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Local stunt team hand-picked for Jason Statham blockbuster

Originally published in the Daily Telegraph:

WORKING in the water for up to 14 hours, being rigged up to wires and fighting off a killer shark — this was all in a day’s work for five Fairfield locals who flew to New Zealand in December to film the American blockbuster movie called Meg.

Maria Tran, Phillip Kane, Joshua Tieu, Jimmy James Pham and Natalie Siri were hand-picked for the international stunt team on the $150 million action-horror film ­starring Jason Statham.

In the film Stratham plays a former naval captain and diver who is recruited for a deep-sea mission to rescue Chinese scientists under attack from the 70-foot white shark.

Martial artist Tran said she and the team were thrilled to be selected.

“It was amazing to see a lot of the majority of the Sydney stunt team were from the Fairfield area,” she said.

“We got a chance to meet up with teams from China, New Zealand, Hong Kong — all over the place.”

Natalie Siri, Jimmy James, Maria Tran and Phillip Kane at the Prairiewood Leisure Centre. Picture: Robert Pozo

The crew worked with award-winning stunt co-­ordinator Allan Poppleton.

“Because our area is so physical and we have a desire to get into the film industry and do action work — it was a dream,” Tran said.

The team prepared at pools in Prairiewood, Fairfield and Cabramatta, and training included treading water while holding 8kg weights.

Tran said she was unable to swim prior to signing up for the project.

Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in a scene from the 8th Fast & Furious film The Fate of the Furious. Picture: Matt Kennedy

Cabramatta’s Phillip Kane said he was excited to be part of the action film.

He said the first week of the three-week stint in New Zealand involved training in wire and water work, while scenes were filmed in a “massive studio pool” with pontoons, pneumatic cranes and hundreds of extras.

“It’s amazing to be part of a big-budget film,” Kane said. “I recently graduated from acting school, and to land a gig like this and go overseas was eye-opening.

“It just shows, we’ve got the quality actors and the skills — we can represent.”

Meg is set for a 2018 release and features popular Chinese actor Li Bingbing, The Office’s Rainn Wilson and Australians Ruby Rose and Jessica McNamee.


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