Lauro “Lash” Chartrand Interview

Lauro Chartrand

Lauro Chartrand

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

Uros (Uki) Certic: Portrait of a stuntman

A few years ago I had the honor of meeting stuntman Uki Certic. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was the real deal and I wanted to learn more. When I asked him for an interview he graciously accepted! I asked Uki how he got started with stunts and motorcycles, he replied,
“I started working as a background performer while auditioning for tv commercials and acting roles and at about the same time I met a group of guys who were freestyle sport bike stunt riders and started training with them every weekend. I got very good, fast and soon I was doing stunt shows for all major events in B.C like monster trucks at BC place, the annual motorcycle show at Trade X in Abbotsford , all show and shines and bike rallies and a lot of charity events like Cops for Cancer, Firefighters for burns, The Virtue foundation annual stunt show and many more.” (Gosh I’m getting winded just thinking about it!)
He went on to say, “A couple of guys I rode with were film stunt guys and they informed me of where to train, what other skills I needed to perfect, in order to have a shot at being a stunt performer in film” I, “took all that in and started training in; gymnastics, horse back riding, long sword and daggers seminar, car stunt driving courses, kick boxing and weapons training at the famous, “Action Room” in New West etc.” He said he, “also started volunteering on set for coordinators, pulling mats, doing safety and learning 1st hand on set which was really priceless and after a while I got my chance and my 1st stunt credit on Smallville season 8 and the rest is history.” That really is exciting stuff!
I asked Uki, what accomplishments he is most proud of and what was the most favorite film that he had worked on? He replied,
“I am very proud of becoming a full union member as well as working on HUGE feature films like, “Mission Impossible 4 and the A-team, its not a small thing getting a call from a coordinator to work on blockbusters like that. They really have to trust you 110% that you will do what is asked of you 10 out of 10 times without one little mistake so that was confirmation in my mind that I am good at this and that hard work, really hard work does pay off.” “getting flown out to Egypt for a KFC commercial to jump a motocross from a ramp to ramp over a jeep was not a bad deal, and is one of my favorite gigs and experiences as well.”
I asked Uki, what challenges he has faced to get to where he is now? Injuries, rejections, anything of that nature? And he replied, “Discipline to train so much and eat right all year round not knowing when the next call will come and always being on hold so to speak.” I can relate to this statement, keeping in shape is a struggle. He says,
“I have not turned down a job yet and had to change plans and re-schedule my life many times but I truly love my job and I am very lucky to do it. I have had some injuries of course but nothing too major, broken scaphoid on my left wrist and a lot of cuts, scrapes and bruises, A LOT! My last two questions to Uki were, what are your future goals in the industry? And, who would you most like to work with/favorite celebrity you have already worked with? He answered,
“my goal is to keep doing what I love for as much as I can and start stunt coordinating, when hitting the concrete and riding wheelies becomes too painful 🙂 “I would love to work with Daniel Craig and the stunt team on the, “James Bond” films and would love to work with Steven Seagal, Danny Trejo, Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller and of course STONE COLD again, they are great to work with and true veterans.”
I must say I agree with Uki all the way, that is an amazing list of talented people and I am an undying fan of The James Bond series! I think Uki Certic would be a great fit in those films. I would like to express my gratitude to Uki for allowing me this opportunity to interview him and will be keeping an eye out for his upcoming projects! Thanks Uki!!