Bill was known for creating unforgettable car chases - but there was one chase he wished he could forget.
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a high performance. Convertible flies down a two lane highway, not too far from Hollywood at speeds, well, in excess of the posted limits in hot pursuit afford station wagon pulley an empty trailer driven by a stunt man looking to make a name for himself. The scene couldn't even simpler, no special effects: nosey gee, I just a good old fashioned Hollywood carcase on his death bed. Thirty one years late, Bill Hickman recalled that chase in vivid detail in his mind's eye. He could still see the convertible rounding, the corner and disappearing from view. He could still feel his frustration at not being able to catch up. Had he been directing that's the moment, he would have yelled cut the two cars, should have been much closer together, but afford station wagon is no match for sports car and, despite all his
well behind the wheel bill. Just couldn't keep pace. Maybe had he been driving is Dodge charger. The muscle car he drove and bullets things would have ended differently. Bill couldn't help it smile at the recollection. Now that was a car chase. As the stun coordinator on bullet bill was asked to create the most realistic car chase ever filmed, and so we did with Steve Mcqueen in hot pursuit driving afford Mustang three. Ninety the two men turned rules of San Francisco into their personal racetrack, complete with hairpins, turns and asphalt launching pads the muscle cars literally flew through the air hubcaps exploded from their wheels and rolled Chris easily down the streets and the fiery explosion. At the end, when bills car crashes into the gas pump the filling station that setting
standard on the big screen for vehicular verisimilitude. There was the mistakes, though, not just the stunts. That brought a new sense of realism to every Hickman sequence in one shot bill sideswipes a parked car with a camera affixed to it, knocking it sideways normally. But it's like that. Would wind up on the cutting room floor, but Bill argued that the mistake made the chase feel more real and the director agreed, so the shot stayed in and bullets went on to win an Oscar after that, every director, in Hollywood, one of the car chase with the Hickman touch more reality. More danger, more authenticity in the seven ups bill drove his Pontiac Deville, so aggressively that the actor in the passenger seat next to him vomited and screamed and terror that
not in the script, but the director kept it in cuz. It was real during the french connection. The door of a parked car opens seconds before bill speeds by at sixty miles an hour and rips it off its hinges. It to looks shockingly real because it was so too was the severed door spiralling through the air like a giant ninja star, nearly decapitated, the camera crew and sending passers by diving for cover, in that same sequence, Bill Hickman, doubling gene, admin, chases down a bad guy who commandeered the EL train in Brooklyn. The stunt takes place fifty feet below the speeding train as Hickmans one. Seventy one, Pontiac Lemans tries to keep pace on a busy New York Street.
The difficult seem to shoot, and after the first take, the director was disappointed, William Freakin, the man who would go on to direct the exorcist told bill. He wanted a car chase that would literally scared the hell out of the audience, something unforgettable and real. He said Bell smiled at the memory ruefully, as he recalled his converse
Asian with the famous director. You want unforgettable and real. He said meet me tomorrow morning at the corner of eighty six than Stillwell and bring your camera. If you have a balls for it, I'll show you something real. The next morning we freakin strapped himself and his camera into the back seat of bills, lemons and captured the most harrowing footage to ever make it onto the big screen. Why? Because Bill Hickman exceeds speeds of ninety miles an hour in actual New York City traffic, no special effects, nosey gee I and no permanent. There is LT, six oscars for the french connection and a performance that William Freed can called the scariest thing. I've ever seen. It occurred to bill that his entire life had been one long car chase and now ass. He lay dying. He thought about
How far Hollywood had come from those early scenes were actor, sat behind fake, win shields and fake steering wheels and pretended to drive as fake footage rolled by unconvincing early in the rear window, He also thought about how lucky he'd been over the years after a lifetime of pushing the envelope It was a miracle. No one had ever been seriously hurt in any of his scenes, unless, of course, you count that very first chase backing eighteen fifty five when he was a young stunt man and a station wagon trying to keep up with that. Damn push on that highway, not too far from Hollywood. In his mind's eye, he could still see the convertible rounding, the corner and disappearing from view. He could still feel the frustration at not being able to catch up, and he could still recall what awaited him when he finally did something unforgettable
and real slumped behind the wheel of the mangled sports car was the young driver, who should have been sitting in the station wagon next to bill. The driver who should listen to the cop who ticketed them both to hours earlier and told them to slow the hell down, the driver whose porch should have been secured, the empty trailer behind Bill station wagon, as they are their way to the Salinas racetrack, alas, the kid had insist but upon driving his race car to the track himself to war the engine for the race, he was scheduled to run later that afternoon. It was a scene alright, but this was
movie and with no direct or on hand to say cut, the action played out in slow motion as real life often does bill, ran to the wreck and pulled his young protege from the smouldering pile of twisted steel. There were no last words, no final close up just the sound of one ultimate exhale seconds before the kid died in bills, arms and everything faded to black, thus be. And the career of Bill Hickman a stunt man in a station wagon whose quest for reality was unmatched and whose impact on action movies was unforgettable and real and thus began the legend of a twenty four year old actor, whose need for speed was matched only by his impact on american Cinema.
And who's fleeting work on the big screen is still remembered as real and unforgettable a rebel without a cause, James Dean anyway, that's the way I heard it.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-31.