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How To Walk Away From a Big Explosion

You’ve watched the scene in dozens of action films. Strike Back’s Philip Winchester explains how to look cool when you’re sharing the screen with a fireball.

1. Beware of flying mufflers.
“The great thing about Strike Back is there’s no CGI, so if we blow something up, we really blow it up, and we’re in front of it! If we’re blowing up a car, we learned really quickly to pad our backs, because every once in a while a bit of car will catch you.”

2. Wear goop.
“There’s this horrible, horrible stuff called fire gel, which is basically a water-based, nonflammable goop that creates a wet area on your skin, so if you get fire on you, it burns that layer off before it gets to your skin. The parts of you that aren’t
facing the camera get covered in it.”

3. Suck in that gut.
“We had an amazing military trainer who taught us that if you don’t take an explosion right, it can make you physically sick. You have to flex the muscles in your gut; otherwise you’ll feel like you’ve been punched in the solar plexus, and you won’t be able to perform your task.”

4. Don’t piss in the wind.
“You’ve got to keep your wits about you. We shot an explosion on a windy rooftop, and the wind sent this fireball right back at us and smashed us against the wall. Our heads were singed, and our hair was smoking. We walked away pretty unscathed but with a reminder that what we’re doing is real.”

5. Try not to flinch.
“There’s always a countdown: Someone on set will say, ‘Three, two, one…’ so you can prepare for what’s about to happen. Then you have to maintain com­po­sure for the shot. Sometimes you think you did something cool, then you see the take and you’re just floundering around on the ground.”

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