At the top 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 f a cliff. One cinema’s most iconic endings wasn’t filmed within the nationwide park in Arizona, however not for lack attempting.
“We didn’t wish to encourage individuals coming into the canyon doing what was accomplished within the film, so we declined it,” mentioned Maureen Oltrogge, a longtime spokeswoman for the nationwide park who retired in 2014. Nevertheless, Oltrogge mentioned at the very least two individuals took their very own lives by driving over the rim the Grand Canyon after the film was launched, pondering it was filmed there.
The panorama in and round one the world’s seven pure wonders has an extended historical past 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 a made-for-TV second.
The newest deliberate feat might 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 “within the coronary heart the Grand Canyon,” it really will happen over a smaller gorge on the Navajo Nation, a tribe whose reservation borders the east rim the nationwide park.
Getting permission to movie or stage one thing within the Grand Canyon means assembly quite a bit standards. Among the outrageous proposals the park has declined was within the 1990s, when now-deceased artist Ron Nicolino collected hundreds bras that he wished to string throughout the Grand Canyon. The park mentioned no. Grand Canyon spokeswoman Kari Cobb mentioned Smith didn’t strategy the park for the bungee soar, nevertheless it wouldn’t be allowed anyway. She mentioned the park is chargeable for defending its belongings.
“It’s all the things regarding security, impacts to guests and impacts to the assets,” she mentioned. Oltrogge mentioned different filming initiatives have been turned down as a result of their measurement, the influence to tourism and since they didn’t align with the park’s instructional values. The park additionally has rejected requests for ride-along prison justice packages, and to launch jet engines from rim to rim.
Todd Berger, writer It Happened at Grand Canyon, says the earliest-known publicized stunt he can recall from his analysis the Grand Canyon was an airplane touchdown close to Plateau Point within the early 1920s. Ellsworth Kolb and a swashbuckling pilot took f from the plateau beneath the South Rim and “spiraled” up and out the canyon in entrance giant crowds and cameras.
The Grand Canyon is alluring for promotional goal as a result of it’s “world-famous, spectacular and scary to most individuals,” Berger mentioned in an electronic mail. In 1999 and 2011, Robbie Knievel, the son stunt performer Evel Knievel, and Swiss ator Yves Rossy, respectively, approached Grand Canyon National Park with requests to leap half the canyon and soar over it in a jet go well with.
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 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. mentioned any occasion have to be respectful Hualapai tradition and in keeping with its model. “Our Tribal Council would wish to approve any proposal, and that’s a excessive bar,” CEO Colin McBeath mentioned in a press release. “We wish to defend the canyon and the companies now we have labored so onerous to ascertain and develop.”
Robert Bravo Jr., a tribal member who has served because the company’s chief govt and as a member its board, mentioned the stunts had been a option to showcase to the tribe to the world. Special permission for filming and photographs additionally is required. “They have been vital to essentially promote what now we have and who we’re,” he mentioned. “But now that we’re on the map, it’s not as a lot a necessity.”
One request the Hualapai declined was when aerial artist Nik Wallenda wished to stroll a tightrope over the canyon in 2013. Bravo mentioned it was too dangerous. “The canyon may be very sacred and really religious to the Hualapai individuals, and God forbid one thing occur to him whereas he’s on the market,” he mentioned. Wallenda ended up getting permission from the Navajo Nation to stroll a 5-centimeter-thick metal cable 1,476 ft (450 meters) over the Little Colorado River gorge, simply east Grand Canyon National Park. The roughly 22-minute act was broadcast stay on the Discovery Channel.
That is the place Smith might be making his massive leap. Navajo Nation spokesman Mihio Manus mentioned any stunt or filming mission 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 concerning the scope the occasion and placement. Environmental and wildlife ficials additionally weigh in earlier than a allow could be issued and a payment assessed.
Manus declined to touch upon Smith’s soar. The Fresh Prince Bel-Air actor teamed up with charity web site Omaze to make his bungee soar a fundraiser. The web site launched a lottery for a fan to be chosen to witness the soar and meet Smith. Attempts to succeed in Smith have been unsuccessful.