Field Report: Paul Walker
Paul Walker is living proof that actors have more fun. By Michael Benoist
||Actor Paul Walker filming Eight Below in British Columbia.
Actor Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious, Into the Blue), 32, picks his projects the way the rest of us pick vacations, diving in the Bahamas, surfing in Baja California, paddling Czechoslovak white water. The new Disney Antarctic survival epic, Eight Below (in theaters February 17), earned him three months in British Columbia and some world-class dogsled lessons to boot.
Got any tips for aspiring mushers?
Watch your team closely. If any one dog screws up, the entire group will turn on him. If a dog starts dragging its feet, that's a pretty good indication that it has to relieve itself. Put on the brakes fast or you'll be sorry.
Did you have a chance to hit the B.C. powder?
Yeah, I boarded almost daily at the Mount Smithers terrain park. When production found out, they tried to shut me down. I said, "Look, if you want one miserable guy on set, tell me I can't snowboard."
Did you stop?
No. I just stayed on the ground and kept it away from the halfpipe.
Who gets more face time in the film, you or the dogs?
Definitely the dogs.
Into the Blue was filmed in the Bahamas. The upcoming Running Scared was filmed in Prague. Do you always choose projects by their location?
Whenever I can get away with it.
Is that how you maintain all of your outdoor hobbies?
It's the only way I can maintain sanity while working. Even if it is only one day off, I try to maximize it. If I'm in the snow, I'm snow boarding. If I'm in the ocean I'm diving. When I was in Prague, they had a river running right through the middle of town. I think it was built for Olympic training for kayaking. So I tried kayaking.
Did you pick up kayaking pretty easily?
I think the first pass I ended up going down almost the entire course upside down. I was so stubborn I wasn't going to pop the bib to where I could get up and get out. I swallowed a lot of water, but kept trying to upright myself. I probably should have practiced it in flat, but I was so anxious I just got in and went for it.
No flat-water work?
No, I just went right at it. Everyone was laughing of course. I got beat up pretty good. My head was bouncing off everything. I had a helmet on, though, so it wasn't anything too severe. It definitely rung my bell though.
If you weren't an actor, how would you maintain this lifestyle?
I would probably be a stuntman or a tramp. Stay three months here, four months there. It doesn't take a lot of money if you do it right.
Photograph courtesy of Chris Large/Buena Vista Pictures Distribution and Winking Productions GMBH & Co. KG
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