With the film industry depending more and more on high-impact visual effects to get people into theaters, stunt doubles to A-list stars have tighter schedules than ever. Technology evolves by the minute, rendering the days of light sabers and animatronic dinosaurs relatively dull when compared to the potential of what awaits us in films of the future.
Even though they are not recognized as the big stars of film, these stunt doubles are essential for ensuring that audiences receive the action they anticipate. You can’t do everything with CGI (and trust us, Hollywood, we don’t want you to).
Stunt doubling requires a certain corporeal intelligence that most actors don’t have. And even with natural physical aptitude, people in this specialized field still go through years of rigorous training to perform the stunts you love without harming themselves. If the actor were to hurt him or herself doing stunt work, it could not only present a costly delay in film production but also harm others in the process.
Since doubles and their actors need to seem—even from a distance—as if they are the same person, the duos tend to form a special bond during production. Some actors stick with the same stunt double for many different films, with people on the street even mistaking them for the actual celebrity.
Danny Trejo, more recently known for his role in AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” has this to say about stunt doubles in the industry:
“First of all, making movies is a business. Now all you actors that want to disagree me, I dare you. The reality is insurance companies won’t let us do our own stunts. We have professionals, just like I’m a professional artist. What I do is, “To be or not to be in the barrio,” that’s what I do. A stunt guy pads up and goes through a wall. That’s his profession. Every time the profession’s mixed, I don’t want to risk 80 people’s jobs just so I can say I have big nuts. I don’t want to say that. Norm Mora is my stunt man, that’s his profession.”