Mark Harmon was never worried about doing his own stunts.
Long before he starred in “NCIS“, Mark Harmon was an eighties heartthrob and movie star. In fact, he was People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1986. And a title like that comes with lots of responsibilities, including doing cool things like your performing your own movie stunts. Luckily, Harmon was up for the challenge. For the 1988 movie, “The Presidio” Harmon did some of his own stunts. He starred in the film alongside Meg Ryan and Sean Connery. For the movie, Harmon plays Jay Austin, a San Francisco civilian police detective who is forced to investigate a series of murders with his former enemy commanding officer (Connery). To make matters worse, Austin is dating the commanding officer’s daughter.
“The Presidio” is an action crime mystery film, so there are plenty of car chases and stunts throughout the film. And Mark Harmon literally threw himself into the role. During an interview in 1988, Harmon talked about doing some of his own stunts.
“I’ve worked with Norman [Harmon’s stunt double] for quite a while and I trust his judgment implicitly. If he tells me he thinks it’s difficult and I should let him handle it alone, then I let him handle it alone,” said Harmon. “Most of the time, he’ll do it and then I’ll do it, and hopefully that gives the editor an advantage that he might not have in other instances. And I don’t care about any of it as long as the scene works.”
Mark Harmon Was Hit By a Car In the Movie ‘The Presidio’
Well, kind of. His stunt double was definitely hit by a car. But Harmon rolled into the scene after the hit. During the same interview, Harmon shared that his stunt double takes over during the “really hard” scenes.
“I’m no hero about the stunt part. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make the character believable,” said Harmon. “But Normal Howell looks more like me than I look like me so I let him do the really hard stuff. “
One of those “really hard” scenes included actually being hit by a moving car and rolling off the vehicle onto the ground. First, Norman did the stunt. Then, Mark Harmon did his won stunt of rolling into the scene after the car accident. This allowed the scene to look far more believable and gave the editor a lot more footage to work with in post-production. In conclusion, Mark Harmon, just like his ‘NCIS’ character Gibbs, has always been a bit of a thrill-seeker.