Loyd Bateman is best know around entertainment circles as a stunt performer in such films and TV shows like “Stargate Continuum,” “Stargate Arch of Truth,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “Far Cry,” “The Eye” “Max Steel,” “The 4400,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Samurai Girl,” “Flash Gordon,” “L Word,” “Blood Ties,” and so many more.
Loyd is also a fine actor and producer with his eye set on one day becoming a successful film director.
Our roving reporter Linda Craddock caught up with Loyd in Vancouver and sat down to talk with him about his future in show business and a revealing insight in just what it takes to become a successful stunt person.
Linda Craddock (SoSF): So Loyd, what project(s) are you currently working on?
Loyd Bateman (LB): I just finished on “Night at the Museum,” the second film, and I finished a day of shooting on “Smallville” just yesterday.
SoSF: You’ve appeared in several blockbuster hits including “War,” “X-Men the Last Stand,” “Undercover Revolution,” just to name a few. Is there a particular routine you practice prior to a project given the difference between each production?
LB: Specific to each project — No — but, myself and the people I work with like to do different kinds of training, like for example, I like crosset – which is sort of like a combination of power-lifting and cardio-vascular exercises and gymnastics-type exercises, plus various styles of martial arts training and rehearsal choreography stuff. Generally, that’s the route I take.
SoSF: “I Robot” seemed like a busy project for you as a stunt performer and for extras. Were you in that final crowd scene?
LB: Yes. I performed for the green screen and as a civilian running on the real street, which was kind of cool.
SoSF: Were you available for the entire film or just that portion of it?
LB: No. I got called to work on just that end sequence.
SoSF: You were stunt double for Jason Statham in “War.” What was it like working with Jason, a star with obvious athletic abilities of his own and how did you coordinate the action sequences?
LB: Well, actually the stunt coordinator is responsible for setting up the action sequences for that, but that film was kind of an interesting one because there was a local stunt coordinator that would organize the driving stuff and then there was an Asian stunt coordinator in the 2nd unit team who did the choreography for the fights. So we sort of went back and forth between the two stunt directors, with fighting scenes, then jumping off of rooftops, chase sequences and so on. It was interesting because it was kind of a multi-cultural experience and a bit of back and forth there.
SoSF: “Alien vs Predator”
LB: I didn’t actually work on AvP as a stunt person but doubled an actor on it. There wasn’t really a whole lot of stunt stuff. Most filming was CGI and the stunt stuff had a few performers dressed as creatures. My character was mostly just being chased, climbing out of windows and stuff like that. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, unfortunately. Kind of anticlimactic actually.
SoSF: What was your impression of the new visuals for both species and the weaponry employed in that film?
LB: I didn’t actually watch the movie and understand it had bad reviews. I’m not a big fan of too much computer graphics. I like to see more practical stuff. Unfortunately in that film, they shot a lot of things with guys in creature suits then turned them into pixels later, which is a shame.
SoSF: Yeah. I hear you. Tell us about “Far Cry.”
LB: “Far Cry” was a great little project. We did some free running stuff in an old abandoned saw mill that was about to be demolished. The same actor in the film that I doubled hired me to also double him for a German film which was interesting because I don’t speak German. I ended up being the only person in the cast that couldn’t speak German — so, that was a cool experience. And, “Far Cry” was great. We had a really good time — lots of running, jumping, fighting and slipping.
SoSF: Describe some of the particular fight scenes you were a part of in “Far Cry” and some of the precautions you took for your safety and that of the other cast members.
LB: Well, in “Far Cry” there was that chase sequence through the saw mill I spoke of earlier and most of it was done free of any cables or other support stuff like that. There were just a couple of scenes that required the use of cables for safety purposes because the guy chasing me is supposed to be super human, so they put cables on him. Those allowed him to jump higher and farther when pulled on, but the character I was doubling for was a mere human so everything I did there was free-hand and natural, or ‘organic’ as we like to call it.
SoSF: “Chemical Evil.” Any word yet on that film?
LB: Well, “Chemical Evil” was actually a test shoot as a pitch piece in order to get funding for another project. I think the director has now taken it as a sales piece to get other things going and so far he has been producing a few other projects based on the strength of that trailer.
SoSF: All our fans are aware of “Stargate: Atlantis” getting canceled and you have appeared in a few of the episodes over the years as both an actor and stunt performer. Are there plans to have you involved with any of the remaining episodes for this final season? I know the buzz in now all about the Atlantis movies and it may be too early to tell, but given the opportunity would you want to be a part of that?
LB: Of course! If I have an opportunity to work in the movies I’ll take it. They’re actually shooting the last episode of “Stargate: Atlantis” now while we are talking. Tomorrow is the last day and then just a couple of 2nd unit days, but I haven’t been on any episodes this season.
