When: Autumn 2014
Where: Connaught Bridge, Royal Albert Dock, Royal Docks.
What: Livett’s Group helped to plan, co-ordinate and enable the filming of the flagship stunt in the 2016 film Criminal. The scene features a car chase which eventually sees lead actor Kevin Costner stranded on Connaught Bridge. His only escape route? Driving a London black cab off the bridge and straight into the dock…
How: We were involved in this scene from its very inception, initially helping the film’s production team discover and settle on a location in the Royal Docks. Following this, we brokered a deal with the Royal Docks Management Agency (RoDMA) to allow the production team to carry out the stunt – made easier by our superb working relationship with them.
We provided both the safety and camera boats to film the stunt from the water, and crucially coordinated the busy local marine traffic – such as the nearby rowing club, sailing school and other vessels – to make sure the scene could go ahead in a safe environment.
Another team of specialists, Diving Services UK – who we have previously worked with on numerous other projects, including James Bond – were also recruited and were key in how the stunt was executed. The camera boat was positioned in a relatively precarious position under the “splash zone” for the taxi and filming began.
There were two taxis on set, which meant just two opportunities to get it right. After the first crashed into the water, the Driftwood II – the recovery vessel we had provided – had the craneage capability to lift the taxi out of the water. This was achieved thanks to the dive team locating the taxi and hooking it to the crane, allowing the Driftwood II to winch and lift it on to its deck ready to be scrapped. This process took just eight minutes in total – a very fast and very successful operation. The speed of this retrieval allowed the production team to quickly reset the scene and go again for take two.
The entire scene wouldn’t have been possible without our superb relationship with RoDMA and Newham Council. The Royal Docks once again proved to be a safe, excellent location for filming on water in London – and a great place to carry out stunts. Indeed, this was the first example of a stunt of this nature in London. The Connaught Bridge itself proved to be the ideal bridge for the stunt; the backdrop is quintessentially London and all of this was completed twice very successfully and exceeded the production team’s ambitions.
Marine Coordinator Ed Livett commented: “Projecting a taxi off a bridge and into the dock is not something you do every day, but the fact we did it successfully and achieved exactly what the production team was after was a real credit to the marine crew we had there on the day. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!”
Watch a clip (1min into the video):
If you’re interested in finding out more about filming on the River Thames, please visit our River Thames filming page.