Olympia’s Brian Reynolds knows what to expect when he takes his daughter to see “The Host,” a science fiction film opening today that’s based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer of “Twilight” fame.
“My assumption is opening night of the movie, there will be one guy in it and a bunch of young girls – and I’ll be the one guy in it,” Reynolds said, laughing.
More importantly, he will almost definitely be the only one in the theater actually in the movie. Reynolds, a stunt helicopter pilot, flew the chrome-plated copter featured in the film.
A pilot since he was 18, the now 50-year-old founder of the Olympic Flight Museum and owner of Northwest Helicopters took a leap into the world of show business in 2007, performing stunts in a Cobra Gunship for “Reno 911!: Miami.”
He also flew a UH-1 Huey helicopter in 2009’s “12 Rounds” and most recently in the “The Host,” where Reynolds spent several weeks in New Mexico piloting a MD 500 helicopter.
Reynolds will be seen again flying the skies in “Man of Steel,” the “Superman” franchise reboot due out this summer.
One of the most difficult parts of stunt work is keeping in the frame, Reynolds said.
“You have to fly close to everything because of the frame,” Reynolds said. “In reality, the frame is very small - you have to crowd things within feet and inches of each other when you do this stuff.”
One of his most memorable scenes from “The Host” involved flying next to a more-than-1,000-foot-tall rock formation dubbed “Shiprock” in New Mexico.
“It’s 1,000 feet tall and straight up and down,” Reynolds said. “Just flying through the middle of that thing and around it was really interesting.
“It was just scary flying kind of close, and you are thinking, ‘Man, that’s a long way down - straight down. If anything happens here, there is no place to go.’”
Patience is also a factor on the set.
Paul Barth, a fellow stunt helicopter pilot based in Florida, has flown alongside Reynolds for years. The two first worked together on the set of “Reno 911!: Miami.” Reynold’s talent in the cockpit was obvious, Barth said.
“I would fly with him to do anything,” Barth said. “We do a lot of air to air, close quarters, right next to each other scenes. ... I have no problem flying with him next to me or me next to him.”
Reynolds didn’t need tips in flying, but Barth provided guidance in the “political and business” side of movie making.
One of the biggest tips: Be patient with directors and production staff.
“I have learned it’s better not to offer suggestions – just sit back and see what they want to do,” Barth said. “Even though it doesn’t make sense sometimes, you are going to be fighting a losing battle if you tell them otherwise.”
One of the most memorable experiences working with Reynolds that Barth recalls was on the set of “12 Rounds.”
Reynolds, the stunt pilot, was flying the helicopter in the place of an actress portraying a pilot. The trick was Reynolds couldn’t be seen in the shot.
“They put him in a spandex black suit,” Barth said. “He’s a big dude, and it was like a ninja; we called him ninja man.
“That thing was so tight and barely fit on him. ... It was the funniest thing.”
Reynolds already has calls for new projects, but hasn’t committed to anything just yet.
He’s interested to see how the scenes from “The Host” will all piece together.
“It’s just different to watch a movie from the inside versus the outside,” Reynolds said. “We flew a helicopter on ‘The Host’ for a week and you are going to see it on film for five minutes.”