General News

Spider-Man stunt double happy with show's safety overhaul

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May 23, 2011 | 5:00am EDT

Chris Tierney, who is a stunt-double for the Spider-Man character in the flying scenes, almost died after falling 30 feet (9.1 meters) from a ledge on the stage when crew members failed to secure his harness properly.

He suffered three broken vertebrae and four ribs and fractured his elbow and skull.

But the brave performer is back onstage after undergoing four months of intense rehabilitation and rest.

Recalling the moment his life flashed before his eyes, Tierney tells U.S. news show Nightline, "I went out for the jump. I'm contained by my tether and that's why I'm always... (thinking), 'It will stop me,' and so... I always go for it. I didn't factor in somebody's mistake... I took a dive, but it was worth it."

The stuntman insists he has no qualms about flying above the audience as Broadway's Spider-Man, thanks to the new safety precautions: "I can go 40 miles per hour, 45 miles per hour. I can also change the speed of how I fly and the impetus and how I go."

New director McKinley, who was drafted in to solve the much-maligned show's problems after Julie Taymor quit in April (11) insists past productions like London's Ben Hur and hundreds of circus spectaculars have stood him in good stead for Spider-Man.

He tells the news show, "Directing the circus told me about how to, you know, work with and collaborate with large numbers of people."

Spider-Man has re-opened for previews after producers shut the musical down in April (11) following months of bad reviews and safety issues, which resulted in injuries for a handful of cast members.

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