Without stunts, every movie, television show, broadway musical, music video, pizza commercial, etc... would be as dull as dishwater. If the John Wick movies were bereft of stunts, we'd be watching a movie about a man who lost his dog and that'd be it. Well maybe that's not entirely true.
I refuse to believe that Keanu Reeves doesn't do his own stunts. But the stunt doubles all work just as hard as the actors to make movie/television magic. They are the unsung heroes of our favorite shows.
That's not to disparage the other crew members' hard work, but the stunt crew are the ones who take the hard falls and then end up having to get back up again for the loyal fans. Thankfully, most of their actor counterparts acknowledge their hard work and most forge special bonds with them.
15 The cast of Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is one of the best TV shows in the universe. While it was a little bit more art house-y than most TV dramas, it never jumped the shark or even slowed down. Each episode was like an RV that was recklessly speeding through the Arizona desert. Plus, no one could've asked for a better ending.
Let's be honest, most of Breaking Bad's rivals lose their steam or end on a sour note (no, I'm not referring to The Sopranos' infamous last scene). Breaking Bad also used stunt performers. Therefore, Breaking Bad is one of the best TV shows in the universe because the stunt performers contributed to the show's quality. In all seriousness, what makes any group successful--whether it's a TV crew or a basketball team--is the group's ability to bond with each other.
In the pic, everyone comes off as standoffish, but c'mon, it's not like they're the Care Bears. They're just posing to be tough because it's a show about tough men doing what they think is right, but the blooper reels show the cast and crew having fun. Random people on the internet might point out the obvious stunt doubles in this show, but I can't remember specific times. In fact, this would be the perfect time to ditch writing this article and go on a Breaking Bad binge.
14 Matt Smith and Matt Elliot
I don't want to put down anyone's taste, but I have to be honest. I have no desire to watch Dr. Who. Any interest in the show was quelled in 2013, where I was forced to listen to two classmates ramble on about the show as we walked throughout Times Square. To be fair, it wouldn't bother me if someone said the same about The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or Xena: Warrior Princess.But let's not get caught about other people's taste in TV and focus on other people's actions.
I'd also like to make the correction that this is not actually Matt Smith's stunt double, but rather a cos-player also named Matt. I defy anyone to find me an actual picture of his stunt double. Plus, I'm pretty sure that his stunt double would similarly look like this anyway. Does he really need one though? According to an article on Digitalspy, he was dangling from the TARDIS while shooting for an episode.
Although the height isn't close to 50 feet, Smith's stunt is still similar to the one Linda Carter pulled. It's entirely possible Linda Carter served as his inspiration. Now while I'm ambivalent towards Dr. Who, I can still respect Matt Smith for occasionally doing his own stunts and his stunt doubles who put themselves in precarious situations.
13 Chandler Riggs and Emily Brobst
This picture was probably taken back when no one complained about The Walking Dead's declining quality. Nowadays, even the most fanatic of The Walking Dead's fan base wouldn't hesitate to call the show "a soap opera with zombies." If there's such a negative reaction from the fans, why is the show still on? Maybe it's because AMC is keeping the show on to spite the show's more ardent complainers. But back to the picture... Is there really such a thing as children stunt actors? According to an article on Quora, yes.
But it's usually done by someone who is roughly the same size as the actor.
This makes sense because no parent should ever endanger their kids' lives. Turns out that's not actually a child sitting next to Chandler Riggs! Both of Carl's stunt doubles are adult women. If you were shocked by this, inter-gender stunt doubles are hardly a new thing. For example, some of Angelina Jolie's stunts in Tomb Raider 2 was done by a man. Now that Chandler Riggs as Carl is no longer on the show, are there still inter-gender stunt doubles on the show? Now that would be a good reason to tune in every Sunday night--as long as it doesn't conflict with Better Call Saul.
12 James Gandolfini and Frank Ferrara
Since James Gandolfini's passing, most dreams for a Sopranos sequel have been dashed. What's-a matta with you? You're not satisfied with the fact that The Sopranos has always been an existential show that never spoon fed the audience with clear cut explanations? Well, how about a sitcom in an alternate universe? One where Tony Soprano (played by stuntman Frank Ferrara) doesn't get involved with the waste management business and he is just your average and bumbling yet lovable dad in Connecticut?
