Rachel Hurst speaks with stuntman Justin Pearson ahead of Lancs date
The stars of Game of Thrones, Pirates of The Caribbean, Skyfall and the Harry Potter franchise have fast become household names.
But this is the man who puts his life on the line just to make them look good.
Professional stuntman, Justin Pearson, has spent the past 14 years working on these blockbuster and some of Hollywood’s biggest movies including Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, The Dark Knight, Kick Ass, Wrath of the Titans and current Box Office hit, Maleficent.
And this weekend he is bringing his jousting display team to Lancashire.
The 40-year-old, was born into a family horse business in Shropshire, and joined the world of falls, flips and fist-fighting when he was just 18 years old.
He said: “My first professional job was with a jousting team on a world tour in 1990 which took me to Russia, Asia, Europe and Scandanavia.
“Then I went from there to work in television and films.”
Justin’s , high-speed, award-winning, action show, Knights of The Damned, is this year’s main attraction at the annual Scorton Steam event this weekend.
He and his group of fellow hardmen will be performing twice a day over Saturday and Sunday.
He says: “It’s a full time business and we do about 60 shows a year around the UK and Europe.
“We’ve taken the old sport of Medieval jousting knights on horses and put on a show set to rock music with lots of colour and stunts.
He adds: “We’re really pleased to be coming to Scorton.
“We’re not up in the North too often so it gives people in the North West the chance to see Knights of the Damned and we have a pretty big following so we’re looking forward to it.”
There is no doubt Justin is comfortable on a horse and represented England in the Mounted Games eight times, becoming British MGA Champion in 1995.
But both the scariest stunt, and the most enjoyable, has involved Justin riding on a mighty steed.
He says, “My favourite film to work on was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides where I was doubling up as Luke Roberts who played the Captain of The Guard.
“I was chasing Johnny Depp around the streets of London on a horse, racing around Greenwich and the sets of Olde Worlde London.
Justin continues: “But the most dangerous stunt I’ve ever done was on a movie called Your Highness, where I was standing in for actor, Danny McBride.
“I had to climb up on to the roof of a runaway stagecoach that was being pulled by horses, then jump from the roof onto one of the horses while they were going flat out.
“It was quite scary.
The team rehearsed the sequences of stunts for two weeks then shot it over two days, doing it four times in total.
Justin added: “I just made sure I had extra padding in a certain sensitive area!”
The married, father-of-one, who says he has, “ a very understanding wife and young child”, has been awarded one of the highest accolades in the industry for his stunt performances, not once, but twice, picking up the Screen Actor’s Guild Award Winner twice over for work on Skyfall – as a rather unfortunate journalist who meets an untimely death – and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
He added: “I’ve worked with Natalie Portman, James Franco and twice with Daniel Craig.
“The actors are more than happy for us to do the stunting for them and you do develop good friendships with them when you’re working on the films.”
And surely Justin has had his fair share of bumps and bruises?
“I’ve been pretty lucky as far as injuries are concerned,” he says.
“I’ve got off pretty lightly just the odd cracked ribs, broken wrists, nothing major in 20-odd years .
“I’m moving on to stunt co-ordinator now so I’ll be more involved in the arranging and co-ordinating.
Justin adds: “I’m 40 years old now so it’s time to let someone else get thrown about.”
Justin Pearson at Scorton Steam Festival this weekend, which has Rosemere Cancer Foundation as its latest charity partner