My interview today is with the amazing Lauro Chartrand. He has worked on some of the biggest productions of our time including: “Rumble In The Bronx” “The Last Samurai” and Star Trek Insurrection” just to name a few. He also trained with the incomparable Fumio Demura! He got his start as a stuntman and moved into writing, directing, and producing. Read on to learn about his latest work! I hope you all enjoy this interview!
Question: I know you have worked on some the greatest film/television programs that have ever been created! What has been one of your favorite moments?
Answer: Wow! After 25 years there have been so many, but obviously a few really stand out. My first really big moment or moments because there were so many on this movie was meeting and working with Jackie Chan on “Rumble In The Bronx”! It was a dream come true! Jackie was so nice and so much fun to work with. I learned so much from him, I was just like a sponge on that show. I was initially turned away during casting as they thought I looked to young. I grew a beard and asked my friend Marc Akerstream (Stunt Coordinator) to re-submit me. So I got to goin again and Jackie did a little fight with me during the audition and said okay your hired. Talk about nervous! I mean I was just a young 24-year-old kid from the sticks trying to get some stunt gigs in the movies and here I was fighting with Jackie Chan and he casts me in his movie! I was contracted for 10 days and 55 days later I sadly finished on “Rumble In The Bronx”. It went on and on and on, but I wished that it would just keep going, so much fun! Jackie was very collaborative and attentive, he took his ideas from everyone and every where. During filming we had to park in the old Woolworth’s parkade (park garage) along Cordova street in Vancouver. It was 7 or 8 stories high. I use to park my truck at the top and at the end of the day when we wrapped I would climb up the outside of the parkade and up to my truck. Jackie watched me do this one day I guess, because he came up to me and said, I want to put that in the movie. My character will do that, but maybe you will double me for it. I was floored! Jackie Chan wants me to double him! He ended up doing it himself, but it was an honor that he used the idea and even thought of me as a double. There are many more in movies like “The Last Samurai” where we spent 5 month out of 8, shooting in New Zealand. Believe it or not “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” was an amazing experience for me because we filmed on the island of Santorini, Greece for a month. I had always wanted to go there. Shooting in the jungles of Panama with the Embera tribe on “End of the Spear” was a life changing experience. Doubling for Al Pacino in “Insomnia!” was a dream come true as well.
Question: Was there ever a moment when you thought, YES! I have made it?
Answer: I have had a few of those moments, but they were just moments as my mind immediately turns to, where can I go from here! My first one was when I worked with Chuck Norris because I watched all his movies as a kid and then I use to go train and work out on the bag and imitate his moves before I had traditional Martial Arts training. That moment was short-lived as I had a freak accident on the set of “The Hitman” the same night that Chuck asked me to stay and do a stunt. Basically he asked me, because he was a good friend of my Sensei (Karate Instructors). I was shot for real by accident when an overloaded blank gun exploded and a piece of the gun went through my stomach and into my liver. 3 surgeries and 4 months of recovery and I was back looking for stunt work. So like I said, it was a moment. I thought I had made it and then, “Bang”, I felt I hadn’t! The first time I worked for the legendary, Buddy Joe Hooker, I thought I had “made it”. I mean who do I work for from there! When I doubled Al Pacino I also thought, I made it, how can I double a better actor than this! So there have been a few moments, but I quickly look to the horizon for the next challenge. Continue reading