Author Topic: Stunt man tumbles into success  (Read 1951 times)


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Stunt man tumbles into success
« on: April 26, 2015, 02:35:03 PM »

By Meg Hagerty -- | Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2009 9:50 pm

In the stunt world, no pain means no gain.

For Cody Bo Kruger, a 21-year-old stunt man formerly of Cambridge, getting blown up, running through burning buildings and dodging bullets is all in a day's work.

Though he has done some commercials, he recently got his big break working in Detroit with the remake of "Red Dawn," a 1984 war film which originally starred Charlie Sheen and the late Patrick Swayze. Kruger said the new film's script is a bit different and even better than the original - and very violent.

"Basically there's a lot of gun play, a lot of explosions, a lot of fight choreography," Kruger said.

Kruger is an "N.D." stunt man in next September's release of the remake, meaning he's "non-descript." In any shot where anonymous people are getting beat up, blown up or shot at, you'll find Kruger.

He always has wanted to be a stunt man, even as a youngster watching Jackie Chan movies like "Project A" and "Rumble in the Bronx" with his father.

"I said, 'I can do that kind of stuff and I can make good money for doing it,'" Kruger said.

After leaving Cambridge Central School before 11th grade, Kruger graduated from high school in Colonie and Full Sail University in Florida with a degree in film.

It was actually his mother, Tina, who now lives in Saratoga Springs, who advised him to have a bachelor's degree under his belt before going to stunt school and he's grateful for understanding "set etiquette" now.

Being a stunt man means devoting a lot of time to physical training. Kruger does a lot of plyometric exercises and then heads to the gym to tumble and practice fight and fall reactions.

"You've got to be in really good shape to just keep taking falls and hits all day. Once you're done and you feel like you're in pain, that's a good thing. You've got to feel that hurt so you know you're doing right," he said.

Ironically, an injury that has plagued Kruger for almost a year came after stunt school when he was fooling around with friends. He hit a tree while on a four-wheel ATV and "snapped (his) shoulder in half." Following surgery, in which he had a plate and screws put in, he still doesn't feel fully recovered.

"It'll never be the same. It's hard to wear any harnesses without feeling any pain, but I can still do what I do," he said.

Although Kruger is thrilled with the opportunity to work on "Red Dawn," the opportunity didn't just fall into his lap. The competition for his line of work can be tough, he said.

"They've got seasoned veterans that have been in the business 25 or 30 years, and then this 21-year-old new kid comes in and expects to run the show," he said.

Kruger rightfully believed he needed to move closer to where the major films were being produced, but he had no contacts when he landed in Chicago and found local stunt crews to be tightly knit.

"I was sending 300 e-mails a week and calling everybody I could call, just random cold calling from numbers I got from the Internet. It was a good nine months of rejection after rejection," he recalled.

One day Kruger went to the Michigan Film Commission Web site and learned about "Red Dawn." He made the four-hour trip to Detroit and got in touch with the stunt coordinator, who was looking for stunt people. Kruger stretched the truth a bit by calling himself a "local" but followed up and got the job. He moved to Michigan and now lives about an hour from Detroit.

Kruger's also now a card-carrying member of the Screen Actor's Guild. It's important to be part of the film union and allows him the chance to work on big-budget movies, although it doesn't guarantee him a part.

"But if you've got what it takes, the skill, the connections and you have the experience and you're SAG, you're all set. You'll be in everything," he said.

Being part of the film union also means Kruger is in line for "residuals," or royalties on DVD sales. Random checks for $5,000 or $10,000 are not unusual, he said.

And performing the most dangerous stunt equals the most pay, so stunt people are scratching and clawing their way to outdo each other, he said.

Kruger feels he survived the initiation into the cliquey world of stunt professionals and is developing contacts. He is set to begin filming another "big" production soon but declined to give any details at this point. He did say, however, that it was a come-back film for producer Wesley Snipes.

Kruger credits his parents with allowing him to pursue his passion and let him learn from his mistakes.

"They know I can't survive in a cubicle. I've got to be doing stuff," he said.

Stunt work isn't for everyone, but Kruger can't see himself in any other field. For him, it's the adrenaline rush he gets from watching the reactions of movie goers.

"People are going to see this and they're going to be super-entertained because I'm killing myself," Kruger said. "It sounds weird, I know, but I don't think I'll ever to stop."