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Van Damme performs splits in epic Volvo ad

In a new Volvo campaign by Forsman Bodenfors, action star Jean-Claude Van Damme has managed the impossible (and highly dangerous) feat of standing between two moving trucks… while doing the splits. Oh, and the trucks drive backwards. Not your average party trick then.

jean-claude van damme volvoThe Muscles from Brussels: Cool as a cucumber

The video has become a viral hit, so far amassing nearly 28 million views on YouTube. Called The Epic Split, the campaign aims to demonstrate the driving abilities made possible with Volvo Dynamic Steering.

Directed by Andreas Nilsson, it was shot in one take in a closed off air-strip in Ciudad Real, Spain, and had to be filmed specifically between 8:05am and 8:20am in order to get the perfect sunlight. It took three days to rehearse the stunt prior to filming the final take.

Nilsson said: “There were so many parameters we had to consider, with both the camera and the trucks constantly moving… If you can cut, it’s a bit easier. But when there is just one take, what you film is what you get so it’s vital that everything is moving together. The truck drivers were really important and they did a great job.” To ensure maximum safety, the Belgian actor was attached to safety wires that were edited out in post.

jean-claude van damme vovlo

The spot, which uses Enya’s Only Time, starts with a close-up of Van Damme. Eyes closed, he is heard saying: “I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today.”

As his eyes open, the voice-over continues: “Now I stand here before you. What you see is a body crafted to perfection. A pair of legs engineered to defy the laws of physics and a mindset to master the most epic of splits.” As the camera pans out, the actor then performs his trademark splits, a point at which, especially watching it for the first time, your jaw hits the floor.

Van Damme is no stranger to being hired to sell a brand – the 53 year old appeared in a string of amusing commercials for Coors Light’s UK campaign Closest to Cold, by VCCP Blue.

An iconic action hero doing the splits between two trucks not daring enough for you? Then scroll down to see more jaw-dropping Volvo ‘Live Test’ stunts, including a truck being chased by bulls and driven by a hamster (yes, a hamster). 

Agency: Forsman Bodenfors
Production company: Folke Film
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Stunt coordinator: Peter Pedrero
Producer: Joi Persson
Cameraman: Ed Wild
Post production: Swiss

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