High-octane tricks, turns, somersaults and plumes of smoke from burning rubber are guaranteed when stuntman extraordinaire, Didi Bizzarro is on show.
It’s not surprising that Bizzarro, who recently worked on-set during the filming of Fast and Furious 10, was billed as a headline act at what is regarded Africa’s biggest motor festival, A State of Stance, which continues at Durban’s Pavilion shopping mall today.
The two-day event, featuring some hot rods revved to the red by stunt artists, and other car and bike happenings that gets petrol-heads turning, began yesterday.
It's the type of environment the 38-year-old Bizzarro has been revelling in for years and his daredevil skill-set has also been on cue in movie sets on numerous occasions.
Bizzarro spoke to the Sunday Tribune, on Thursday, shortly after touching down for the first time ever as a performer on South African tar.
The conversation inevitably travelled in the direction of his role in Fast and Furious 10, to which Bizzarro responded, he now had “one less dream” left to accomplish.
“I was still very young in 2001 when I saw the first action-packed Fast and Furious movie and said to myself, I want to be in that.
“After more than 20 years, I now have one less item in my box of dreams,” he said.
Bizzarro said he worked on the Italian side of the movie’s production together with a crew of 55.
Many of the movies he featured in over the past 20 years have been shot in Italy and other parts of Europe.
While he ranked Fast and Furious as the biggest movie production he’s been involved in, he also rated highly appearing in the latest Indiana Jones flick, which is yet to be released.
“I worked on the Indiana Jones movie in the summer, these are the two big ones I've done in the last two years,” he said.
Bizzarro was born in Limassol, Cyprus, at the time, his family members performed at a festival in that country. He regards Rome, Italy, as his home.
Having a father, uncles, and cousins doing stunts as well as his grandfather, who performed at various South African venues in 1972, including the Rand Show, it was very likely that Bizzarro would take to the motor show business.
“There were nine drivers in my family. I was born into it, it was a natural thing for me to have joined,” he said.
His first act came at age four.
“I started on a motorbike. I made my first jump when I was about five or six. I have been riding bikes ever since, and around 2001, I started riding heavy stunt bikes over trucks and tanks and acts like that.
“I started to practise with cars when I was 14. I've been driving professionally now for at least 20 years,” he said.
For six months of the year Bizzarro puts in a daily shift of work with his cars and bikes in preparation for acts around the world.
Unfortunately, those are the times when he picks up most of his injuries.
“I have broken both legs more than once, fingers, elbows, shoulders...thankfully I’ve never needed surgery due to my injuries,” he said.
Given the nature of his work, dicing with danger is commonplace and he remembers the most dangerous stunt he has ever completed was getting a car to do a double somersault over a fire hazard, with spectators within touching distance.
“It is not true that I'm not fearless. I have to play with fear.
“I’m not afraid of performing acts, what I worry about is the staff and spectators in close proximity because we play with big toys like trucks and tankers.
“It's a balancing act, managing the fear and the adrenalin in each show,” he explained.
Once a show is completed and everything has gone well, Bizzarro said it was the best feeling because of the intense work and lots of travelling that was required to make each event a success.
“30 minutes before the show, I like to chill-out. Once I'm on, I give it my 100%.
“The crowd and the cheers get my adrenaline going,“ he said.
At A State of Stance, Bizzarro will be performing on his bike and with a 3-series BMW.
One of his stand-out acts will be when Bizzarro gets the car to do a burnout on two wheels.
“I have experimented a lot and considered whether it was possible to do a burnout with a car on two wheels. During the show, I will try to stop the vehicle using my hand, by touching the ground.
“It requires all my experience on the bike and cars to do that. I love the BMW 318 because it seldom breaks. You can’t have that happening while you’re doing stunts,” he said.
Bizzarro said that he rolled over about four or five cars before he perfected his two-wheeled feat in the BMW.
“I've lost count of the number of cars I’ve rolled over in my career,” he said.
Bizzarro said he had a small crew around him, they share a close bond and always worked well together.