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From AFM soldier to stunt man: This man’s jaw dropping career is what film fans dream about
14 years of experience, 40 films under his name, what’s next for Morgan Chetcuti?

Caroline Curmi

Morgan Chetcuti, 38, first ventured into the film industry quite casually in 2006, when a Russian film shooting in Malta, ‘Nepobedimyy’ (translation: Man of East), put out a call for people with knowledge on handling firearms to feature as the baddies.

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Back then, he was employed as a ship boarding team leader with the Armed Forces of Malta’s (AFM’s) Maritime Squadron and seeing that he ticked all the right boxes for the role, Morgan dropped an application. Just like that, he landed his first film role.

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It was six years later when he received his real big break. Invited to be a stunt double for one of the pirates on Captain Phillips, a 2013 film starring Tom Hanks, Morgan’s role was to sail one of the pirate’s skiffs, put up a ladder alongside the big container ship and climb the moving vessel. “Piece of cake,” he thought, after years of boarding ships on law enforcement operations.

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His experience on Captain Phillips led to other roles, and now, Morgan has more than 40 films under his belt. Asked about his favourite project, the stuntman doesn’t hesitate a moment with his reply: “It is definitely 6 Underground from director Michael Bay,” he says. The shoot kept him away from home for four months, with filming done on location in Florence, Rome, Toronto and Abu Dhabi. His role? Purposefully crashing expensive cars and motorbikes, dodging the occasional explosion or two and wire work gags. “Be sure to watch the film and see how many times you can spot me in it!” he challenges jovially.

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However, such a career turn meant Morgan had to forego his AFM job to pursue his current gig. “I signed my discharge papers from the Armed Forces and quit the secure job I’d had for almost 13 years to do something that is risky,” he explains. Physical peril is not what he’s referring to here. Rather, he is implying the financial risk of not knowing when the next role and pay check would be coming his way. “It wasn’t an easy decision because I have a wife and a two year old son to provide for,” he admits: “but it was the best decision ever!”

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Throughout his film journey, Morgan has amassed a portfolio of cool behind the scenes stories, the funniest of which came while he was shooting an American show overseas. Tasked with driving a taxi up the road and swerving into an intersection without hitting oncoming traffic, Morgan and the entire crew were all in position awaiting the director’s signal.

Halfway through the countdown, the back passenger door opens: “I thought it must be the camera assistant to check if the onboard camera was rolling, but it was actually a tourist thinking it was a real taxi!” Luckily, security pulled her away in time for him not to miss his cue, and although hilarious in hindsight, it highlights how quickly things can go wrong on set.  

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Morgan is all too familiar with the risks involved in his job. From his experience working both as a stunt performer and stunt coordinator, fire and explosion scenes are amongst the most difficult to shoot due to the forces at hand and crew coordination required.

“Even though every precaution is planned ahead, there may still be the unforeseen incident where performers or crew members get injured, or worse,” Morgan explains. He has had his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but nothing has tamed his passion for the job: “At the end of the day, when I see the end result on screen, the satisfaction I feel is amazing,” he says.

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Working as a stunt man means Morgan’s training has bumped up to Olympic level to match the skills of ex-athletes who have joined the workforce. The biggest threat in the industry is ease of replacement: “A stunt performer's career, like any athlete, is rather limited due to injuries and the younger, fresher performers replacing the older ones,” he explains.

It’s not just age that plays a factor in this, as Morgan illustrates: “If an actor is injured the production gets delayed, however, if a stunt man or woman are injured, they can be replaced almost immediately and the show goes on.” Such is also the case with stunt performers taking time away from set, or focusing on raising children. “Any time off you take from set, for whatever reason, may get you replaced – that is the purpose of stunt doubles at the end of the day,” he says.

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To beat the situation, Morgan invests heavily in improving his skills. “The more skills you have, the more employable you are,” he says. “It is far better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. That’s why I keep on training!” he says. Looking into a new year with many fresh opportunities, Morgan has one big aspiration; working on a Fast and Furious film. “They keep making them so I haven’t given up yet and I’m sure I’ll be on one of them soon!” he says.

 Travelling the world, blowing up stuff, jumping off buildings, driving expensive cars – hey Morgan, do you need an assistant?

8th January 2020


Caroline Curmi
Written by
Caroline Curmi
When she’s not having a quarter-life crisis, Caroline is either drawing in a café, frittering her salary on sushi or swearing at traffic in full-on Gozitan. There is also the occasional daytime drink somewhere in the equation. Or two. A creative must be allowed at least one vice.

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