By Khadi Madama
Quick-Seat Chair Wellness Coordinator
In the years before this Hollywood spectacular, made in 2000, Quick-Seat Chairs had not yet been invented. Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe is another example of movies sets that really could have used Quick-Seat Chairs. Throughout the movie there are few scenes where people are sitting, or sitting on much that is comfortable. We have actors waiting off set for their cues, only to be called on set for long standing scenes. Plus, there are the battle scenes and in the end there is that painfully long walk that looks so exhausting we wonder if Russell Crowe will ever make it back to his village and to his wife. What’s worse, when he does arrive, to the relief of all movie-goers, we never do get to see him sit down.
Filming Gladiator was so rigorous that classic film star Oliver Reed suffered a fatal heart attack during the filming. He is not alone. During the filming of the iconic movie Apocalypse Now released in 1979, actor Martin Sheen suffered a near fatal heart attack and could not finish the film. There was very little downtime making Apocalypse Now, and the conditions were just as excruciating. But there is another factor to consider, and that is the relationship between standing for too long and heart attacks, as discussed in an article released by John Hopkins about a twelve year study they performed. It must have been devastating for the other actors to have to carry on after the loss of Oliver Reed, as none of them in real life are gladiators. They’re just regular people who act for a living and sometimes not under the best of conditions. If only there were some Quick-Seat Chairs where the actors could have rested while waiting. Remember that they were also wearing gladiator fighting gear. Filmed on the island of Malta, the weather was also warm.
As someone who has both produced and hosted three television series for cable TV, I am very familiar with film production sets and production aspects and their lack of amenities. With so many electric cords, cameras on tripods, props and movable lighting equipment, there simply isn’t room for places to sit. There was only one bar-type stool at my TV production set at any given time with no where to sit for those waiting off camera before their cue. Fortunately, for TV 21, the wait times were not too long, but on large movie sets this is not the case. Can I draw an arc between standing too long, playing parts that required standing too long and having a heart attack while filming? Sure.
I remember a time a few years ago, a dear friend of mine had to go out to one of the most famous hospitals on the east coast. I knew she was in for a very long day and I knew how big this medical complex was. While there, we had to walk to several different offices within the complex on those cold, hard white marble floors. It was grueling. And, no place to sit along the corridors. One would think that in such a posh health complex there would be, but there wasn’t. If I was exhausted, I know my sick friend must have been too.
The importance of health complexes to provide for patients comfort, safety and fall risk is paramount. Just because they can walk with no problem, it doesn’t mean that their serious illness isn’t compromising them causing them to feel week, especially under on-going treatments. One has to truly be a gladiator with the stamina of a Rhino to make it.
The hero of our story, Maximus, does survive the war, does make it, barely, back home to his wife and his beloved land. Shorn of sleep, hungry, and emotionally broken. But after director Ridley Scott yells “Cut,” there still isn’t any place to sit until Russell Crowe exits the set and can get back to his trailer after dropping off his gladiator gear in the costume and prop trailers.
It’s a known fact that the Roman army was fed pickles. Yes, pickles, because they were believed to give soldiers extra strength and stamina. I’m all for that, but I’m also all for seeing that safety standards are met to insure that working conditions on film sets are healthy, too. Quick-Seat Chairs are so easily installed that there is no reason why they can’t be installed on film sets that are in place for months at a time. They are easily uninstalled and reinstalled into the new environment in a matter of minutes. They are sturdy and hold up in “intensive use environments,” so there is no reason not to install them. They are also easy to store for in between movie production. That’s why we have prop departments with loads of storage.
The famous quote from the movie Gladiator said by Russell Crowe’s Maximus was, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” Now grab that pickle jar and relax! A Quick-Seat Chair is nearby for your convenience.
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