Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Doing stunts is Manny Siverio's business
Boricua Manny Siverio is a man known for his many talents. He is a stunt man and stunt coordinator, working in the film industry since the early 1980s. He has over 300 film and TV credits.
He’s a mambo dancer, a writer and a martial artist too.
But he says, “The most important thing for me is that I’m a happily married man and father.”
His wife Addie Diaz is a dance choreographer and a dancer.
As a writer, Siverio’s articles have been published at www.salsanewyork.com and he has contributed to various martial arts magazines, including Black Belt Magazine and Karate Illustrated.
Here’s what Siverio had to say about his career in the stunt world:
Q: You’re a professional stuntman. How did you get into that area of work?
A: I’ve always been physically active ever since childhood. I practiced doing fight scenes and filming it with my super 8 camera when I was 12-13 years old. I still have several of these “fight scenes,” which I had quickly slapped together when I was a kid. When I later moved to NY, I was trying to use my martial art background to get work. I finally got my first non-union job as a guy getting killed by this “creature” in this B-Movie, but I think I got my first union gig because they were looking for Hispanics that could box.
Q: Were you ever a stunt double for any well-known Latino actors?
A: I’ve doubled for various people over the years ranging from John Leguizamo to Manny Perez and Michael DeLorenzo to name a few.
Q: Do you ever decide what stunt to do or not to do?
A: The way a stunt is done or executed is decided or put together by a stunt coordinator. I usually coordinate so you can basically say that I decide how a gag is going to happen or going to be executed. Have I turned down a gag that has been offered to me in the past? At this point in my career, I can honestly say that I’ve been able to tackle everything that has been thrown my way. But there are things that I really don’t have any interest in doing any more such as car hits and high falls. I’ve been there and done that. Not to say that I won’t do them if I had to, but it wouldn’t be one of the things that I would list on my stuntman’s top ten list. I rather let the younger people in the business do it. I have more fun putting it together, helping decide where the cameras go and putting the action together so that it best works for the story line in the movie.
Q: You’ve had your share of accidents, broken bones? Have you had any serious injuries?
A: Over the years I’ve injured myself in an assorted number of ways. For example, I’ve had a sprained ankle, bruised ribs, fractured toe, dislocated knuckle, concussion, hernia, broken nose, and stitches.
Q: Does your family ever get scared of what you do? Do they ever question why you picked this kind of work?
A: During my early years, my extended family (mother, father, brother, sister) never really knew what I was doing until after I had worked on a job. Things have changed somewhat over the years since I got married and started raising a family. My wife is extremely happy that I’ve moved into coordinating more than actually working in front of the camera. I still occasionally get an opportunity to play in front of the camera and have gotten somewhat injured. On one occasion I picked up several stitches after going through glass on an episode of Third Watch. And while doing the opening fire burn scene in American Gangster, I got some minor “hot spots” where some skin kind of peeled off on the bridge of my nose and the back edge of my ears. Needless to say, my wife wasn’t exactly too thrilled by these results. But she more or less trusts me to know what I’m doing.
For more information about Manny Siverio’s work, visit his website at www.mannysiverio.com. -- Ismael Nuñez
(photo courtesy of www.mannysiverio.com)