NCIS Underwater stunt - RequiemThis is a featured page

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Diamond Farnsworth, the stunt co-ordinator for NCIS and Mark Harmon's stunt double was nominated for a 2008 Emmy Award for his work on this episode.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
1) This is what we call a sweeps stunt. The Nov. 6 episode of NCIS (CBS, 8 p.m.) begins with Gibbs (Mark Harmon, pictured) trapped in a submerged car with an unconscious young woman, and Tony (Michael Weatherly) diving into the water to save them. Of course, how Gibbs and the girl came to be sitting on the floor of the Washington Channel is a mystery that unfolds throughout the episode. But we were able to get NCIS stunt coordinator Diamond Farnsworth to tell us how the actors shot the memorable scene. In an 18-foot deep tank. Sucking air out of hookah lines. Read on…
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
8) Gibbs' steering wheel breaks and pins him inside the car. Even Farnsworth, who spent a day in the driver's seat testing the stunt and filming long shots as Harmon's double, admits it was an eerie feeling. ''You get in the car, the steering wheel comes across your lap, you take your mask off, you take the regulator out of your mouth, and the doors are shut. It'd be like somebody puttin' you in a coffin.''
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
2) There were 32 pages of storyboards for the stunt. ''On a [difficulty] scale of 1 to 10, I would have to give this stunt a good 8,'' Farnsworth says. ''Being underwater is like dealing with fire. You never know what could happen.''
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
9) Safety divers, like the one positioned in front of the car, are always watching. So as not to confuse fine acting with genuine distress, the actors had a signal to use if they found themselves in real danger. ''You take your hand and you wave it underneath your throat. Like Cut!,'' Farnsworth says. ''That's the sign for 'I need out of here.''' Because automatic locks really do short out and lock the doors when a car is submerged, Farnsworth had all locks removed on the vehicle for added safety.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
3) The actors don't look too worried. Harmon's a former lifeguard; Weatherly (right) swims and snorkels.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
10) Weatherly awaits his cue. To prepare for his physically demanding shoot, the actor dropped by Farnsworth's home to run drills in his pool. ''He'd take the regulator out of his mouth, swim the distance of the pool, come back, get air, put the mask on, take the mask off, take a big gulp of air, and swim the distance again,'' Farnsworth says.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
4) The actors spent a full eight-hour day in the tank. Rather than come to the surface after each shot for direction (what they're getting here), they stayed below for 30 minutes at a time. ''We used hand signals,'' Farnsworth says. ''Turn your finger — rolling. Point to Mark — action.'
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
11) How intense was Weatherly's workout? ''Try to swim with all your clothes on and take somebody all the way up to the surface who's supposed to look like they're dead,'' Farnsworth says. Then imagine doing that for multiple takes. ''I noticed on some of the shots, [the actress] would run out of air, so she'd start to kick her feet to go a little faster,'' Farnsworth adds, with a laugh. ''You can't use that one, of course.''
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
5) Each actor had two safety divers assigned to him. Here, one of Harmon's helps him into the car. The actor breathes through a hookah line, a 25-foot hose that runs from an oxygen tank to a regulator, which is placed into his mouth.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
12) ''Michael really impressed me,'' Farnsworth says. ''He had to swim down to the car, pull the windshield out, pull each of the people out.... I bet he slept very good that night.''
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
6) As Harmon enters the car, he'll switch his hookah line to one of the six installed in the vehicle. When it's time for the camera to roll, he'll take the line out of his mouth and stow it underneath his leg. ''You sit on it so you know where it is at all times,'' Farnsworth says.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
13) ''He's happy,'' Farnsworth says of Harmon. ''I think it's almost over.''
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
7) What's harder than holding your breath for 30 seconds? Having to act while holding your breath for 30 seconds. Harmon tries to revive his passenger (Cameron Goodman). The black hose at the top of the photo is one of the floating hookah lines for Weatherly to use while filming his rescue attempt.
NCIS Underwater stunt - Requiem - NCIS
14) In his 40-year career, Farnsworth (left) has doubled for everyone from Sylvester Stallone to Lee Marvin. What's the secret to subbing for Harmon? ''You're gonna have to have short hair,'' Farnsworth says. ''I like long hair, but I did 10 years of JAG, so I'm used to it.''


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