How Florin Piersic was thrown off a plane in the name of cinema. A veritable Tom Cruise of Buftea in the ’80s

Florin Piersic’s films are some of the most appreciated by Romanians, the actor being considered, in his turn, one of the most talented and beautiful artists of the Golden Age of Romanian cinema (literally and figuratively, some would say).

Consequently, Piersic needs no further introduction, as he delights us with each of his appearances on the small screen (nowadays), either through a film rebroadcast by some TV channel, or in a recent and, as we are already used to, extremely long interview. The actor is known for his fondness for the “long word”.

Sequence from the film Paratroopers / Photo: Buftea Studios

Florin Piersic: “And now I feel here the foot that Bashtan gave me in the ass!”

However, few people know that Florin Piersic was the world’s first Tom Cruise, even before Tom Cruise was… Tom Cruise.

If today we are astonished to hear that the American actor has performed yet another stunt, during the Communist era, Romanians had Piersic who, in the film Paratroopers, was thrown out of a plane. True, he needed help for that.

The man who pushed Florin Piersic out of the plane for the first time with a parachute was one of the most appreciated Romanian soldiers of all times, Grigore Baștan.

“One day, after filming in Bobocu, near Buzău, we had to arrive with the whole film crew in Constanța. I hope my trousers are holding up and that this time I put on tin underwear. We got up to 2,000 metres. Hey, kid, I just want to say this. When I got on the plane, dressed in Luncan’s costume, the great General Grigore Bashtan, the inventor of the Romanian military parachute, said to me: “I want you to parachute out of the plane!”. The operator was already in a wire cage, but there was no way I wanted to! I tell you honestly, jumping from 2,000 meters is a crime!

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I said: What parachute? Because I couldn’t see any. He says, “You’ve got a parachute on your back! If the parachute doesn’t open, you hold this hook on your chest and if you see that after ten seconds the parachute doesn’t open, you pull it and the second parachute opens”. I said: Yeah. But what if the second one doesn’t open? To which he says: “Then you can forget it”. I give you my word of honor that I had the guts to do all the stunts, but I don’t like sitting upstairs and thinking I could jump from there.

Bashtan begged me, the plane kept circling over the airport, and I kept being told to jump. I said to Bashtan: I think it’s a joke, I can’t even get near this door. He kept talking to me, he caught the moment. And now here I feel the foot that Bashtan gave me in the ass! I flew out of the plane. You won’t realize from watching the film that I, getting off the plane, screamed: Mom! I didn’t have tin pants at the time, but when I heard the parachute open through the air, I thought I was going crazy. I don’t know if you’ve ever wet yourself, but I advise you to parachute, and if you don’t wet yourself, give me a call,” Florin Piersic once declared, in sweet classic style.

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Sequence from the film Paratroopers / Photo: Buftea Studios

Paratroopers, the great actor’s favourite film

Paratroopers, directed by Dinu Cocea, is undoubtedly Florin Piersic’s favourite film, and this is probably also due to the unique event he went through. Obviously, such an experience is bound to stick in your mind, especially if you’re doing it for the first time and are somewhat compelled: which is what happened to Florin Piersic.

“Actually, the role of Luga in The Paratroopers is not my first leading role. I started out in “The Leather Coat”, a feature-length crime film for television, directed by Dan Necșulea. And the real start for me was a few lines in “The dowry of Miss Ralu”. However, this will be my real debut in cinema. As soon as it went into production, Dinu Cocea called me and said, “You have a definite role for me, an officer’s role.

But I’d like you to audition for the luga. If it comes out – fine, if not – no”. And to my astonishment, it did. luga is the paratrooper soldier who actually generates the conflict of the film. It’s a great true and relatable role for me. He’s a guy who went to college, fell out, and is now in the Army Air Force. We all have an unabashed admiration for the people who double for us, the country’s parachute squadron, world champions. It’s only when we look into the puddle that we get sick. Poor Dinu Cocea struggled for hours to convince Florin Piersic and me to parachute. I told him I’d do anything, ride, drive, fight, anything, but on the ground. As for Florin, he simply replied that he was alone with his parents”, said Geo Costiniu, in 1972, in Cinema magazine.

Sequence from the film Paratroopers / Photo: Buftea Studios
Sequence from the film Paratroopers / Photo: Studiourile Buftea

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