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After Vin Diesel had left the stage and introduced high-octane Fast X footage, a voiceover asked CinemaCon attendees to remain patient for a special surprise as professionals prepped the stage.
The big screen then flashed EightySeven North Productions (the banner officially goes by 87North), while a team of stunt professionals stormed the stage to show off their impressive set of skills. It started with a motorcycle rider dragging a man across the stage followed by a gymnastics display, a mini car zooming back and forth, and a slew of aerial flips and tricks. Minutes later, filmmaker David Leitch took the stage and “detonated” two performers who jumped from the Colosseum rafters to mats on the stage.
The spectacle, near the end of Universal’s studio presentation, served as a way for Leitch, a former stuntman, to introduce his upcoming film The Fall Guy. In doing so, he welcomed his stars Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt to the stage, and they both pretended to be hesitant at first. “Is it safe?” Blunt asked, with Gosling adding, “It was really loud, and there was a tiny car and roughhousing. It just seems dangerous…. We’re not trained to do that Dave. We are just trained to stand over here and take credit for it.”
It was totally safe, aside from some teleprompter issues, and the trio then took a few minutes of comical back-and-forth to introduce their film. (They also gave shout-outs to some special stunt professionals from The Fall Guy, including Gosling’s stunt double Ben Jenkin.)
“In most films, the actors get all the credit, but the stunt performers do all the work, and that ends today,” said Gosling, who was back on the CinemaCon main stage one day after waxing on about bleaching his hair and shaving his legs to find the right Ken-ergy to play Ken opposite Margot Robbie’s title character in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie.
Leitch then said he was excited to make a movie that portrayed the lives of stunt professionals, the hardworking class of people who risk their lives for very little credit. “I was a former stunt performer so it’s very, very dear to me,” he said, referencing the source material.
Gosling stars opposite Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Stephanie Hsu, Hannah Waddingham, Teresa Palmer and Winston Duke in the Universal movie that is inspired by the 1980s television series. Shot on location in Australia, the film marks a switch from the original 1980s show that starred Lee Majors.
As THR previously reported, the movie doesn’t focus on a stuntman with a side hustle as a bounty hunter. Instead, the script by Drew Pearce focuses on a battered and past-his-prime stuntman (Gosling), who finds himself back on a movie set with the star (Taylor-Johnson) for whom he doubled long ago and who replaced him. The wrinkle, however, is that the star has gone missing and his ex-girlfriend (Blunt), who is directing the film, needs him to rescue the production.
“It was a huge honor to step into the footsteps of the iconic Lee Majors,” Gosling added, noting that his character is found at a point in his stunt journey when his girlfriend has broken up with him, and he has broken his back. “My character is going through a lot and directing a huge space opera,” Blunt elaborated, adding that she is forced to work with her ex in order to save her film. “They are exes and maybe futures if he plays his cards right.”
They then introduced several minutes of footage that played very well in the Colosseum. Producing are Kelly McCormick and Leitch via their 87North shingle. Gosling is also producing, as is Entertainment 360’s Guymon Casady. Pearce will executive produce alongside Geoff Shaevitz, Matt Reilly, Glen Larson and Peter Cramer.
The Fall Guy is set to hit theaters March 1, 2024.
CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, is being held inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from April 24 to 27.
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