A few days ago, Brentwood resident Luke Kearney and his wife Laura bought a couple of tickets to see the latest Batman thriller, The Dark Knight, and like the rest of the audience, they thrilled to both the Oscar-buzzing performance of the late Heath Ledger and Christian Bale's tormented portrayal of the caped crusader.
But the Kearneys saved their greatest applause for a gravity-defying scene in the film featuring a group of SWAT team officers being hurled off a 40-story building, and abruptly left suspended 200 feet above the ground.
Fantastic scene; best stunt in the movie, said Kearney. And he should know. Kearny was a stunt man in that scene the first officer tossed over the side of the building. For the London-born action adventurer, the stunt is just the latest in a high-flying, fire-burning, chariot-racing career that has sent the professional stunt man around the world rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, attending movie premiers and relishing his good fortune.
It's just the best possible job amazing, really, said Kearney. It's just so much fun.
And far different from the self-described daredevil's first career as a civil engineer.
Well, it's a change, yes, laughed Kearney, a genial, 39-year-old bundle of energy. But I got into this (stunt) business through a friend of mine who encouraged me to give it a try. And I was immediately hooked. It's a nice way to earn a living.
Glamorous? Yes, of course, said Kearney who while on location has his own trailer, make-up and hair people; just like the stars. We are treated just like the other actors, which is very nice.
Indeed, what's not to love? Lunches with Samuel L. Jackson ( Nice man, so down-to-earth ), bar-hopping with Colin Farrell ( I have to say, I think the press gives him a bad rap sometimes. When I was with him he would just sit around with a beer, chatting. He's a very nice man ).
And Johnny Depp? ( So easygoing and loved by everyone. ) Nicole Kidman? ( As beautiful in person as on screen. ) Tom Cruise? Robert De Niro? James Bond's Daniel Craig? ( All great guys. )
I know it sounds like everyone is nice, but they really are, said Kearney. You have to remember that these actors hang out with the stunt guys because they feel comfortable. They know we're not going to bug them, ask them for autographs or anything like that. They know we're here to do a job, too, and that makes them relax.
Then, of course, there are the stunts. Kearney's resum