Meet Joe Black is known for three things: 1) being three hours long, 2) it’s the movie that played after the Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace trailer, and 3) the unintentionally hilarious scene where Brad Pitt gets hit by not one, but two cars, like a tennis ball being smacked by the world’s fastest rackets. The clip went viral earlier this month when Twitter user Rose O’Shea declared it “the most bonkers one minute of a movie that I have ever seen.”
The scene’s making-of is equally bonkers.
Vulture spoke to Meet Joe Black‘s stunt coordinator Buddy Joe Hooker and special-effects coordinator Robert Devine about how they helped make cinema history. (Can you name another movie that involves peak-hotness Brad Pitt getting thumped by a van AND a taxi while wearing an ill-fitting suit? You can’t.)
Hooker originally wanted to use a stunt double for the scene, but “producers kept putting things off,” he said, so he had to come up with a different plan. “Instead of using a real person, we can use an articulated dummy that has all the joints, fingers — everything works like a real human being,” Hooker explained. “We can have a mold made of Brad Pitt’s head, that they can put on the dummy, and perfect, real glass eyes. You can’t really tell the difference.”
Now they just had to make the dummy…
“When we were first molding him, we shook hands, and he just said, ‘I wanna ask one favor. Please guarantee me when this is done you’ll destroy every single head and body so that…’ I had a feeling he didn’t want love dolls of himself turning up on eBay… We laid down plastic. You don’t wanna hurt their skin, so I devised a method: use a unitard. And then I found that the best release agent, so the bandage doesn’t stick, is baby shampoo. So you then brush that all over the unitard while they’re standing there.