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In the new Netflix action thriller Triple Frontier, there’s a serious montage of scenes where, as part of said montage, actors Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund are seen shepherding a couple of donkeys across a river in the South American jungle. So leave it to their animal co-stars to make things interesting when it came time to actually shoot those scenes, as the actors recently spoke with CinemaBlend about a particularly hilarious day on set involving donkeys, water, and bathroom humor. Here’s how the actors described the scenario, when asked what day on set made them most feel like an action hero:
Hunnam: Probably the day we had to swim with the donkeys, right?
[Hunnam and Hedlund break into laughter]
Hunnam: Garrett and I picked the short straw. Or, I guess, in his usual Machiavellian way, J.C. [Chandor] went and asked all of us, independently, if we would be prepared to swim across the length of a swimming pool with a pack of mules. And everybody else said no, apart from, I guess, Garrett and I.
Hedlund: It was more of a fecal matter issue for some of the cast.
While the finished product is a sobering experience, when the heroes at the center of Triple Frontier are at a particularly difficult time in their heist, the story above is anything but. And watching Hunnam and Hedlund laughing it up during the telling of said story only makes the tale that much more interesting.
This is only compounded by the fact that, of course, this story involving animal actors contains a moment where the donkeys involved had to relieve themselves. It's a classic trope in humor that has legs, and for very good reason. At this point, the story gets even more interesting as this old saw gets a new spin through some colorful descriptions from Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund. The Triple Frontier co-stars elaborated on this story with the following:
Hunnam: Well it was when we got into the pool, and they started defecating all over the place.
Hedlund: The fun thing is, my donkey had to go first, and when a donkey gets in the water, they tend to try and get to the other side…
Hunnam: That’s going to be the name of your biography, ‘My Donkey Had To Go First.’
Hedlund: ...so if a donkey gets in the water, they tend to try and get to the other side as quick as they can. So trying to see Charlie keep up with his donkey, following my donkey, was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.
It’s certainly not the easiest thing in the world to work with an animal actor on a set such as the one for Triple Frontier. Considering they’re one of the two types of performers that have historically been on the list of collaborators not to work with, you can kind of see why. Just imagining two actors such as Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund, trying to get through the day of shooting with a donkey that really had to go is enough to break even the most stoic spectator into a fit of laughter.
Of course, describing their humorous reactions to filming this particular stretch of Triple Frontier is one thing. But if you want to watch Hunnam and Hedlund really delight in the reveal of this story, you can see it all for yourself below.
Don't let that story about the donkeys fool you, as the behind the scenes story you've just experienced doesn't sour the Triple Frontier experience at all. If anything, it proves that all involved, particularly Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund in this specific instance, are total professionals. It takes an extremely focused actor to portray a dramatic scene of crime and consequences, while wading through donkey dung; and this cast passes that test with flying colors.
Triple Frontier is in theaters now, with its Netflix streaming debut set for March 13th.