Dave Morizot answers
his fans most burning questions
 9/08/01
I have several questions from a young girl named Nola Donnato. She signed your guest book, here's her questions: 

Hello Mr. Morizot. I wanted 2 ask you about what it was like 2 work with the horses? I really love them, and you had a lot of them 2 work with. Did you or Matthew have any favorites? I read somewhere, that Matthew hurt himself on a horse, when the show first started. Is this true?

Well, Nola, the horses in Lithuania weren't very well trained, but I'm a big horse fan, and it's always fun working or playing around them!  It was quite a challenge finding the right horse for the actors to use, and then get the actors comfortable with them.  The Russian stunt team did the majority of the riding and stunts on the horses, and we were very lucky to have a LIthuanian stuntman named Gierdres Nagys (he preferred to be called "Gee") on staff because he had trained horses all his life. 

He also had the equivalent of a Master's degree in Equestrian Science from the Lithuanian University, so he was a world of help in that area, as well as being a great friend!  (Incidentally, he and Barbara Griffin, Marion from the 2nd-4th season, ended up getting married, and he now lives and works in her native Ireland!)  John and I would mount up and ride and do stunts whenever we could, but most of the time, we were too busy coordinating so we let Gee just do his stuff. 

Horses are a herd animal, so if you don't start separating them when they are little and getting them used to being independant, it can cause them to be very jittery when they are separated as adults.  This ended up being the main difficulty that we had with them, since we often needed one horse with an actor for any particular shot, and they would be very nervous and would whinny for the other horses alot.  But, we made it through, partially by attatching horse "simulators" to the back of a car and driving through the forrest with the actors "riding" on them so they could perform their dialogue!  Oh, that movie magic! 

No one was injured that first season on horseback, and as far as I know, Matt wasn't injured the second season, but I did hear that a stuntman broke his leg performing a horse stunt in the second season.  It's one of those things that happens, and everyone was alright after a recouperating rest!

On the Lady in Waiting's website, she said that Matthew was hurt in Rage of the Mongols. How did this happen? Did you guys get hurt alot, with all the swords and arrows flying? 

Matt didn't get hurt during "Mongols" that I recall, but he did twist his ankle in "Legend of Olwyn."  Except for the pain he was in, that's actually a pretty entertaining story, from my perspective.  You see, the shot was a pretty complicated one, with over 40 stunt guys attacking the Lockley castle.  I was leading the charge, and we were battering down the front gate.  When it opened, I was hit with a flaming arrow, and I did a fire burn (unfortunately, they decided not to use it in that show, but it did apprear in a dream sequence in "Magic Castle"). 

At the same time, young Robin and his father rode out on the same horse, and the Earl told his son to jump off and run to safety.  Robin didn't want to, but he had no choice.  So, when Matt jumped down, he ran off camera to his left, around a small tree and some bushes, but he jammed his foot between two roots, and twisted his ankle kind of badly.  After the shot was over, and the fire on me was extinguished, John came up to me and asked me to check on Matt, who was sitting a few yards away from everyone.  I went over to him and he told me what happened, and so I looked at his ankle, and yes, it was a little swollen and purple.  The director then told us we had to do the shot one more time, and Matt really didn't want to hold up the shoot day, so he asked me to tape it up for him (something I had done a few times that season already, mainly just for support and not injuries, though). 

So I ran and got my stunt bag with the pre-wrap and tape, and I got to work.  During this, Matt looked at me and and said, "Dave, I really feel like a wimp right now."  I asked him why and he said, "Well, you're still SMOKING from being on fire, and your sitting here taping up MY ankle!"  We had a good laugh, and I assured him that I'd had my ankle taped many, many times myself, and he then gave me what I feel was the best compliment I received that season.  He said, "You know, sometimes I feel like you and John are the only one's who really care about me on this show."  Needless to say, I was very humbled by this, and it was this moment and the fact that we knew how much Matt relied on us that made it such a hard decision to not go back the next season.  I still feel as if I let him down in not returning, but it was just something that became out of our control at that point in time.  I truly treasure the good times we had with Matt, and the work that we did that first season on Robin Hood, and I always will...

What was it like to work with Mr. Hirabayashi in Rage of the Mongols? He really looked like he was in good shape. Did he do all of his own stunts?

 Keith was built like a brick house, and he could fight like no one's business!  As a matter of fact, he was touted as having the fastest feet in martial arts, and he could kick you before you could move!  It was a great pleasure working with him, and I was and will always be a fan of his!  He did every stunt we asked of him, and was capable of doing more, but we just could work any more into the show at that time.  Keith has been in several Karate movies, and to me, he is an icon in the business!

I guess that's it 4 now. Thank you very much for answering my questions. Your fan,
 Nola Donnato.
Thanks Nola!  Hope you have a great day, and that you follow our stunt motto: 
Be safe!

Sincerely,
Dave Morizot

P.S.  Here's a shot of John on one of the horses, when he played King Arthur in "Legend of Olwyn."

 


 
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