One of the (many) problems with this pitch is that no one can replicate Gandolfini's presence on The Sopranos. Like Walter White or Jimmy McNulty, you tuned in because of Tony Soprano.
A handful of you probably rooted for him despite his questionable morals. Whatever the case, Gandfolfini's acting skills captivated your attention and Ferrara's stunts only boosted Tony's presence. Some of Ferrara's stunt credits include The Bourne Ultimatum, Sherlock Holmes, and Ghostbusters II. Here's what Ferrara had to say about Gandolfini: "In all my 35 years as a stuntman, I have never met an actor with more heart and more compassion than Jimmy Gandolfini [...] Being in my business is so plastic and phony and you get tired of all the egos but he didn't have one[...]."
11 Lauren May Kim and Elodie Yung
When Netflix's Daredevil came out in 2015, it immediately grabbed my interest because it stood out from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It wasn't some happy meal-core fare where the heroes held hands and sang Kumbaya. It was a sobering and hardy steak dinner with some bacon on the side. I couldn't even believe that I was watching something that took place in the same universe as The Avengers. I'd like to imagine that the series is connected to Full Metal Jacket in an alternate reality where Gomer Pyle survives R Lee Ermey's abrasive training and turns into Kingpin.
So when the second season rolled out, I was hyped.
Guys, let's be honest. We've all been with a wild child like Elektra at some point in our lives and, against our better judgement, we sometimes miss those memories. Lauren May Kim, Elodie Yung's stunt double, prepared for this role by studying various martial arts such as Wushu, Tae Kwon Do, and Silat. In the same linked interview, Kim said that teaching Yung choreography was easy because of Yung's background in karate. Kim has also done stunt work for more MCU shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Defenders and Iron Fist. As the MCU grows, let's hope to see more of Kim's fine stunt work.
10 Annie Wersching and Danielle Litak
Partners was a 2011 drama pilot on ABC that focused on two female cops who were also sisters. Unfortunately, ABC decided to not pick up the pilot. Have you heard of it? Neither have I, but it sounded like an interesting premise and I'd love to hear more about it. What's interesting is that the picture is from a site called "Awesome Annie," which serves as Annie Wersching's portfolio site.
I haven't seen a lot of sites dedicated to an actor's portfolio. I assume most of them use IMDB instead. But the site's layout is smooth and well done. For those of you who are unaware of Annie Wersching, her acting credits include 24, Castle, The Last of Us and Boston Legal. If you watch a lot of prime time TV, chances are that you've seen her.
While her stunt double, Danielle Litak, doesn't seem to have a lot of stunt credit, you might recognize her in works like Hart of Dixie, Ultraviolet and Entourage. Despite both of their relative obscurity, they look like they're enjoying each other's company. So it's high time that both of them should work together on another show/movie and bring the ruckus. C'mon, let's give them another shot.
9 Lucy Lawless and Zoe Bell
If you grew up in the '90s without cable, then there's no way you've never heard of Xena Warrior Princess. But for those of you who missed out on this cult TV classic, it was about a leather clad warrior named Xena bringing the ruckus to her enemies in the ancient world. How can you not watch a show where the lead actor's last name is "Lawless?" Like Wonder Woman, Xena is a feminist television icon that kicked butt and took names. Although, Xena was far grungier than Wonder Woman.
I dare anyone to find a '90s tv show where the lead female character was just like Xena.
It's a shame that the show never got the reboot it deserves--although no one can replace Lucy Lawless. It would be like replacing James Gandfolfini's Tony Soprano. Given Xena's uncompromising attitude, it would be fitting to get Zoe Bell to fill in as Lucy Lawless's stunt double. If you've seen a female lead bulldozing through anyone who dares to get in her way, chances are that you've seen her work. She has been hailed as Quentin Tarantino's muse. It's no question that these two women raised the bar for female empowerment and inspired legions of women to take up some metal frisbees and hurl at their obstacles.
