The Newham Recorder interviewed Taurus winner Jaime Blake, the gym teacher from Beckton, East London (a place with its own claim to fame, as parts of the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only were shot at the gas works there) who scooped one of the awards at the Taurus World Stunt Awards in June.
Film fans across the world have seen Jaime Blake, 26, doing a backwards somersault from the top of a ladder over a sword in a burning plane and being blown up.
For Jaime, who was plucked from obscurity for her debut film and had no real stunt training, it was her spectacular performance in this scene in the third act of Die Another Day that earned her the accolade.
She was invited to a Hollywood awards ceremony to mingle with some of the world’s biggest stars while wearing a £10,000 dress. She made a speech before them – and TV audiences in more than 60 countries. The Taurus World Stunt Awards are thought of as the industry’s very own ‘Oscars’.
“Most professional stunt performers spend their whole careers never even getting nominated for the honour,” said Jaime who is a coach at the East London Gymnastics Club in Frobisher Road.
Jaime, and the other two female stunt performers in the scene, jointly scooped the title for the Best Overall Stunt by a Woman. They received a trophy each, worth approximately £10,000, that is 3ft tall.
It is so big and heavy that Jaime has been unable to do much with hers since it arrived at her home in a case secured by three padlocks and a combination lock – except use it as a very expensive doorstop!
Jaime joined the club aged seven. She was a member of the Great Britain squad for five years and competed in countless competitions at home and abroad. For the last eight years she has shared her expertise as a coach at the club.
She received a call through her South London-based sports modelling agency, Twist and Flick, to audition for Die Another Day.
She was amazed to win the role. Jaime, who was given star treatment throughout her time at Pinewood Studios, said: “I had such a great day that, even if I hadn’t got the part, I wouldn’t have been disappointed. It’s not every day that you get to spend time on a film set. That alone was like winning a competition.”
Filming, which took place throughout much of last summer, was a really great experience, according to Jaime. She said she was “treated like a princess”. With the help of make-up and a wig, she was transformed into Halle Berry.
The real Halle was great to work with and very down-to-earth for a Hollywood star, said Jaime.
“She loved watching me do all the back flips and her little daughter loved watching as well.
“When she finished her scenes she waited around and stayed to watch us. Lots of stars wouldn’t do that.”
Jaime said Bond actor Pierce Brosnan is a “really nice, cheeky and very charming” person.
Despite her amazing experiences, Jaime has no plans to leave Newham. She said: “I’m East London through and through. I couldn’t leave the club now. I love teaching so much.
“My feet are firmly on the floor. All this has been an unreal experience. It hasn’t changed me at all. It makes me smile whenever I look back on it all and think about how lucky I was to have done it. But I’m a gym coach!
The film itself, Die Another Day was no stranger to the awards, with nominations in no less than five catagories, but only the “Best Stunt By A Woman” was ultimately won, with more in-depth information to be found here.
With thanks to The Newham Recorder for its news and pictures.