By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi– He has choreographed action for Christian Bale in “The Dark Night” and for Tom Hardy in “Dunkirk” among over three dozen films in a career nearing 30 years. Hollywood’s famous action director Tom Struthers, who is now working on some high-octane stunts for Bollywood film “Race 3” in Abu Dhabi, finds Indian superstar Salman Khan no less a professional.
“Race 3” marks the second time that Struthers is working with Salman, with whom he last collaborated for “Tiger Zinda Hai” — also widely shot in Abu Dhabi. He loved the experience both times.
“I think you can expect the same kind of enthusiasm and high-octane action in ‘Race 3’ as ‘Tiger…’, but there’s nothing I can tell you about (the plot),” Struthers told IANS over phone from Abu Dhabi, which is fast becoming a much-loved shooting destination for filmmakers.
He considers Salman as an actor who is sought after and “well-liked”.
“I am very fortunate that in my career I have worked with good, professional people. Salman is among the highest-paid actors in the world… I’ve worked with people like Christian Bale and Tom Hardy. I consider them to be friends and I consider them to be very, very professional.
“Never once have they been unprofessional with me. Salman is in the same category. He was kind, caring about his people, and concerned about his artistes. He cares about where he is going as an actor and about what he is doing about the character he is playing,” added Struthers, whose first tryst with Bollywood was with Nikkhil Advani’s 2013 film “D-Day”.
For “Race 3”, being directed by Remo D’Souza and starring Anil Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Bobby Deol, Daisy Shah and Saqib Saleem, apart from Salman, Struthers is choreographing the opening and closing sequences. He hopes these stunts, details of which he was guarded about, are something that the audience would love.
Struthers, along with Indian action director Anl Arasu, enlisted the help of the Armed Forces of the UAE, employing a Blackhawk helicopter, Oshkosh trucks, NIMR military vehicles, and Humvees for the shoot. twofour54 is providing the team production services as well as the support of its government and travel services department to ease the process.
The Australian stunts star, who has also worked on films like “Titanic”, “Braveheart”, “Blood Diamond”, “Inception” and “Terminator Salvation”, finds Bollywood becoming more professional with time.
“I think Bollywood is in a great place right now. They are experimenting with culturally different professionals in the camera, stunts, action-directing departments,” he said, and reminisced how, when he came on board for “D-Day”, he knew nothing about Indian films or Indian culture.
“When Nikkhil Advani called me and said he wanted to meet me, I said, ‘Why not? It will be a new experience, I will learn and you grow with experiences, so yes, absolutely’. So, I met Nikkhil and he convinced me to come to India… And rest is history, as they say.
“I enjoyed every moment in India. People have been super nice to me. I have never found anyone unpleasant. And as far as I am concerned, what more can you ask for,” he said.
Struthers had missed a chance to visit Jodhpur when the team of his mentor Christopher Nolan was in the Rajasthan city to shoot scenes for “The Dark Knight Rises”.
As for his filmography, he says it’s not purely action-heavy films that attract him.
“I love doing the action, but it’s also important for me to tell a story. I often choose films not because they have big budgets, but because I like the script, the story, the actors that are to be cast… All that is a part of what I do… I feel fortunate that I am at a stage in my career when I can do that… To pick and choose the films. It’s not just a financial game.” (IANS)