I couldn’t back out. The great Tony Brubaker who I first met when I coo-stared on an episode of A-Team came up to me pulled me aside and said hey Dave if you don’t feel comfortable doing this stunt just walk away and no one will think the less of you. I said thanks Tony, but if I back out now how am I going to explain this to 350 kids? I’d rather be a dead hero than a live chicken, he laughed and said I got you!
It took 2 days to set this stunt up, I spent a lot of time on roof looking down, boy that was way down and knew it was going to be one hell of a ride! Well the night of the stunt, we had a meeting, we were ready to go, at this time your training kicks in and they focused on what needs to happen to sell this shot. I remember waiting in my trailer, it must be what Astronauts experience, it’s a safe launch to me it was will the cable hold or snap! They were putting on my harness and rigging me to go, the make-up effect, Stan Winston’s boys were putting on my predator stunt suit and everybody was making sure everything was on and safety checked. The out fit, you stepped in and zipped up the back, the stunt head went on and it clamped on the back of head. There was a small hole cut in the chest area for cable to hook on to my harness. At this time I knew that this was the night! There was a knock on the trailer door, it was 2 paramedics, they said straight faced writing down some things, one asked what my blood type was, the other was who should they contact if the cable snaps! I was joking, but said get the hell out of here! I was to busy getting ready to deal with my impending doom. So we went to the top of the building, I was already wherein a like parachute harness underneath my predator stunt suit, it was very busy on the roof, about 11-12 at night. So I was ready as I could be, the Director Stephen Hopkins, I believe don’t remember his last name, but he told me I needed to stay as close to the building as I could so the claws, which were rigged with chemical that would throw off sparks as they slide against the building. The stunt crew got me rigged and adjusted me out over the building only being held by the cable. The problem was the harness was crushing my lower regions and was cutting off circulation to my legs. I knew from experience it’s always hurry up and wait. I didn’t fight it just let the cable do its job and relax, at this time I was ready! There was a delay! I had to hang out there for over 40 minutes, by this time I could not feel anything below my waist. This concerned me because I knew there were window sills underneath me and I needed to be able to move my legs, stay close to the building in order to sell the shot! Well when Tony Brubaker (Danny Glovers” stunt double was on the ledge, we were finally ready! All the shots you see with Danny were shot in the studio, a duplicate ledge was built, and all predators close up were shot later as well. So it was quite on the set! Tap is rolling, speed Action! The cable was released, man it was quick, I stayed as close as I could, get the claws to spark and sure enough my legs were dead! Boom I hit a ledge going down, I had a dear friend of mine and her husband at the street level, her husband told me later she screamed! So I was on the ground, couldn’t stand up, Gary Davis came running over saying David are you alright? They all thought I had at best broken my legs, I told him I was good just couldn’t feel my legs because of circulation. He patted me on the back said good job! I felt like God I’m really playing with the big boys, who would ever thought that skinny one arm boy would be working on the movie set, It changed my life forever. Gary said you just got yourself $10,000.00 , they are checking the shot now are you ready to go again if they need another take? I said yes, lets do it 5 more times, I’ll be able to get that Mercedes! Well unfortunately they got the shot, bummer, my adrenaline was ready to go again and again!
The feeling I had was unexplainable, this is just one of my stories about Predator 2.
I hope you all can read this and get an idea of what happened that night, I apologize for any grammar errors or spelling.

IF ANYBODY WOULD LIKE AUTOGRAPHED 8X10 PHOTO OF ME IN PREDATOR SUIT
SEND $25.00 TO
STUNTS-ABILITY
PO BOX 3237
SAN DIEGO, CA 92163
 

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jasp

New Member
may i be the first of many to welcome you to the lair,we have quite a few on here now from the P2 film,can't wait to hear more storys of what it was really like behind the scenes of P2 n meeting the man himself Stan the man!!!!,again big welcome..
 

predator666

New Member
Thank you for sharing your on set stories. I greatly appreciate it.
For those of us not in America who want the autographed picture, do u accept any other methods of payment?
 

panik33

New Member
Wow David its an honour to have you as a member here and I can't wait for some more great stories about P2

One question if that's ok
What happened to your stunt suit?

Thanks
Ron
 

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berserk wolf

New Member
Wow! We have another member/actor here! I would love an autographed pic! I'll send you a money order in a few weeks, bro! Glad to have you on here!
 

PredatrHuntr

Master Member
Great stuff - thanks for sharing!! I can't imagine the fear/excitement you felt by it obviously left an impression on you and us as well!
 

Ice1

New Member
Welcome to the lair David I too can wait to read more of your stories. Going to save some money to get one of them Pictures be awesome to have it in the collection. Again welcome to the lair...
 

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Dracon

New Member
Welcome to the lair. Great story, would like to hear more about your experiences on Predator2 and others.
 

The Amazing SM

Sr Member
David, wow thank you so much for sharing that amazing story of P2. Respect to you sir! and a BIG welcome to the lair
what an honour it must of been to meet Mr.Winston himself do you take paypal for the autograph? i live in the UK and would love to have one
 

Usurper

Well-Known Member
Ya see, hearing stuff like that is just awesome, you do not see or here this kind of stuff in behind the scenes or extras bits on dvds etc.

thanks for sharing, and please, carry on
 

Fohammer

New Member
thank you for sharing your story. I am glad you were able to get those experiences.

Ah, how I miss the good old days....
 

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Superman7

New Member
Hey Dave! Glad your finding your way around the site! Thanks for the great read! You are a legend Sir!
Look forward to more stories!
 

Kithunter

Well-Known Member
david let me echo what others have said...welcome home to the lair.
thanks for sharing the set story of that iconic scene in P2....we gobble that stuff like no ones business...

i've changed your title to honored member.... because lets be honest ...you are!!


i wonder what KPH would have thought of the forum...
 

Predian

New Member
Thanks for the very insightful read, I love hearing new/old Predator stories like this and the DVD documentaries can never cover everything. Interesting hearing about the chemical to create the sparks, I have the left animatronic leg from this scene used for puppeteered closeups. I have never seen a P2 stunt suit with a cable mount so that may be one that will resurface one day.
I see a lot of us replying to this are from the UK like myself and wondering about postage costs and payment option for overseas customers.
 

Nintendude

New Member
Wow this was a awesome story, I did'nt know of any people that worked in the Pred films until I read this and saw that you were a stuntman for the movie. Did you go to a special school to be a stuntman and how did you get the job working as a Stunt Predator did you basically go to a casting call to do it?
 

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