Although Arnold Schwarzenegger does many of his own stunts, he's not crazy enough to do a bike jump down into a concrete canal only to speed past a T-1000-driven truck. Arnold is certainly ballsy and may want to attempt some of these wild stunts but the studio executives won't risk their lead action hero get injured. So when they want the Terminator to run from the back of a "vehicle's top speed" truck onto a scary Liquid Nitrogen rig, they call in the world's greatest "expendable": Peter Kent!
TheArnoldFans had the opportunity to interview The Oak's stuntman from roughly 15 Schwarzenegger films. Kent, who sent us a couple of his EXCLUSIVE personal photos, was Arnold's top stuntman since The Terminator!
TheArnoldFans: What stunts did you do in the original Terminator film?
Peter Kent: A bunch of the car driving, like chasing (Kyle and Sarah), when he has the cop car and going backwards through the plate glass window at the nightclub. I had never done stunts before T1 and I had basically lied my way into the business. James asked me if I had ever done stunts before and I thought if I don't say yes to this, I might not have the job and I really wanted it. I mean, I had just arrived from Canada to Hollywood and I was living in the YMCA so I needed the gig and so I had no experience really, what so ever. Then Frank Orsatti, who was the stunt coordinator, who is also now the president of the Screen Actors Guild was the one who was coordinating the show and he looked at me and he said you really have n idea what you're doing, do you? So he took me under his wing. And likewise with Bob Yerkes, he did the swinging across the Galleria scene in Commando and because he had such a big training facility, he took me in and trained me.
TheArnoldFans: How did you first hear of The Terminator?
Peter Kent: When I was living in the YMCA, I used to get up every morning and pick up a little newspaper, a casting paper they used to sell at the 7-11 that had a lot of non-union stuff in it. And because Terminator was a non-union thing, I called the company who asked me to send over a photo. So I did. When I called back later she said 'yeah, we got your photo and by the way, we're doing this little movie here called Terminator so on Friday, can you go by ABC Television Center and see James Cameron the director?' So I walked in and Jim took a look at me and he said, 'yeah, you look perfect.' Then he said, 'Are you canadian?' And I said, 'Yeah, Vancouver' and he said, 'I'm Toronto' and he turns to his secretary and he says, 'Sign him.'
TheArnoldFans: Was the T2 bike jump your most famous stunt?
Peter Kent: It's certainly widely recognized. If you show someone a still of that they instantly know what that is from. The work that I did in that film on the bike is what got me into the Hollywood Stuntman Hall of Fame.
TheArnoldFans: What was it like to wear that Arnold face prosthetic?
Peter Kent: The first time we did it, it was on T2. Jeff Dawn, the make-up artist said to Cameron that we should try this whole concept out. And since I was the double, I was the first guinea pig for it. They put the mask on me and it took almost 6 hours to put it on. Jim looked at me and he's like 'oh, I don't know. Get on the Harley and drive by and we'll see how it looks.' This was at the step-parents house with Toad and Jenelle. He's like, 'Roar past the house a few times on the bike.' So I did but I was basically praying that he was going to say 'I hate it! Because I hated it. I hated wearing it, it was foul. But he was like, 'no, PERFECT, love it. We're going with it.' And I was like ohhh, f**k!
TheArnoldFans: Did you ever have to sleep with the mask on?
Peter Kent: I wore it 66 consecutive days. I never slept with it on. It was glued to your face and your skin would just be excoriated. I'd go in the next day and be like, guys, you can't put this back on me and they'd go, 'yep, it's going back on.' No one cared. It didn't matter if you've got bleeding, pussie wounds on your face, they were glueing it back. I was the first guy ever in the industry to wear it. It was interesting. It wasn't fun but there were shots in T2 were Jim was right on my face in T2, when I did the bike jump off the canal.
TheArnoldFans: Did you hold onto any of these make up pieces or props?
Peter Kent: I have the molds that they made that was used to create the make up pieces but unfortunately, the actual latex masks that I saved, which was soft latex and made to look like skin... it just dried up and turned to dust. But I do have the mold.
Academy Award-wining Terminator make-up artist, Jeff Dawn, just wrote in telling us: "Peter was made up like this dozens of times over several films." Dawn also shared these Last Action Hero make-up photos adding "that was after 2 hours of appliance and wig application."
TheArnoldFans: What's one of you other best or most memorable Arnold stunts?
Peter Kent: Peter Kent: Climbing out of the truck's cab and running across the deck and onto the hood of the Nitrogen truck. It was going about 60 miles an hour and it was all freehand. If I had fallen, I would have been crushed. But it was just such an amazing adrenaline rush! James Cameron and I rehearsed it and rehearsed it until we got it down and then he said, 'okay, we're going to go to lunch.' But I pulled him aside and I said 'I'm not hungry, I don't want to eat, I just want to do this now' and he goes 'okay.' I was just in the mood to do it and Jim and I were in a good working relationship. It was awesome.
Peter Kent: I think Last Action Hero really had some awesome stuff too. I did a drop down the Longbeach Hilton Hotel. It was 18 stories on a wire. That's a full-speed drop. You're literally free-falling until the last couple of stories and then I also did a deadman fall from that elevator on the 18th floor with the concrete below. There's no bag underneath. To look over your shoulder and see the concrete... that's the peril, right? It's a real pucker factor. Your life is on that cable. If that thing snaps, you're toast.
TheArnoldFans: Have any of your stunts gone wrong?
Peter Kent: The one on Eraser. When I got hit by the overseas shipping container drop on Eraser. I was on it and it was supposed to drop us as stunt people fighting on top of it at 100 feet in the air. 20 feet off the deck we had wire on our backs to a vest that would pull us off and the container would smash below you. That way, from a high camera, you can follow the thing right down and it would look like we've ridden it to the ground. But one of the wires didn't cut so now you have 3.5 tons spinning angrily on one axis and i'm going by it on my wire and it just slugged me and hit me into the warehouse wall. Then my wire got all tangled in it and sucked me back in and slammed me again. It broke my collar bone, scapula, top 3 ribs...yeah, it broke me up pretty good. I was lucky to be alive actually. The doctor said if you hadn't had been in such good shape, it would have broken your back or killed you.
TheArnoldFans: I guess you have Arnold to thank for keeping you active and in great shape.
Peter Kent: Yeah, I trained with him pretty much every day, even when I didn't want to. He'd be like 'Peter, we're going to the gym now' and I'd be like, oh come on, you've been doing dialogue all day but i've been getting a shit kicking here. I got to the point when I was really getting abuse and i'd try to sneak off at the end of the day but I knew he'd come looking for me. I was his workout partner.
Peter, 6' 5", would always try to play one character in an Arnold film if he wasn't too swamped with things to do. Now he works quite regularly as an actor in Vancouver. If you look at his IMDB page, he's got about 75 or 80 credits and then another 25 or so as stunt credits. Sadly, he has not been back to LA in roughly 12 years but he was thrilled to attend a recent convention where he just recently reunited with Linda, Michael, Eddie and other great T2 alumni.
Check out Peter's website at www.peterhkent.com and read all about his other cool projects like his book, his stunt school and his other heroic movies! Thanks for the interview Peter!