Alborz Habibi
Last updated: 10 November, 2012

Iranian daredevils lend James Bond a hand in Skyfall

When the new Bond movie was released a couple of weeks ago, it was no wonder that all eyes were cast on Daniel Craig and the other actors starring in it. But, in this movie, just like any other action flick, there are intrepid daredevils performing some of the more hardcore stunts.

The 110-member stunt group behind Skyfall comprises some of the top daredevils in the world, including two stuntmen and a stuntwoman from Iran who are all members of the Tehran-based Stunt 13 team.

Fortune knocked at the doors of Arsha Aghdasi, Mahsa Ahmadi and Amir Reza Badri when they were tagged in a Facebook photo related to one of the Turkish movies that they had performed in. Eventually, a like notification by Garry Powell, stunt coordinator of the Bond movie, appeared on the wall of Arsha Aghdasi.

“I couldn’t believe that one of the best guys in stunt business…liked my stunt work,” explained Arsha. “After nearly one month, we received an email from the group, asking us to join them for the Bond movie; we couldn’t believe it at first and just thought they are making fun of us!”

Just one week after replying to the message, a woman phoned Arsha and asked if the group could go to Adana, Turkey for the new Bond movie in one week.

“To make a long story short, we paid Turkey a visit and found ourselves at Skyfall locations,” said Arsha. “We passed the stunt tests successfully. But one guy asked if we knew the examiner, when the tests were over.”

Totally unaware that their examiner was Ben Collins, the one providing stunt driving services for BBC’s Top Gear, they had gone through the exams very well. “I thought we may have failed to pass them, if we had known Mr. Collins,” Arsha, a 30-year old fluent Italian speaker told Your Middle East.

The members of the Stunt 13 group soon became part of the movie’s most stunning scenes, not least the one where James Bond is shot and falls down from a 70 meter high bridge in Turkey.

Only Arsha and his Iranian friends alongside five British stuntmen could shoulder the mission and do the rigging job.

“We showed off there, and saw the coordinators vowing to enroll us in the coming movies,” the Iranian stuntman tells Your Middle East. “Our fluency in English was our superiority.”

The group has also appeared in several TV advertisements and prominent Iranian movies, including Free Fall, Icy Heart, Detour, Address and the Delight of the Flight. They also performed a spectacular scene in the Turkish movie Kaos örümcek agi, when a car goes seven meters up in to the air.
“There is enthusiasm for these kinds of dangerous sports in Iran and we are training seven people now,” he said. “But unfortunately we have lack of equipment and support.”