SoSF: The last time we spoke you mentioned your involvement in the Brazilian martial arts – Capoeira. What are the different levels of rank with this discipline and tell us a little bit about the process.
LB: Capoeira is different than other martial arts but its not entirely different. Once a year we do a belts ceremony and an event. We do workshops, we have a celebration and a musical presentation and different performers from all over the world come together to participate in that event. Certain students who have worked hard enough graduate to their next belt or receive their first belt at this event. So, that’s how the grading works.
There are different levels, such as, the Student level which consists of about 5 or 6 different belts. Then there is an Instructors level where you are able to start teaching supervised classes. After that is a Professor level where you can go off and start your own class as part of the group. Eventually, one day down the road, say 20 years or so, you can graduate to being a Master. It takes a long time, a lot of dedication and hard work.
I haven’t gotten nearly that far personally because life sort of changes and I have been working a lot more on films and TV. I’ve just been too busy to dedicate the kind of time to go any further with the art. I have gotten to the Professor level and was teaching some classes, but it soon got overshadowed with working in the film biz and taking care of my family. That’s where I’m at right now.
SoSF: A lot of fans aren’t really aware of the World Stunt Awards and its variety of categories. What qualifies, for instance, The Best Fight Sequence or The Best High Work?
LB: High work would refer to anything done with cabled and uncabled falling from a height into some sort of safety equipment like an air bag or a box-ring or on a descender set-up, which would be a cable controlled descent.
Fights would basically be judged on whatever the choreography was, what interesting movements were employed, how strong and realistic the fight appeared to be.
Then there is a Committee, kind of like the Oscars, made up of peers who vote in each category. The one’s with the most ballots win.
SoSF: What is a Specialty Stunt?
LB: Those tend to be things that are out of the ordinary. It could be a combination stunt like a stunt performer falling while also on fire. Underwater stunts are now considered specialty stunts, like fighting underwater, or a car crashing into water and sinking with the stunt person trapped inside or escaping.
SoSF: What advice would you give a young person who has aspirations of getting into your line of work?
LB: Three words: TRAIN – TRAIN – TRAIN! Alot!
Add as many different things as you can handle. Do martial arts, gymnastics, wrestling, grappling, practice swimming, learn to scuba dive, jump off the high board and take a diving class. Whatever you can think of that is athletic and out there. Go rollerblading, snowboarding, surfing. Whatever you can do to give you that edge. Have fun doing it, but work hard and diligently and just train a lot.
People don’t tend to realize that this job seems to get paid quite high, but we don’t work that often and in the meantime you’re basically having to subsidize training in order to get the work. So, part of your work is being prepared for the job already when you show up. That means putting in a lot of off-the-set time in training and staying fit and healthy.
SoSF: Let’s switch gears for a moment. You produced a feature called “Dead Hooker in a Trunk.” How did that project come your way?
LB: It started off through that friend of mine, the guy who did “Chemical Evil.” He had these girls who worked on his film who were film school students. They were unhappy with the way things were going at their film school and they had a little project that they were doing on the side that was sort of their class project for it that was called “Dead Hooker in a Trunk.” They lost their editor so through my friend I ended up editing this trailer together for them and then said, ‘Hey this is a good idea, why don’t we try to do a feature length version.’ So they said, ‘Al right!’ They wrote it and it turned out really funny, a really good script. So we got some money together, some people together, got our hands on a HD camera and we went off to shoot it.
SoSF: I saw the trailer (laugh) and it was so very funny. What was the most challenging part of the production?
LB: Scheduling it, because we were all sort of working around all our other work schedules, shooting evenings and weekends and trying to get as much of it done as quickly as possible.
We didn’t tend to get many long days, so it ended up taking longer than we had hoped. The post production process has been the same thing. We are now almost finished wrapping up the post on it and it should be ready in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully we can get it sold.
SoSF: How long from concept to post wrap did it take to complete the project?
LB: 2 months to get it in the can and another couple of months to get the edit locked, do all of our color corrections, some visual effects shots, etc. And — we’re almost there — just another couple of days.
SoSF: Cool. Where was it filmed?
LB: All on location here in Vancouver.
SoSF: Great and convenient.
LB: Actually, more necessary really. (laugh)
SoSF: You obviously have aspirations to direct and do more producing for a major feature film sometime in the future.
SoSF: What’s in the works – anything you can share at this time?
LB: We have a couple of projects on the go. A friend of mine is working with me on a horror film and we are finishing up that script. My wife and I are working on an action-like project not quite together past the stage of treatment but will get pulled together over the next couple of months. We hope to get all those off the ground quickly.
SoSF: I will be looking forward to them and thanks Loyd for taking time to share with our Slice of SciFi audience.
LB: Thanks Linda. That sounds good.