Slovakia's famous stunt coordinator - Gustav Kyselica

Gustav Kyselica, photo:

Slovakia can't really claim a major a film industry - it's no Holly wood or Bollywood. But the country can boast one of the film industry's best best stuntmen and stunt coordinators. His name is Gustáv Kyselica - you may not recognise him but you will have seen him. Radio Slovakia International's Christopher George has been talking to him.

Welcome Gustava Kyselica, you are a coordinator of stuntmen - what does the job involve?

"All the dangerous scenes as in burning, falling, riding a horse, driving a car or motorbike, it must be done as safe as is possible. Of course it must be all prepared, the coordinator works with the director and producer, it is the beginning of it all, and he starts to work on the budget, which shouldn't exceed more than 5 %. The coordinator talks to the cameraman, scriptwriter, sometimes you have your own crew "second unit", which takes care of all the action and fighting scenes in the movie, which you are directing on your own.

What kind of men do you employ, because many of them have different fulltime jobs and they do stuntmen as a part-timer?

"That group has come from people who like fencing; we use replicas of ancient weaponry. Then we started to act for theaters, and then they started to call us to work on movies, and then more and more often after that we even stopped working for theaters. The work for movies pushed us to use special technical equipment that is necessary as well as special pullers or platforms to make actors fly or hang in the air and we had to buy it or build it ourselves. It depends on each character. The (animal) must like this work and do it with love and do it for reward".

You have just comeback from Ukraine, I know that you have cooperated there for the Taras Bulba movie and for sure there were a plenty of horse scenes, because it is a Kazak topic, did you take your horses with you?

"Well that appeared as a big problem, we didn't have our horses, we used local ones, which production bought without previous knowledge and forced the horse master to make movie horses from them on the spot. So that was quite difficult".

How would you compare western productions with Ukrainian ones?

"This production was not just Ukrainian, it was kind of an international project, there were people from Mos film (Moscow comp.), Len film (Leningrad comp.) and Kiev, so they were all fighting for their own prestige, of course it will take a little bit more time while they learn how to do it. Americans or English or Germans or French or Italians first count how much one filming day costs and how much each section costs them.

Which production that you worked for was the best?

The best one was the production of Pearl Harbor. In the four weeks that we spent there we didn't have one problem. In the morning you knew exactly what are you going to do that day. It is show business, they have big crews, it costs a lot of money but the people who surround you are all professionals.

Is fear part of the job of a stuntman?

In my position as coordinator, my main fear is for the people who actually do the stunts. Because I remember what it was like when I was doing it. But the person who is falling, burning etc, is so well protected that nothing should happen to him/her 99,9% of the time. Sure something unexpected can happen.

What would you point out as the biggest success of your crew?

You know it is very hard to say, because each film is so specific. For example in the movie Vlkodav it was very hard for stuntmen to act when using the blue screen, Russians call it chromaki. Imagine that everything is blue, you are standing 12 m high and when you look down there is just the same blue color. You can not read the distances so you can't see where you are supposed to fall.

Which movie stars did you meet?

From Sylvester Stallone to Orlando Bloom I have met everyone. I do not know who I didn't meet.