Everyone has a favourite movie car-chase scene.
If you’re old school, it might be from Bullitt or The French Connection, and if it’s a modern flavour you seek, Matt Damon’s popular Bourne offerings might work.
While tastes vary, these unbelievable sequences often beg the question, “How did they do that?”
On Nov. 25, cable TV network SPEED attempts to answer that question during its two-hour special called Hollywood’s Hottest Car Chases. It’s the “sausage making” that’s often not publicly discussed.
“In every production, I think there’s always a separation between the vision of the creators and the actual physical capabilities of what can be done, especially when it comes into something as stylistic as drifting, where there’s an attitude being expressed in the driving,” said Hollywood stunt driver and two-time Formula D drift champion, Tanner Foust.
“The style is almost like acting. It’s part of the character’s style. When you’re working with over-the-top characters, you have to take that vision into your driving. Sometimes that’s physically possible, sometimes it’s not.”
Foust, who also stars in TV shows Battle of the Supercars on cable channel SPEED and Top Gear USA, is sought after for superior car control and has provided his skills for hit movies such as The Bourne Ultimatum, The Fast and The Furious 4 and The Dukes of Hazard. Even with all the precautions taken, the unexpected can still be alarming.
“They digitally made the cliffs much steeper than they really were, but have no doubt, if you went off, you weren’t going to walk away during the production,” Foust says. “That was a little surprising to see how really dangerous everything was, just to make a movie look dangerous, which is something you try to avoid.”
As for adding on-screen excitement, there are real-life tricks of the trade that do enhance on-screen effects, like allowing for better car manoeuvrability and ease of control.