If you plan on going to see the new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "The Last Stand," pay close attention to the bad guys because one of them is an Alpena native who plays the role of Eagan and is beginning to make a name for himself on the silver screen.
Tait Fletcher moved to Los Angeles and became a competitive fighter in the Ultimate Fighter Championship, but knowing time in that profession is short-lived he decided to pursue other ambitions, which includes stunt work and acting. Before getting a role in the shoot 'em up thriller Fletcher did stunts in the remake of Red Dawn, Lockdown, Thor and the blockbuster, The Avengers. He also will have a role in the soon-to-be-released reboot of " The Lone Ranger."
Fletcher said he is also going to be in several episodes of the cable show Breaking Bad and is in a unique position because his experience in martial arts and stunts allows him to play roles that require both skills. He said more movie parts and stunt work might be on the horizon and less time in the octagon and cage might be a possibility because as much as he loves organized fighting, he wants to move into a career which is longer lasting.
"It is kind of moving in that direction right now," Fletcher said. "I appreciate that I have been able to move away from just being a fighter. When you fight you start to get older and the injuries begin to take their toll, and I was looking for another avenue and this may be it."
He said his favorite action sequence on the new movie features him jumping from the second story of a building onto a moving bus. He said then there is a choreographed fight with the bus driver. He said it is also his final scene, as he is shot and thrown under the bus. Fletcher said he did get a chance to socialize with Schwarzenegger.
"He is really cool and super approachable," Fletcher said. "He is very funny and just really kind. I didn't get to spend a great deal of time with him, because he was in and out a lot, but he was just super cool."
Fletcher said there is always a certain amount of nerves, adrenaline and excitement before conducting a stunt. He said it is the feeling and the thrill of pulling off the impossible that makes him thrive. He said unlike fighting, when you never know where and when you are going to be hit, stunts are more controlled and therefore there are less surprises.
He said he makes it back to Alpena from time to time, but said the people in Alpena, particularly his friends who he grew up with, helped pave the way for him to excel now. He said one friend, Rory LaFave, lost his life in a car accident years ago and it is his memory that helps him to do what he does now.
"Rory was good looking, smart and athletic and I used to always think to myself that he should be an actor or a stuntman," Fletcher said. "Now there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him ... The people of Alpena are just so genuine and good-hearted. I have so many true friends there. I think of them all the time."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.