One of the most respected Stunt Coordinators in today’s Hollywood is Thomas Harper, whose filmography includes titles like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, THE LONE RANGER, THOR and IRONMAN.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Harlper about his experience in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES, collaborating with directors Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg, Johnny Depp, and more.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is now available on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.


What was the most challenging aspect of this particular shooting?

There were so many things: horses, water… We tackled every scene the best we could to create something that is better than anything that came before. For example, that scene with the horses pulling the bank across a town. That’s challenging because great things have been done in this franchise. I have the best team in the industry and we all collaborate together. I shoot a stunt pre-visualization and then I show it to the directors to see if they approve it.

Can you talk about the level of camaraderie among stunt performers, specially when something goes wrong?

We are like a big family. What we do looks easy and very cool, but it’s very hard and dangerous. I’ve lost five friends in this business, and it’s very hard. We try to make sure that those things never happen again. It’s safer now than in the past, specially because of computer generated graphics and stuff like that.


How was it working with these two young directors, in their first Hollywood blockbuster?

Yes, they had done KON-TIKI and that is a fantastic film. They relied on my experience when it came to the stunts. They would ask “What do you think, Tommy?” They are smart, nice, and great at what they do. It was a great collaboration.

Movie stars usually want to be part of the action, and the fights, but their safety must be protected at the same time. How hard is to achieve the perfect balance?

Well, Johnny Depp and I have a long working relationship, and he relies on me to keep him safe. His stuntman is wonderful. He is so experienced now that he would say to me “I don’t think that I will do that” and I reply “I wasn’t going to ask you to do it.” I talk to him and after we agree on something I put him to the training and rehearsal necessary. We are good friends. He is a great guy.

-All images courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

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