August 7, 2017

Respecting the Action & Stunt Professionals

Hard to believe that it has taken this long, finally the Hollywood acting community is starting, I repeat starting, to recognize the stunt community. Stunt professionals are often the forgotten souls of the industry. One hundred million dollar budgets and beyond mean huge paydays for the lead actors, while the stunt professionals, get a SAG wage at a mere fraction of that. Reflecting on the tragic recent death of stuntman John Bernecker on the set of the popular T.V. Show ‘Walking Dead”. In a stunt gone horribly wrong the landing area was missed and he was basically brain dead until he passed a few days later. Of course there are numerous incidents throughout the last 20 yrs with injuries or deaths on set. Unlike when a lead actor is injured or even dies prior to a film completing, little reverence is paid to their double’s lives sadly. I have a feeling with the “new wave” of actors and actresses around that is on the verge of changing.

Action websites giving mention to newer performers and shareing their demos, that of course helps, though detailed interviews are better. In all reality, a great way for this to change is the actors they double and the directors mention them in interviews. The biggest way is stunt professionals such as Sam Hargrave, Jesse V. Johnson and David Leitch to actually transition to directing and former stunt people such as Heidi Moneymaker, Zoe Bell and Monique Ganderton break out with meaty speaking roles. The recent ‘Wolf Warrior 2’ was so good as it gave seasoned stunt people including Aaron Toney Heidi Moneymaker, and others an excellent opportunity to have really juicy, kick ass scenes, and relish in the limelight instead of the shadows.

Also with hoping this is a new trend such as with ‘Atomic Blonde’ and the new ‘Defenders’ Series, the actors are giving high praise their doubles and coordinators, and (drum roll) the actors are more involved in the action, or at least as much as the production will allow. Actress Elodie Yung is a prime example of this and in just about every interview I have ever seen of her when she is in an action scene she mentions her double by name AND praises her. The ultra talented and deadly Lauren Mary Kim is the double for Elektra in season 2 of Daredevil and the Defenders and chatted briefly with me about the ‘Daredevil’ show last year:


Elodie Chats:

Video Credit: Build Series:

So for 2018 and beyond it is high time to not only recognize the stunt people for their efforts, hear me Academy, but encourage them to produce the OWN content! If you cannot change their minds, change the viewing audience mind. Go out, create your own films, your own action games, your own T.V. or web series. Finally, we as an action audience need to support actors and actresses who respect stunt people, as they have power and influence to help change minds and movies.

About the Author

Dan Templegod
Dan Templegod
I have written for more than a half dozen movie and music magazines. Zazz, Jam, The Wild Rag, Revelations, Sirens Of Cinema, Tampa Bay Spike, and Vengeance. All have ceased to exist, welcome to the age of the internet!! I currently write for Dan's Movie Report



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