Stunt doubles are actors’ assistants who perform high-risk actions in films and television shows. They are trained professionals who can perform various physical feats, such as fighting, driving, falling, jumping, or hanging. They often replace the main actors in scenes that are too dangerous or difficult for them to do. Here are eight unknown facts about stunt doubles:
Helen: First Stunt Double.
The first stunt double was a woman. In 1911, Helen Gibson became the first professional stunt double when she replaced actress Helen Holmes in the silent film series The Hazards of Helen. Gibson was a rodeo performer who could do daring stunts on horses, trains, and cars. She later became a star in her own right and performed stunts in many films.
Stunt doubles have their own awards ceremony. Since 1985, the Taurus World Stunt Awards have honored the best stunt performers and coordinators in the film industry. The awards are given in various categories: best fight, best fire stunt, best high work, best overall stunt by a stunt woman, and best stunt coordinator and/or second unit director. The winners receive a bronze statue of a bull.
Stunt Doubles Remuneration.
Stunt doubles can earn more than actors. According to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the minimum daily rate for a stunt performer is $1,030, while the minimum daily rate for an actor is $1,005. However, stunt performers can also earn additional pay for hazardous stunts, such as fire burns, high falls, water, or animal work. The extra pay can range from 20% to 100% of their daily rate, depending on the level of risk involved.
CGI in stunts
Stunt doubles can use CGI to enhance their performance. With computer-generated imagery (CGI) advancement, stunt doubles can use digital effects to make their stunts look more realistic or spectacular. For example, CGI can remove wires or safety harnesses, add explosions or debris, or create impossible stunts that defy physics. However, CGI can also threaten stunt performers’ livelihoods, as some filmmakers may prefer to use digital doubles instead of real ones.
Stunt doubles can have their stunt doubles. Sometimes, a stunt performer may be unable to do a certain stunt due to injury, illness, or lack of skill. In that case, they may hire another stunt performer to double for them. For example, Jackie Chan’s longtime stunt double, Fung Hak-on, hired another stuntman to do a motorcycle jump for him because he feared heights.
Stunt doubles can be related to the actors they double for. Some actors may choose to work with their relatives who are also stunt performers because they trust them more or because they look more alike. For example, Tom Cruise’s cousin William Mapother has doubled for him in films such as Mission: Impossible II and Minority Report. Similarly, Angelina Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, has doubled for her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Stunt doubles to actors.
Stunt doubles can become famous actors themselves. Some stunt performers may use their skills and experience to pursue their own acting careers. For example, Zoe Bell started as a stunt double for Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill before becoming an actress in films such as Death Proof and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Similarly, Jason Statham started as a diver and a model before becoming a stuntman and then an actor in films such as The Transporter and Fast & Furious.
They can risk their lives for their job. Despite the safety precautions and regulations that are in place, stunt performing is still a very dangerous and potentially fatal occupation. Many stunt performers have been injured or killed while performing stunts on set or off-set. For example, Harry O’Connor died while filming a parasailing scene for xXx; Kun Liu died while filming an explosion scene for The Expendables 2; Joi Harris died while filming a motorcycle scene for Deadpool 2; and John Bernecker died while filming a fall scene for The Walking Dead.
These are some of the unknown facts about stunt doubles that show how amazing and challenging their job is. They are skilled and brave professionals who make movies more exciting, realistic, creative, and passionate artists who love what they do. What do you think about these facts? Which one surprised you the most? Do you have any questions or comments about stunt doubles? Let us know in the comments below!