‘Chicago Fire’s Stunt Coordinator on How He Keeps the Action and the Flames Blazing
Of all the daredevil tricks that fearless stuntpeople perform, those involving fire can be the most challenging. Rick Le Fevour, stunt coordinator on NBC’s Chicago Fire, makes the flames safe for his cast and crew. Here’s how.
How did you get into the stunt business?
After high school, I met Casey Tibbs, a world champion rodeo cowboy and stuntman. I joined his Wild West Show and spent a year in Japan. Back in the States, he introduced me around and I started doing stunts in movies, doubling for stars like Andy Garcia, Tom Cruise and Tommy Lee Jones. I also worked on ER and stood in for Kyle Chandler on Early Edition.
What does your current job entail?
I break down the action scenes with different departments and our director. Then I hire all the stunt doubles and help choreograph the action to make it exciting and [ensure that] no one gets injured.
Which actors push to do their own stunts?
I’m really lucky. We have some very good athletes, including Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer. Everyone is gung-ho and they’ve been trained well in the fire academy. They’re confident but not overconfident where they would get hurt.
What’s the most ambitious stunt you’ve organized on Chicago Fire?
We had a stuntman get blown out of a window with a fireball behind him and then fall 35 feet to the air bag below. We use very little CG for our fire stunts; 99 percent is actually on camera.
What’s the toughest part about working with fire?
Shooting outside. On the stage we set a level for the amount of fire we want, and it pretty much stays there. But Chicago is the Windy City, so when the wind blows, it can affect our fire.
Are you afraid of anything?
An old stuntman [once] told me that fear was the unknown. Once you know what it feels like to roll a car or be hit with a fireball, that fear is lessened. If you get past that, you can usually do pretty well.