Where did Stunt Kid come from?
When I was young, there used to be these things called “DVDs” – they looked a bit like doughnuts, but flatter, shinier, and a lot less tasty. You could use them to watch movies (on a device called a “DVD player”) and nearly all of them included special features. You could watch bloopers – scenes that hadn’t worked because someone made a mistake while filming. Sometimes Owen Wilson accidentally farted in the bathtub, sometimes Edward Norton got hit by a bus (I’m not kidding). You could also watch scenes which had been cut for some other reason (often it was too boring, or it made the twist too obvious, or it contradicted something else in the movie). There was usually a “making of” featurette, a short movie about how the movie-makers made the movie. And there would be commentary tracks, where the cast and crew would talk over the top of the film, telling you funny stories about things that went wrong while they were making it. (“I didn’t hit him that hard,” I remember Milla Jovovich insisting. “And the axe was just plastic!”)
I loved all this stuff. Even after I abandoned the idea of becoming a filmmaker (I decided I liked books better) I was fascinated by all these crazy people who made these ridiculous movies. I especially liked the stories from the days before CGI, when all the stunts had to be done with wires and mattresses and fire suits.
Later, I was trying to come up with a new dangerous situation to put a kid in. (I spend most of my career doing this.) When it occurred to me that the kid’s Dad might be filming a ridiculous TV show – and he might want his reluctant son to do all the dangerous stunts for real – I could immediately see the potential for excitement and laughter.
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