Volvo’s truck division is giving Citroën a run for its money these days, producing marketing videos that show off the innovative technology of their FH series trucks. The latest one to go viral shows Jean-Claude Van Damme performing an astounding physical feat by doing the splits between two Volvo trucks moving parallel to each other in reverse!
“The stunt is real and is performed in just one take,” said Anders Vilhelmsson, public relations manager for the Volvo Trucks brand. “It’s a daring stunt but we had full control. There was never any real danger involved.”
Van Damme, 53, was hooked to safety lines that aren’t visible in the film, and each foot is on a small platform that was built on the trucks’ side mirrors. Van Damme’s feet aren’t secured to the mirrors, video director Andreas Nilsson said, “but we had him rigged so that if he would fall off he wouldn’t die obviously. We didn’t want to be responsible for killing the Muscles from Brussels.”
The stunt, meant to advertise Volvo Trucks’ new dynamic steering system, has drawn more than eight million views on YouTube since the video was posted on Nov. 13.
It was filmed by Nilsson on a closed-off airstrip in Spain called Ciudad Real, located just south of Madrid. Prior to filming, the production team rehearsed the stunt for three days. The final version had to be completed within just 15 minutes – from 8:05 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. – when the sunlight was just right.
“The film you see is the first take. But obviously we had tons of rehearsals,” Nilsson said. “The tension was really high. I saw a tough stunt coordinator swell up after we nailed it. That might actually be the nicest memory from the shoot.”
Nilsson said the drivers of the trucks played key roles. “What they did is fantastic. I don’t know if you have tried to drive backwards with a truck but it’s not the easiest thing,”
Last year Volvo produced a stunt with record-holding highliner Faith Dickey battling to cross the line between two speeding FH trucks. The stunt was set up to show the stability of its new FH model truck and was filmed on an unopened highway in Croatia in cooperation with Hollywood stunt director Peter Pedrero (James Bond, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean.)
As an added bonus, here is a video demonstrating the impressive Volvo FH braking system.