EXCLUSIVE: Interview With THOR Stuntman, Paul Lacovara (Loki)
Taking the time out of his hectic schedule to talk to me about working on Thor, stuntman Paul Lacovara has provided us with a fascinating insight into how he entered the industry and his work doubling for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in the highly anticipated Marvel Studios movie. To learn more about Paul and his work, you can visit his IMDb page by clicking HERE. Here is the interview in its entirety. Enjoy!
The stuntman takes us behind the scenes of both his career as a stuntman and Thor! Check out what he told us about working on the upcoming superhero epic, his experiences with Tom Hiddleston and the rest of the cast, coming up with the unique fighting style of Loki while wearing the costume, along with hints that he’ll once again double for the actor in The Avengers and much more...
What can you tell us about being a stuntman?
Shoot! Where do I start?! Being a stuntman is the best job in the world. The only other job I wanted growing up was to be a fighter pilot but my math wasn't up to par, so the only other logical choice was to start throwing myself off buildings and get beat up by women. I love being a stuntman; I get to do all the stuff I did as a kid, and now I get paid for it!
How did you get into the profession?
I got into the profession around 2000. I was living in San Luis Obispo where I grew up and I was actually training for competitive bodybuilding at the time and going to college for Sociology. One day my training partner asked me if I wanted to be in a movie and I said "Hell yeah!". The movie was We Were Soldiers. I started as an extra, and I was loving every minute of it. –Free food and I get to shoot machine guns!? Where can I sign up?!? They were actually filiming at Fort Hunter Liggett in Paso Robles which was a short drive away from my home town. One day while working, Randall Wallace, the director, came to a group of us and pointed to me. Then the stunt coordinator and a group of special effects guys came to me and started putting a bunch of wires down my pants to squib me up to get shot by a group of Vietcong and that was my first day of stunts. From there, I kept in touch with people from We Were Soldiers and was just about to graduate from Cal Poly when I received a phone call from Danny Le Boyer (a good friend and great stuntman) to work as an extra on Hulk. I ended up getting a week of stunts on that show, kept in contact with a production assistant, Oorala Yamada, and she got me a day of stunts on Scrubs. Every show I worked on as an extra, I would end up doing stunts, so I figured it was time to make the transition from being a full time extra to struggling stuntman. I graduated college and moved to the LA area, and the rest is history.
Can you tell us about your overall experience working on Thor?
Thor was one my most memorable experiences thus far. The stunt coordinators Andy Armstrong, James Armstrong and Scott Armstrong along with the 2nd unit director Vic Armstrong were all great to work for. The rest of the stunt team and crew were all so friendly and talented which made for a smooth sailing ship.
What kind of stunts and moves did you have to come up with for a character like Loki?
All the actors, stunt doubles, and Frost Giants worked closely with the stunt coordinators and fight choreographer, Gary Stearns, to come up with the action. While working with Gary on the fights, we also involved Tom (Loki) and collaborated to complete some really dynamic moves that would show off Loki's character and abilities.
How much preparation did you need to put into that?
We started fight training and rehearsals for Thor about three months prior to principal photography.
Did doubling for Tom mean you had to wear the costume and helmet? What was that like?
Yeah, I had to wear the whole get-up. The costume and helmet could be a bit cumbersome at times but we were able to make it work.
How was it working with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston?
Tom and Chris were great! Two of the nicest guys I have worked with since getting into the industry. I actually worked and trained with Chris while working on Star Trek. We were training other actors, and he came in for a few days to throw some punches and kicks. I got to know Tom really well while working on Thor, and he is just a real nice and genuine guy. Neither of them have egos and both are up for anything. They’re easy going which makes for a nice working environment.
How about the director, Kenneth Branagh?
Ken is a really good director! He knows what he wants and knows how to get us to give it. He’s always encouraging and supportive of everyone on set. Nice guy.
Which other cast members did you work closest with and what did you think of them?
Besides Tom and Chris, I mainly worked with Joshua Dallas, Ray Stevenson, Jaimie Alexander, Tadanobu Asano, and a bit with Natalie and Anthony ( I like to call him T-Hop!) All were a pleasure and very talented.
You've worked on some of the best known TV shows and movies out there, including the likes of 24, Star Trek and Transformers. Do you have one that stands out as a favourite?
I don’t think I can narrow it down to one! I think my favorite projects have been We Were Soldiers, Hulk, Star Trek and Thor. All for different reasons but the common factor was that everyone was just nice to work with and that made coming to "work" every day, that much more enjoyable.
Will you be working with Marvel Studios again soon? In The Avengers perhaps?
I am sure I will be working with Marvel again. As for when, I don’t know. As for The Avengers, you never know!
If you decided to enter the world of acting, are there any other superheroes or villains in particular that you'd be interested in playing?
If I were to enter the world of acting, I think any role I was offered would have to be full of action. Not only am I not the world’s greatest actor, but any more than six words and my acting goes out the window. Until those scripts start coming in, I'll stick to the stunts.
What else have you got coming up?
I just finished a few episodes of Justified, Nine Lives, and Big Time Rush. In terms of feature films, I have Hangover 2, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a couple others coming out soon. I also have a few other stokes in the fire, so we'll see in the next few weeks what comes to fruition.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Paul!
Thanks so much!
With an all star cast which includes Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Thor is set to be released in the UK on April 29 and shortly after in the US on May 6, later this year!
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