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In your videos you do some crazy moves that seem to defy the laws of physics. How do you go about inventing them?
I have an idea of a move in my head, or want to improve on a move I’ve seen. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But even if it doesn’t I generally get something new out of it.
Do you have a favourite trick from your 2011 showreel?
The first one off the top of the building – the massive one.
Although you don’t classify yourself as a ‘freerunner’, that’s a buzzword right now. How do you see it evolving in the future?
I think it’s got the potential to be really good. The best thing about doing any sort of acrobatics is you don’t really need any equipment – you can just go out and take it to whatever level you want to. You can progress as far as you want, you can go into a gym and learn basic rolls all the way up to triple front flips and stuff like that. After that the only limitation is the person practising it, so it’s got potential to go anywhere.
Can you talk us through some of the worst injuries you’ve suffered in your career?
I separated my collarbone last year, I’ve dislocated both shoulders and my right ankle. I thought I broke my back once, which wasn’t nice, but it turned out just to be a trapped nerve and I managed to get the feeling back. I’ve had quite a few injuries, mainly when I’ve not been concentrating. It’s when you’re not fully focused that injuries happen.
What’s your training routine consist of?
It depends where I am. When I’m at home I train seven days a week at the gym I own with my dad and sister – the one you see in the showreels, that’s my family’s gym. It’s called Derby City Gymnastics Club. I’m in there all day, every day, when I can be.
Do you do any weights or cardio training?
I used to be in the British tumbling team and when I was in that we did a lot of leg work – a lot of squats to make sure we could jump as high as possible. But as far as upper body goes, I tend not to use weights. I just use my own bodyweight to get as strong as I can without getting too big. I can’t jump as high if I get bigger.
You won the 2010 Taurus World Stunt Award for best fight scene in Ninja Assassin. Can you see yourself crossing over to be a movie actor? Could you be the next Jason Statham?
No, it’s not for me. I don’t mind doing all the flips and that, but I’m not interested in the rest of it. I don’t mind making the videos and putting them on YouTube. If people like them, that’s great, that’s my comfort zone – that’s what I’ve done my whole life and that’s what I’m good at. If people like watching that, I’ll keep doing it, but I won’t be taking it any further.
Growing up who was your favourite stunt performer?
Definitely Jackie Chan. He’s so inventive with his surroundings and not only does he do stuff that’s impressive, he does things that are comical and lighthearted too. It’s the kind of thing I try to do. I don’t want to make my stuff too serious, I want it to be enjoyable to watch.
What’s the scariest stunt you’ve done?
I came out of a third-storey window for Ninja Assassin, which required me to smash through the window, land on a van, then bounce from the van onto the concrete below. That was scary because the window was frosted glass so I couldn’t really see where I was landing, and I just had to hope I was properly lined up with the van because if I wasn’t I would have landed straight on the concrete.
Can you tell us about any upcoming films you’ve worked on and the stunts involved?
I’ve just finished body doubling for Keanu Reeves on a film called 47 Ronin, I did a little bit on Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, and I’m working on a film right now that I can’t really talk about as it’s pretty big and the studio will be on my case.
For Sherlock Holmes and 47 Ronin, are there any big stunts you performed that you can talk about?
On Sherlock Holmes, I got thrown out of this third-storey window and had to clip onto a metal pipe on the way down. In 47 Ronin it was mainly fight stuff, a bit of climbing, jumping over gaps – that sort of stuff.
It’s a high-impact, potentially dangerous line of work you’re in. How long do you think you can feasibly carry on doing it?
Jackie Chan is 57 now and still going strong! I’m currently 29, and if I can get another eight years out of it I’ll be happy. Yeah, I can’t see me getting much more than that.
In the 2011 showreel you take off your clothes while flipping. Can you put them on while flipping too?
Yeah, I can. I actually did it in the 2010 video and it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It took me ages to figure it out.
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