When FedEx wants to prove their delivery personnel will stop at nothing to deliver their packages on time, they really mean nothing. The commercial they made a few years back brought more than a few laughs. It required a team of well-rehearsed stuntmen and a few large swan ice sculptures.
The shot started with a deliveryman running next to the railing of a balcony. He was, of course, carrying a FedEx package under his arm. I believe the gag was that he was to slip on a freshly waxed floor or a banana peel and then go flying over the railing, plummeting 30 feet only to land directly atop a large swan ice sculpture, shattering it with his body in the process. Being a FedEx deliveryman, he of course, quickly jumped to his feet, brushed himself off, and continued to run off with his delivery.
The stuntman wore an impact suit under his clothes called an armadillo suit. It pretty much protects the body from sharp blows – like say, the punch of a swan wing at 30 MPH. They also employed a fall cable to slow the descent of the actor.
The stunt coordinator's fears, however, were not allayed, and I can still hear him saying, "I need to know exactly what to expect or we're gonna be going through stunt men like jelly beans at Christmas." Understanding what he meant, and having visions of the chariot scene from Ben Hur, I told him what he wanted to hear.
It's funny how just because you're the sculptor you're expected to be an expert in ice fracture physics, velocity dynamics, stunt coordination, and butt kissing. Guess it's just all part of the job in Hollywood.
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