Saturday 3 December 2016

Meet Marc - Kit Harington's Irish stunt double on Game of Thrones

Published 06/05/2016 | 06:00

Harington in action as Jon Snow in the hit show ‘Game of Thrones'
Harington in action as Jon Snow in the hit show ‘Game of Thrones'

A lifelong fascination with martial arts has helped a young Irishman become one of the world's most in-demand stuntmen.

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Marc Redmond (36) was the stunt double for Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on 'Game of Thrones', but has also worked on such hit TV series as 'Vikings', 'Penny Dreadful' and 'Ripper Street'.

The west Cork native has also worked alongside some of the biggest names in the action film industry including Milla Jovovich, Paul Rudd, Maggie Q and his own personal hero, Jackie Chan.

He now has his own fitness and martial arts training centre in west Cork.

Stuntman Marc Redmond
Stuntman Marc Redmond

"I suppose it is a bit of a dream come true," he said.

"I've been very lucky to work with some fantastic people and I've also had some wonderful opportunities over the past few years."

Stuntman Marc Redmond with Kit Harington in costume
Stuntman Marc Redmond with Kit Harington in costume

Marc joked that stuntmen are basically "the dope on the rope" - but stressed that it takes tremendous fitness, skill, experience and planning to seamlessly carry out some of the intricate stunt work required on the big shows.

"It is a physically demanding job. Sometimes we have to rehearse for days and weeks and carefully go through the choreography for fights and stunts."

Jackie Chan. Photo: Getty
Jackie Chan. Photo: Getty

Marc's mother, Heidi, and her husband, Des Redmond, a well-known singer-songwriter, operate a popular guesthouse outside Skibbereen in west Cork.

Heidi is a German national - and Marc inherited a love of travel.

He still calls west Cork home and loves catching up with friends and local news via 'The Southern Star'.

His obsession with martial arts, in particular the Hong Kong-based action film industry showcased by Jackie Chan, led him to decide at just 19 that he wanted to travel to the Far East.

"It was a great adventure," he said.

"When you are young you don't focus on the drawbacks or the reasons not to do it. Looking back, I suppose I did it the hard way. But I also learned what I needed to learn. I made great friends who are great friends to this day.

"But stunt work in Hong Kong is not easy."

Marc worked in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai for six years building his reputation.

He admitted that his own personal dream was fulfilled when he got to meet Jackie Chan, whose firm was involved in a production on which Marc was working.

Marc then joined Stunt Guild Ireland and his renowned fitness and martial arts experience quickly got him jobs on domestic productions.

It also helped that, in his early years, he had trained as a gymnast, which meant he was ideally suited to film work involving falls, jumps and aerial stunts.

Marc is also an expert in kick-boxing, Taekwondo and Kung Fu as well as parkour (a form of free-running).

Irish Independent

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