At the tip of the 1991 film Thelma & Louise, the 2 main girls — fugitives cornered by authorities within the Grand Canyon — determine towards surrendering and as an alternative drive off a cliff. One of cinema’s most iconic endings wasn’t filmed within the nationwide park in Arizona, however not for lack of attempting.
“We didn’t want to encourage people coming into the canyon doing what was done in the movie, so we declined it,” stated Maureen Oltrogge, a longtime spokeswoman for the nationwide park who retired in 2014. Nevertheless, Oltrogge stated at the very least two folks took their very own lives by driving over the rim of the Grand Canyon after the film was launched, pondering it was filmed there.
The panorama in and round one of many world’s seven pure wonders has a protracted historical past of stunts being staged — or turned down. An acrobat, a magician and total daredevils are amongst those that have approached Grand Canyon National Park through the years with visions of a made-for-TV second.
The newest deliberate feat can be Tuesday (Sept. 25) when actor Will Smith celebrates his 50th birthday by bungee leaping from a helicopter. While it’s been billed as a leap “in the heart of the Grand Canyon,” it really will happen over a smaller gorge on the Navajo Nation, a tribe whose reservation borders the east rim of the nationwide park.
Getting permission to movie or stage one thing within the Grand Canyon means assembly lots of standards. Among the outrageous proposals the park has declined was within the 1990s, when now-deceased artist Ron Nicolino collected 1000’s of bras that he needed to string throughout the Grand Canyon. The park stated no. Grand Canyon spokeswoman Kari Cobb stated Smith didn’t strategy the park for the bungee bounce, but it surely wouldn’t be allowed anyway. She stated the park is accountable for defending its property.
“It’s everything relating to safety, impacts to visitors and impacts to the resources,” she stated. Oltrogge stated different filming tasks have been turned down due to their measurement, the impression to tourism and since they didn’t align with the park’s instructional values. The park additionally has rejected requests for ride-along felony justice applications, and to launch jet engines from rim to rim.
Todd Berger, writer of It Happened at Grand Canyon, says the earliest-known publicized stunt he can recall from his analysis of the Grand Canyon was an airplane touchdown close to Plateau Point within the early 1920s. Ellsworth Kolb and a swashbuckling pilot took off from the plateau under the South Rim and “spiraled” up and out of the canyon in entrance of huge crowds and cameras.
The Grand Canyon is alluring for promotional objective as a result of it’s “world-famous, spectacular and scary to most people,” Berger stated in an electronic mail. In 1999 and 2011, Robbie Knievel, the son of stunt performer Evel Knievel, and Swiss aviator Yves Rossy, respectively, approached Grand Canyon National Park with requests to leap a part of the canyon and soar over it in a jet swimsuit.
After being rejected, each males went to the Hualapai Tribe, whose reservation stretches 100 miles (160 kilometers) alongside the Grand Canyon’s west rim. The tribe agreed, and each efficiently accomplished their feats. The Hualapai additionally allowed illusionist Criss Angel in 2010 to be shackled and locked inside a crate that was suspended over the sting of the Grand Canyon.
The tribe is best-known for its Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that juts over the canyon overlooking the Colorado River. The tribe’s Grand Canyon Resort Corp. stated any occasion should be respectful of Hualapai tradition and in line with its model. “Our Tribal Council would need to approve any proposal, and that’s a high bar,” CEO Colin McBeath stated in a press release. “We want to protect the canyon and the businesses we have worked so hard to establish and grow.”
Robert Bravo Jr., a tribal member who has served because the company’s chief government and as a member of its board, stated the stunts had been a solution to showcase to the tribe to the world. Special permission for filming and pictures additionally is required. “They were necessary to really promote what we have and who we are,” he stated. “But now that we’re on the map, it’s not as much of a necessity.”
One request the Hualapai declined was when aerial artist Nik Wallenda needed to stroll a tightrope over the canyon in 2013. Bravo stated it was too dangerous. “The canyon is very sacred and very spiritual to the Hualapai people, and God forbid something happen to him while he’s out there,” he stated. Wallenda ended up getting permission from the Navajo Nation to stroll a 5-centimeter-thick metal cable 1,476 toes (450 meters) over the Little Colorado River gorge, simply east of Grand Canyon National Park. The roughly 22-minute act was broadcast reside on the Discovery Channel.
That is the place Smith can be making his massive leap. Navajo Nation spokesman Mihio Manus stated any stunt or filming challenge within the tribe’s Little Colorado River park requires a particular allow. Applicants define their plans and fill out paperwork. If a division supervisor approves, they discuss in regards to the scope of the occasion and placement. Environmental and wildlife officers additionally weigh in earlier than a allow might be issued and a payment assessed.
Manus declined to touch upon Smith’s bounce. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor teamed up with charity web site Omaze to make his bungee bounce a fundraiser. The web site launched a lottery for a fan to be chosen to witness the bounce and meet Smith. Attempts to achieve Smith have been unsuccessful.