From The Quentin Tarantino Archives
Lead Character in Grind House's Death Proof, played by Kurt Russell. Little is known about Stuntman Mike, except that he hangs around The Texas Chili Parlor and may or may not have been a professional stuntman on various TV Shows during the 1960s and 1970s. On the surface, he seems like a normal guy, (aside from a large visible scar down the left side of his face) but it turns out that he is in reality a twisted socio-psychopath that enjoys stalking and raping/killing women by way of vehicular homicide.
In Austin, Texas, Stuntman Mike is secretly stalking a trio of young women out on the town. One of them happens to be a popular local radio DJ (and small indie record label owner) Jungle Julia. It's her birthday. Mike is also awaiting the chance to meet with her friend from New York, Arlene. That night, while at the Texas Chili Parlor, Jungle Julia and her posse are getting hammered and waiting to get high with their two tag-along beaus Dov and Omar. Earlier in the week on her radio show, Jungle Julia addressed her male listeners and told them if they saw Arlene on the town with her (if they had the nerve) they could call her "Butterfly" and recite the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", which would get them a lapdance. The guy known as Stuntman Mike was one of the listeners.
Meanwhile, a patron and former schoolmate of Julia's, Pam, seeks a ride home. Mike overhears Pam and offers her a ride. Stuntman Mike doesn't want to go until he's finished what he's come for. He approaches Arlene, addresses her as "Butterfly" and recites the poem. Arlene relents at first but after Mike pulls out his little red book and tells Arlene she'll be filed under C for chickenshit, she finally agrees. The lapdance is not seen in the theatrical cut since Tarantino placed his Missing Reel gag there.
Later, Stuntman Mike gives Pam a lift home in his "death proof" flat black 1971 Chevy Nova SS. What he doesn't promise her is that she'll get home alive. After Mike lets Pam know she's in the clutches of a psycho, he takes off from the Texas Chili Parlor's parking lot and begins swerving the car back and forth causing Pam to slam into the plexiglass "crash box" and metal of the passenger seat. After torturing Pam and explaining her fate Mike brakes hard causing Pam's face to smash into the unpaved dashboard and she dies. Mike then accelerates and passes by Jungle Julia's car and when he gets about a half mile away, he hangs a u-turn, shuts off his headlights and waits. He then puts the pedal to the metal. He drives hellishly towards the unsuspecting group coming the other way and when he's about to hit them, he switches his headlights on. Mike rams into their vehicle at 200 mph, killing all the young women instantly in different gory ways. Since his car is in fact Death Proof, Stuntman Mike survives with only minor injuries.
After the crash is investigated by Texas lawman Sheriff Earl McGraw, Mike is released on absence of malice. We flash forward 18 months later. Stuntman Mike is on the road again with a new "death proof" car. He now is living in Tennessee. He spots another bevy of young beauties (Zoe Bell, Abernathy, Lee, Kim) to prey on, but this time things are different. The girls he's chosen to mess with know how to handle cars just as well or better than he does!
- Stuntman Mike: "I'm not a cowboy Pam...I'm a stuntman"
- Stuntman Mike: "Pam!....Remember when I said this car was death proof? That wasn't a lie. This car is 100% death proof, but to get the benefit of it honey, you really need to be sittin' in MY seat!"
- Actor Mickey Rourke was originally chosen to play the part of Stuntman Mike, but due to an as of yet undisclosed conflict with director Quentin Tarantino, the part went to Russell. It may also be of note Tarantino also consider Rourke for a part in Pulp Fiction. It was also revealed by Russell in an interview (with tarantino archives) that Ving Rhames was considered at one point.
- Stuntman Mike is sexually turned on by car crashes much like the characters in David Cronenberg's Crash (1997).
- Stuntman Mike's clothing style is derived from real life movie stuntmen who would dress in a similar manner. The look included: satin racing jacket, black denim jeans, black t-shirts and turquoise jewelry.
- Stuntman Mike uses the term "The All or Nothing Days..." a term first used by Marv in Sin City, this is because the film was originally to star Mickey Rourke. In the Planet Terror segment of Grind House, Sheriff Hague has a box called the "All or Nothing" box.