8 Lynda Carter and Jeannie Epper
If someone were to ask me which one was Lynda Carter and which one was stunt woman Jeannie Epper in this picture, I would have a hard time figuring out who's who. Wait, if Wonder Woman doesn't do all her stunts, does this mean that the Invisible Jet and the lasso of truth aren't real either?
Some of Epper's credits include Charlie's Angels (the TV series), Minority Report and Freaky Friday (2003), so it's entirely possible that we've seen her stunts before. The cool thing about the Wonder Woman series is that it not only it employed a number of stunt women working on the show, but Lynda Carter occasionally did her own stunts as well. This was during the '70s, so this kind of thing was pretty rare
At one point, Carter held onto a helicopter with her bare hands as it flew 50 feet in the air. she did this without any safety equipment. We should all commend Carter not only for her grip strength, but also for taking the initiative to do this stunt. Because I would never attempt something like this. Then again, most people aren't Lynda Carter. In short, this show was a revolutionary factory that cranked out butt kicking women and continues to inspire future stunt women to kick butt.
7 Tina Fey and Jill Brown
I had no idea that 30 Rock had their own stunts, but this tells you that most shows have their own stunt crews--unless it's an animated show, obviously. I haven't seen a lot of 30 Rock, but I've obviously missed the episode where Liz Lemon rode a motorcycle and jumped through flaming loops. What's interesting is that the stunt woman Jill Brown is actually blonde. It just goes to show you that a successful stunt double isn't just someone doing break falls on mats.
They're also masters of disguise.
Brown would work again with Fey for Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Brown has done stunts for some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man 2 and The Bourne Legacy. With such an impressive resume, I'm still curious about the context of this photo. What stunt Brown actually did during this episode of 30 Rock? This begs for a 30 Rock binge, but I still have to finish writing this article. In 2013, Brown was successfully treated for a tumor on her frontal lobe. The surgery has made such an impact in her life that she actually turned down roles if it conflicted with her charity walk for brain tumor awareness.
6 Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether
Apparently this has been circulating around the web as Julie Newmar and her stunt double, but the person next to Newmar is actually Lee Meriwether, who played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman film adaptation. Although Meriwether replaced Newmar in the film, there's no bad blood between the two as evidenced in the picture. That's because Newmar was unavailable to play Catwoman due to scheduling conflicts.
So if you're going to do a list of actors and stunt doubles, don't use this picture because it's very misleading! But as long as you're here, let me turn your attention to Audrey Saunders. She did Yvonne Craig's stunts as Batgirl for 26 episodes.
Unfortunately, there's not much information on Audrey Saunders and this compilation of Batgirl's stunts says that Yvonne did all of her stunts. Will the real Catwoman's stunt double please stand up? We need to get the real Batman on this case and find out the truth. It's weird that there's no information on whether or not Newmar/Meriwether did their stunts as Catwoman. But as silly and campy as the stunt might seem to us, the stunt actors still worked hard to captivate Batman's audience. If there's anything to learn from this, it's don't believe everything you see on the internet.
5 Nick Frost and Tony Condren
Into The Badlands is what I would call Subway-core tv; I've seen ads of the show all over New York City subway stations. But just because I see an advertisement of a show, that doesn't always compel me to watch the show. You can name drop the cast and crew and put some cryptic imagery, but does your ad actually convey the show's premise? If you haven't done a good job, your ad just floats away from my mind and I'll think about another TV ad in the subway. With enough pressure from society, I will eventually cave in and watch it.
Then I'll kick myself for not watching it sooner.
After reading more about the show, there are two things about this show that piqued my interest. First, it's probably the only wuxia show that's airing on American television. Second, Nick Frost is in it. As some of you probably knew, Frost is probably most well known for his film collaborations with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. His stunt double, Tony Condren, has done stunt work for high profile shows such as Vikings and Penny Dreadful. Aside from looking similar to each other, they are a perfect match for each other because they are true professionals in their crafts.
