Niagara Gazette

July 15, 2013

Lewiston pilot does daredevil stunts for top movies

By Michele DeLuca michele.deluca@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It was a matchup right out of a Hollywood movie.

About eight years ago Kelly Mac, owner of Mac Fitness Studio in Lewiston, was working on a back lot in Hollywood, making a zumba fitness video, when during a break she met a handsome stunt pilot named Craig Hosking, working on the film “Get Smart.”

“I thought, ‘Why would he be interested in little old me when you have so many pretty people to look at,’ “ Mac said, laughing.

But, as fate has it, he was very interested in looking at Kelly. 

“She’s just a striking and beautiful woman,” he said in retelling the story recently, “What single guy wouldn’t be interested?”

After a first date they didn’t see each other for six months, busy with their Hollywood lives, but then he called her and invited her to a wrap party for the film “Batman Begins,” on which he had just finished working. He only told her at the last minute — after a long conversation during which she agreed to join him — that the party was in Chicago, not Los Angeles.

It was a slight bit of trickery, but he had an airline ticket sent to her the next day and “the rest is history,” he said. They are married now, with residences in Lewiston, Los Angeles and Park City, Utah.

While some people were stretched out on lawn chairs watching fireworks during the recent Independence Day weekend, Hoskings was creating a few explosions of his own on the set of the newest film being produced by Stephen Spielberg, called “Need for Speed.”

With a list of movie credentials as long as your arm, including “Resident Evil,” Live Free or Die Hard,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Lone Ranger,” his skills can be seen in a YouTube video where he takes off and lands in an upsidedown plane.

Just about to head out the door with his flight crew, he took a few moments recently to answer a few questions about about his life as a daredevil in the air.

QUESTION: So, what is your latest project about?

ANSWER: It’s a movie called “Need for Speed.” It’s a (Steven) Spielberg produced DreamWorks movie about a video game come to life. The gamers all know this title already. It’s a really popular car race game. In this case, it’s coming to life as a real time car race across the country, from New York City to Los Angeles. They’ve picked some gorgeous sites along the way.

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Q: What’s your job on this film?

A: I film all the aerial pieces of the movie, so anything to do with helicopters, either in the movie shot from above, or as a stunt. This morning we were filming a car that hits a canyon wall and it did a big flip over three other other vehicles and there was a big explosion.

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Q: That sound’s like something kids would really like, and grown men as well.

A: You are exactly right.

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Q: Are you the flyer or are you the camera guy?

A: I’m flying the helicopter. I work as a pilot. Hooked to the nose of the helicipoper is a camera. The camera man sits besides me and we’re the ones capturing the image.

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Q: Do you have to fly pretty low to get the shots?

A: Today, I was just about five feet above the river next to the canyon.

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Q: So, you are not just shooting an adventure, you are living an adventure?

A: Yeah. Exactly. In this movie we’ve also been a California Highway patrol helicopter chasing one of the cars. This afternoon I’ll be doing a big stunt. I’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement so I can’t say what it is, but I’ll be doing an on-camera stunt with a big Sikorsky helicopter.

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Q: Do you have fun doing these stunts or is it very serious work?

A: I absolutely have fun, but there is danger involved. You manage each item of risk as it comes. If there is a concern something might come apart in the explosion, with our knowledge of special effects, we manage the risks of what’s going on with the aircraft. We basically analyze every single thing that could go wrong and then try to mitigate or reduce the consequences.

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Q: It’s an interesting business to be in. How did you get started?

A: A generation before me, guys in Hollywood used to use my dad’s helicopters from a charter operation he had. I moved to LA from Salt Lake City in 1987 to pursue the business. In all of Hollywood there’s about five guys that do what I do. We probably control 90 percent of the business.

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Q: Are you always the most popular person at a cocktail party

A: We’re never at a loss for things to talk about.