‘BODYGUARDS: Secret Lives From the Watchtower’ is a new documentary about, unsurprisingly, bodyguards. They’re the people you see all the time protecting the stars you love the most, or the guys helping mobsters like Whitey Bulger or keeping diplomats safe in war zones. The documentary follows 50 Cent’s bodyguard, Justin Bieber’s bodyguard, Nelson Mandela’s bodygyard, Whitey Bulger’s closest protector, as well as other protection agents.
The documentary shows that the level of danger in being a bodyguard for the rich and famous clearly depends on the client. 50 Cent’s bodyguard Anton, who was shot in the leg on the job one night, said, “Getting shot – it’s what it takes for them to know your name.” Justin Bieber’s bodyguard, Mikey, on the other hand, spends most of his time protecting the Canadian superstar from hordes of fans.
“They can be 5’1″ girls. But about 150 of them? They’ll move you and 3 other big guys no problem,” Mikey explains.
Mikey and Justin are extremely close. They’re with each other nearly everyday, so it’s important for them to like each other as well as respect each other. The level of trust between them is deep, and it’s clear that having the same bodyguard for a long period of time helps keep Justin comfortable. “Having people that are consistent … it creates such a safe place for me,” Justin confides.
Mikey has kept Justin safe by keeping him away from danger before it even occurs. “Avoiding situations is more productive than handling the actual situation,” Justin’s manager Scooter Braun says of Mikey’s protection methods.
The documentary moves on from 50 Cent and Justin Bieber to show Whitey Bulger’s protector, as well as the bodyguards who oversee extreme targets like diplomats. The difference between hundreds of fans crowding a pop star in the streets and protecting high profile people in warzones is stark, but it’s obvious that both types put their lives on the line everyday for the people their job is to keep safe. It’s an incredible look behind the scenes in a career we probably don’t think twice about.
At the height of One Direction’s fame, I used to know every single one of their bodyguards’ by name. I was so pleased when the boys went on hiatus and continued using their same guards, because obviously a level of trust had been established between them. Like Justin said, that sort of consistency created safe spaces. I loved these men for keeping Harry, Louis, Liam, Niall, and Zayn safe as they traveled the world, but I never gave much thought to the fact that the five of them were probably in a signifcant amount of danger everyday; not just from mobs of fans, but as rich and famous young people, they were targets. It’s not something that’s fun to think about, but as fans, we’re subconsciously thankful for our idols’ bodyguards everyday.