4 Lou Ferrigno and Manny Perry
Given Lou Ferrigno's hulking physique--and as the bodybuilder who almost beat Arnold in Pumping Iron--it was only a natural choice to pick another bodybuilder to be Ferrigno's stunt double. The stuntman's man is Manny Perry. After winning bodybuilding competitions left and right during the golden age of bodybuilding (the early 70's), Perry sought a career in stunt work. After a few years as the Ferrigno's stunt double, his stunt work only hungrier for more stunt work.
His stunt credits include Macguyver, From Dusk Till Dawn and The X-Files. Perry is by far one of the most hard working stunt performers in the industry and he's still continuing to do stunts--although these days, he's more of a stunt coordinator. The jump from bodybuilding to stunts may be a huge leap to many, but it clearly made sense to Perry and he dove in head first.
Just looking at his stunt credits tells you that Perry is someone who is clearly passionate about his craft and he found a field that makes him happy--or else he would've been back to bodybuilding. There's a few things we could learn from Perry; the most important is to expand your horizons. I've no idea what made him transition from bodybuilding into stunts, but whatever it was that nudged him into that direction, he just took the ball and ran with it.
3 KJ Apa and Eric Bauer
I'm still trying to get over the fact that they made a teen drama out of the Archie comics. What's next, a Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque show for Ziggy? But clearly it works because everyone keeps raving about Riverdale. According to MTV UK, this picture was taken before the episode where Archie does some high school wrestling. Sure, you might say to yourself, "Hey, those two don't look like each other at all!" But that's because they're not moving.
If they were moving about and kept switching places, I'd wager that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Plus judging from stunt double Eric Bauer's social media, he is the perfect for the role because his instagram shows him wrestling. Look at Bauer pick up his opponent like he's just a bag of oranges. Whoever chose Bauer as Archie's stunt double clearly wants Archie to win the wrestling match in the episode. In the comics, Archie does not look like the athletic type. In fact, Wikipedia says that he pays more attention to the cheerleaders than the game he's playing in. The fact that KJ Apa tagged Bauer in this instagram post shows that they're probably bros now. Let's hope this friendship lasts forever.
2 Jaimie Alexander and Kylie Furneaux
Blindspot is a show about a tattooed amnesiac who wakes up naked in a travel bag in Times Square and the FBI use her tattoos as clues to various crimes. The most endearing part of this picture is the fact that the star Jaimie Alexander and her stunt double Kylie Furneaux are totally BFFs for 10 years. Out of everyone in this list, their friendship/work relationship is definitely closest.
Could you imagine being friends with your own stunt double? That would be the coolest friendship because it could be like having your own twin, except your twin knows Kung-Fu and how to jump out of planes. In the linked Entertainment Tonight video, Furneaux says that while Alexander occasionally does her own stunts, there are some stunts that Furneaux won't let her do because she's mindful of Alexander's safety.
That right there is the definition of a true friend. Because she knows where to draw the line between fun and putting your life at risk. While Furneaux's stunt credits include Scooby-Doo and Catwoman, she appears in Jaimie Alexander's filmography. So if you see Jaimie Alexander in a movie, there's a high possibility that Furneaux will be also be there as her stunt double.
1 Gates McFadden and Patricia Tallman
Star Trek: The Next Generation doesn't need an introduction. But in case you've never seen the show, that's Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher the Chief Medical Officer on the Enterprise. Although Dr. Crusher was a strong female character, she never really reached the status as a feminist icon like Wonder Woman or Xena. In this picture from her twitter, she is with her stunt double Patricia Tallman. Some of you trekkies out there might recognize Tallman in Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek Generations.
She's also done stunts for Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump.
But Tallman is most well known as the telepath Lyta Alexander in the TV series Babylon 5. Here's a not-so-fun fact about the suits in TNG. The suits were originally made out of spandex because series creator, Gene Roddenberry, believed that everyone would wear spandex in the future. Predictably, the spandex captured the actors' body odors and the suits stank to outer space for days. Not only did the suits stink, but they were also so tight that they caused back problems. After persistent complaints from the actors, the costume designers eventually switched to wool uniforms, which were lighter, comfortable, and hopefully didn't stink.
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