A former firefighter went from battling blazes to setting himself on fire following a drastic career change.
Danny Clifford from Manchester, was inspired to become a firefighter at 18 after witnessing the 9/11 tragedy. But after many years in the service, and some dangerous calls – Danny followed a new path.
Danny, son of the Last of The Summer Wine actor Keith Clifford, decided to follow in his father's footsteps and turned to acting. But he wasn’t prepared to walk away fully from his ‘adrenaline junkie ways’.
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The now 40-year-old has branched into stunt acting, meaning he completes all of his own stunts, no matter how risky or life-threatening they seem. And he hasn't always walked away unscathed.
It comes after Welsh stuntman Jonathan Goodwin recently announced he was suing NBC after he was paralysed after a stunt went wrong on America’s Got Talent. Other cases of stunts gone wrong include Top Gear presenter Freddie Flintoff, who suffered severe facial injuries after an incident involving a three-wheeler open-top car.
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Danny, who was previously named one of "Britain's best bodybuilders", has told the Daily Star: “When I did my first stunt I had to run past one guy, punch him in the face, punch another guy, then rugby tackle this other prisoner who just picked up a gun, disarm him midair while I punch him full force, spin and land on my back. And I had to do like 15 takes over and over.
“I kind of felt like I'm in that element. And then that's when I fell in love with the whole action side of acting. I just thought, right, go for it, I'm just going to go for this stunt thing as well”.
After that Danny threw himself into courses, including an aerial course which he described as feeling like “Superman or the Matrix”. And this is where he had his first stunt gone wrong.
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He explained: “I ran up the wall and as you run up the wall, three guys pull you up on a rope, and you've got these wires tied around you on this harness. And as you take your last step to jump up the wall, your life is in their hands.
“So you're propelled really high and my foot got caught as I did the rotation on the wire. As I went down the rope slipped through one of the guy's hands so the other guy was forced to take all the weight.
“I was about 100 kilos at the time, and I was like two inches away from my face smashing on the floor, I would have broken my neck but immediately after I had to do it again, so I did.
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“So I did the aerial stunts. I did set myself on fire, which was fun. Obviously, being a former firefighter.
“And then there was one time when I did really injure myself. We were doing a training exercise, getting ready for a scene in a film. Basically, this train comes past, I run for the train and dive on as it's going past.
“So the setup was, there was a big steel almost like a trailer on big wheels, and this big climbing rope was getting pulled by about five guys. Take one I land it.”
However, the following takes were not as straightforward. The second time Danny ended up landing on his face, and the third failure left him injuring his ankle, describing it as “blowing up”, putting him out of commission for over three months.
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But none of the bruises, aches, or close calls have ever put him off – Danny says he actually feels safer working stunts than he did in any of his past roles and described other stunt actors as ‘inspirational’.
The 40 year old claims there is no stunt he would refuse to do, no matter how dangerous it appeared. The only reason he would turn it down would be if the stunt coordinator and safety measures were not properly followed.
Danny has just returned from doing stunts for the Disney series 'The Freelancer' and is due to start filming the Brit action film ‘Shelter’ starring Ant Middleton early next year.
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