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Me & Remo Williams: The Adventure Continues…

Fred Ward always used to say the same thing about the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins…. And it was in his trademark gruff way that he said it. It was:

“Sometimes life comes and hits you in the face like a tire iron… And sometimes, a world of plastic surgery will still be unable to fix the damage.”

Fred would laugh about that for hours and hours, and especially after having a ton of Jacks & Coke at The Beverly Hills Hotel, Fred Segal (lunchtime hours) and Dan Tana’s… He loved to tell stories about the time he worked on another movie with Alec Baldwin where he played a police detective who was after Baldwin, and who consistently left his fake teeth all over the place. Fred loved telling the fake teeth stories and would frequently bring a pair of fake teeth (during the shoot) to local businesses in the Miami Dade area where the movie was being shot at the time. He would leave them all over the place and when he eventually left Miami, the head of the film production office gave him a shirt that said, “Gummy some lovin’!”

If you ever picked up Fred for lunch or something and he walked out with that shirt on, you had to always convince the guy to go back inside the house and change into something a little more “apropriate” for Los Angeles. He hated it.

Well, if you ever saw Remo Williams, you know that Fred Ward plays a police officer who gets killed or maimed or something like that and they bring him back to life but they’ve changed his face and he looks different and now he’s employed (reluctantly) by Wilford Brimley who wants him to take down this syndicate of sorts. But before he can do so, he must train with this ancient Chinese martial arts instructor (think Kill Bill: Volume 2).

The training consisted of some wacky stuff. Being blindfolded and jumping from pole to pole in mid-air… Trying to grab stuff out of the instructor’s hand. The instructor puts Remo through a ton of injury-laden exercises until the character of Remo is ready to go out and do his business.

Fred Ward actually did all his stunts.

He’s got a setup of these poles in his backyard and everytime you go over to his place he wants to show you that, still, “even at my age I can balance and hop from pole to pole with that damn blindfold on”. You half expect the guy to go get the fake teeth, the t-shirt and the blindfold and go to town while you’re sitting on his backyard veranda watching the guy hop from pole to pole.

It’s surreal.

Needless to say, I was recently subjected to Fred’s pole hopping Cirque du Soleil-esque show in his backyard, one sunny L.A. afternoon and must tell you that the guy has not lost it. I half expect him to bring everyone together in the near future at the base of the Statue of Liberty so he can jump around Lady Liberty like he did in “the good ‘ol days.”

Moral of the story? Actors like Fred Ward who kicked ass before can still kick ass today, no matter how many teeth they have in their head or the lack of roles they currently have in mainstream media. All that matters is that Fred Ward is a bad-ass blindfolded pole hopper and he can wear that damn “Gummy Some Lovin'” t-shirt as long as he wants, as long as he never loses his sense of humor.

Sense of humor is key. Especially if you’ve got no teeth.

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