Eragon Star Did Own Stunts
Ed Speleers, who stars in the fantasy-novel-turned-film Eragon, told SCI FI Wire that he performed as many of his own stunts as the filmmakers would allow. The 18-year-old English actor hung from wires, rode horses and fought with heavy swords in the movie, which brings Christopher Paolini's 2003 best-seller to the silver screen.
"I had some scary moments, some really scary moments, but I did feel safe through it all," Speleers said in an interview. "I wanted to do as much as they would let me do in all those months in Eastern Europe, and every day I thought to myself, 'Wow, can I do it?' and 'Wow, this is huge!'"
Speleers plays the title role, a young farm boy who discovers what turns out to be a dragon's egg in the woods and finds himself caught up as one of the last dragonriders in a war to overthrow a tyrannous king.
Speleers suffered only one slightly embarrassing injury: chafing from the leather trousers he wore while riding. "The most uncomfortable was probably the armor, but that's to be expected," he added. "You get used to it."
Speleers wasn't allowed to do most of the big jumps the film required. But he did most of his own sword fighting, with the help of a good coach. "It was sword fighting with a bit of a samurai style, and there was a lot of concentration required for that," he said.
Speleers, who lives in the English countryside outside London, already knew how to ride horses and said he worked on a farm for a while to earn some extra money. "I wasn't afraid of horses," he said. "I am very comfortable around them. My back is in agony after a bit of riding."
To prepare for the physical role of Eragon, Speleers spent three weeks prior to shooting training for the fighting and riding scenes. Among other things, he learned how to prop up his heavy sword. "Those swords get very heavy when you're fighting someone, and trying raise it high through a long fight can get painful," Speleers said. Eragon opens Dec. 15. —Mike Szymanski