Red Bull Athletes Tapped for 'Point Break' Movie

Jon DeVore of the Red Bull Air Force takes us behind the scenes of the action-packed remake.
Red Bull Air Force Member Jon DeVore Flying a Wingsuit
Jon DeVore flies in Arizona © Michael Clark/Red Bull Content Pool
By Kevin McAvoy

The re-imagination of the 1991 adrenaline-fueled classic “Point Break” hits theaters in the US on Christmas day, and there are more than a few of us who can’t wait to see what wild antics the updated Bodhi and Johnny Utah get into in the film. We’ve all seen the teasers and stunt-sequence previews, so it’s obvious that (thankfully) the proper steps were taken to ensure that the action is legit (at least most of it, of course — it is “Point Break” after all).

So how do you go about attaining that legitimacy? You call on the most talented athletes in the sports you’re portraying, and when it comes to wingsuit flying, that leads you straight to the Red Bull Air Force. Jon DeVore, aerial coordinator of the RBAF for the last 13 years, was tapped to work on the film, so we had a chat with him for some behind-the-scenes info on the much-anticipated remake. What was your role in the project?

Jon DeVore: On the "Point Break" movie I was lucky enough to be able to wear two hats. I was the Aerial Stunt Coordinator and I also did stunts in the aerial sequences. I doubled Utah in the wingsuit sequence (in the blue wingsuit) and I also did the money drop scene where we chased pallets out of a C130 aircraft.

Who were the other flyers?

For the wingsuit sequence the flyers were Michael Swanson, Julian Boulle, Noah Bahnson and myself, with two outside camera flyers — Jhonathan Florez and James Boole.

How long did it take to plan everything you needed to do for the project?

As the Aerial Coordinator I came on the job almost one year before we began shooting. There was a lot of planning that lead up to the final product.

How long did it take to film your sequences?

For the actual action, we did one week of rehearsal at a drop zone in California, one week of rehearsal in Switzerland alone with none of the production crew around and then we shot for 3-1/2 weeks in Switzerland (about 60 wingsuit BASE jumps). We also shot for one week in Arizona doing the money pallet scene.

How fast were you flying?

I assume you’re referring to the wingsuit sequence. We were flying at around 120mph forward speed. In the mountains speed is your friend!

What precautions were put in place to keep everyone safe?

It started by assembling one of the best teams in the world. Very few people have experience flying formation proximity so it was important to have those flyers on the project. After the team was assembled, the next step was to create a storyboard of shots that we knew would be visually amazing but didn’t put anyone in too dangerous of a place. Once we knew what shots we were after we did extensive rehearsals in a normal skydiving environment.

The most important safety measure we took was to have no pressure. The film crew gave us a ton of respect and space. They were amazing in allowing us to take our time on every shoot, change shots if needed and they didn’t pressure us to do anything we weren’t comfortable with.

How was the premiere and what did you think of your scenes in the final film?

The premiere was amazing! A group of us were able to do an amazing demo onto Hollywood Blvd. right in front of the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theater. Being able to do a live show to prove to everyone that our stunts are for real was icing on the cake! The aerial sequences in the movie were perfect. I couldn’t be happier.

Watch stunts by DeVore and fellow Red Bull athletes Mike Swanson, Chris Sharma (climbing), Ian Walsh (surfing) and more in "Point Break" in theatres starting on Christmas day.

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