A galaxy of stars paid fulsome tribute to filmmaker John McTiernan (“Die Hard,” “Predator”) and stuntman Vic Armstrong (the Indiana Jones, James Bond and Star Wars franchises) as they were awarded both moving Target awards on Friday for their outstanding contributions to the action genre at the inaugural London Action Festival.
The awards were presented at London’s Royal London Geographical Society and icons from the action genre attended, including Corin Hardy (“Gangs of London”), composer David Arnold (“Casino Royale”) Robert Davi (“Die Hard”) and Edgar Wright ( “Last Night in Soho”).
Prominent film personalities who have worked with McTiernan and Armstrong conveyed their appreciation via video messages. Harrison Ford praised Armstrong, saying: “We’ve been doing this Vic for like 50 years! You’ve had the good sense to turn it into a directing job ‘cos this running, jumping and falling down thing is a game for the young guys. The audiences loved the work you’ve guided in the Indiana Jones films. People don’t really understand what goes into an action film and it’s a very complicated, technical issues these days. It’s been a great pleasure to work with you, sir.”
James Bond producer, Barbara Broccoli, said: “You certainly had an auspicious start to the Bond films, propelling down that rope in Blofeld’s volcano in 1967 in ‘You Only Live Twice.’ You’ve cooperated with us on so many Bond films and I’m very grateful to you.”
Fellow Bond producer Michael G. Wilson, said: “Vic, you shared our philosophy when it came to stunts, and that was you did as much as you could for real. You were a one stop shop — you secured the locations, you designed the stunts, you ensured they were shot with style and pace, you were a true collaborator with the director. Sequences like the motorcycle chase in Thailand on ‘Tomorrow Never Dies,’ the boat chase on the Thames that opened up ‘The World is Not Enough’ and the car chase on ice, that was something, for ‘Die Another Day.’ They were some of the most iconic Bond moments.”
Pierce Brosnan added: “We have some many great moments of you and I in saving the world in the great realm of James Bond movies. One’s that I will cherish in my heart forever and being in your company.” Brosnan said of McTiernan: “’Nomads’ was our first film together. You took off like a rocket, an exquisite director, great alchemy you bring to the screen.”
Kudos for McTiernan continued from Alec Baldwin, who said: “In his one acting lesson he gave me when we were shooting ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ that still rings in my ears today, as I was fiddling with everything was ‘Can’ t you just stand there and do nothing?’ And you know what John, you were right. Now when I do a movie and directors says come through the door or make an espresso or something, I say ‘No. I think I’ll just stand here and do nothing’. It was a great honor to work with the great John McTiernan — when they give you the award, just stand there.”
Jan de Bont, DoP on “Die Hard” and “The Hunt for Red October,” said: “With these movies you were able to reinvent, re-energize and re-activate American action movies as they should be. Your incredible perseverance meant you would do anything to make you vision come across. You are the absolute perfect choice for this award as your movies finally got film-goers excited again about action movies.”
Michael Tadross Sr., producer on “Die Hard with a Vengeance” and “The Thomas Crown Affair,” said: “You can’t BS him — he’s an unbullshittable director. John McTiernan is a genius, he’s brilliant, one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known in my life and he’s a friend. Congratulations McT.”
Festival co-director Julian Alcantara said: “It’s been a stunning couple of days, with two more to go, crowned with John McTiernan winning one of our inaugural, and specially designed, Moving Target awards. ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Predator’ are two of the most iconic, universally loved and adrenaline fuelled films ever to be made and set the bar for future movies in the genre. Stuntman and action director Vic Armstrong’s award is indicative to what he has brought to the movie business over the years. Being the stunt double for the likes of Harrison Ford in ten movies including the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series, and stunt coordinator on practically everything, it is more than well deserved.”
The festival continues this weekend with a host of panels, screenings and Q&As, including Corin Hardy showcasing footage from season two of “Gangs of London”; McTiernan 35 a Q&A after a anniversary screening of “Preator”; director Simon West on “Con Air” after a 25th anniversary screening; MARV screening exclusive footage from “School Fight”; and Proof Inc. demonstrating a masterclass in special effects from “Jurassic World Dominion”; and several other events at Picturehouse Central.