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Point Break – Wingsuit Flying

Director Ericson Core’s aim for adrenaline pumping, heart stopping action and excitement in his re-make of the 1991 film Point Break really hit the mark. The movie is filled with scenes of extreme athletes in action, and Core chose to take a risk to honor these athletes by avoiding fake, green screen stunts. He wanted to be as authentic as possible. In what is possibly the most exciting scene in the movie, real wingsuit pilots, among the best of the best, jump off of a cliff in Switzerland, flying at more than 145 miles per hour through a narrow crack in the Earth.

Preparation for this shot began about a year before filming, and Core hired professional sky diver Jeb Corliss to help select the wingsuit athletes that were best equipped to handle the jump. To ensure safety and success, close to 60 practice jumps were necessary, and Corliss says, “There was never a rush to get the shot or make someone do something that they weren’t 100% comfortable with.” Regardless, wind and weather cannot be controlled, therefore these athletes had to be as experienced as possible.

Between the four pilots and one camera man are 17,000 sky dives, twenty years of experience, with a total of 1,000 BASE jumps and thousands of wingsuit jumps each. These guys are among the best in the world. Corliss admits that despite their experience, the sequence was terrifying to shoot. Any accident, however minute, would be a matter of life or death. All of the athletes finished the scene “without so much as a broken toe”.

Corliss stresses that none of these athletes are adrenaline junkies that enjoy fear, it’s about figuring out “what’s worth taking the risk for”. Ericson Core’s aim at shooting real athletes, doing what they love proves to be a risk worth taking.

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