Brazilian Leticia Bufoni took to the sky in California at the end of August for a cinematic stunt in the vein of the ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie franchises as the skateboarder unveiled a trick at 9,000ft (2,750m) high for ‘Sky Grind.’
Bufoni has carved out a reputation as one of the best global skaters with six X Games golds to her name, three silvers, and three bronzes as well as being the first woman signed to the Nike SB team. For this project, the São Paulo native hopped on an airplane used in the ‘Fast & Furious’ films and made history with a distinctive trick shot by the aerial cameraman from the film ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout.‘
Leticia intensified her physical training in the months leading into the stunt at Aerotelier – Red Bull‘s aerosport base in Argentina – by skydiving more than 100 times to prepare for this challenge. She was trained by Jeffrey Provenzano, the American skydiver who won the Vertical Relative Work World Cup Championship, is the owner of several world records, and is also a member of the Red Bull Air Force.
When Bufoni finally felt ready, she traveled in late August with more than 50 people from the production and shooting crew to shoot in a tailor-made skatepark inside a C-130 Hercules airplane. California Skateparks founder Joe Ciaglia, who built the skatepark used in the Tokyo Olympics, has known Bufoni for more than 10 years and built the first skatepark designed inside an airplane. Wearing a parachute of almost 20 pounds (9.1kg), she skateboarded and jumped on August 30, and was captured by Craig O’Brien, the same cameraman that jumps with Tom Cruise in ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout.’
Bufoni nailed the feeble grind – a difficult trick that combines a 50/50 and boardslide trick – where she slid on the handrail leaning by the side of a truck on the back of the skate in the air. To portray this achievement in breathtaking Hollywood style, the project also employed the same Panavision camera lens that iconic writer/director Quentin Tarantino shoots his films with.
The 29-year-old enthused: “It’s crazy to think that I’m the first person to skateboard inside a plane and do a feeble in the air. That’s something I didn’t know if it was possible or not. I’ve never skateboarded on an airplane. That was one of the greatest days of my life.”
O’Brien revealed: “For me, it is just a matter of timing, to take a step on that ramp at the right time. If I was there too soon, she would be too far and would be too small on the take, and that’s not what we want. And if I was there much later, she would pass the camera, and I didn’t want to look at her by my shoulders. I wanted to look at her on the plane.” Provenzano added: “As a skydiver, she is amazing. I was surprised. Athletes tend to learn fast, but she was beyond expectations. She gave 100% of attention to all of the details.”
The Abdala Brothers (Salomão and André), who directed the project, explained: “To bring a little more of this cinematographic vision, we wanted to have many cameras attached to the plane, in this way the audience can feel the wind hitting it and see that all of it was real. We developed two supports outside, one for the wing, which we would film not only the propeller, but the take-off and vibration, and the other one on the back, which was harder to build because it was too curved.”
You can also take a peak behind the scene in a video below.
Cover photo: Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool