Heads up: we’re about to totally shatter your idyllic belief that your favorite movie stars perform their own stunts. If you don’t want your dream bubble to be burst, go ahead and click away now because we’re going to drag some of your favorite action packed celebs into the light and expose them hanging out with their stunt doubles.
That’s not to say that no celebrity ever does their own stunts! That’s certainly not true! Actually, in our day and age when stunts have been made safer than ever, it’s fairly common to see celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Christian Bale, and Matt Damon doing their own stunts… but it’s never a risk taken lightly. Just because you don’t see the safety harnesses and belays in the final cut doesn’t mean they weren’t there and edited out. Even the riskiest of stunt people take all precautions when approaching their high-stakes work.
These days, celebs actually tend to use stand-ins more than they use stunt doubles. A stand-in is someone who does just that — he or she stands in for an actor. It’s a lot of stress for Hollywood’s finest to do dramatic scenes and then have to pay attention when someone is monologuing at them, so they get a stand-in to replace the back of the expensive actor’s head. Very often, you’ll see A-List actors relaxing with their stunt doubles and stand-ins, and it just looks like a line up of Doppelgangers or like a Where’s Waldo game featuring a famous actor. So let’s check out fifteen of Hollywood’s finest hanging out with their weird lookalikes:
1. Chandler Riggs in The Walking Dead
Adult actors have a lot of freedom and choice when it comes to shooting their own stunts, especially when filming a television series rather than a movie. Because of lower production values per episode and the inability to ALWAYS have a stunt double on standby for each and every actor, directors constantly put stunts in the hands of actors: “Do you want to do this, or should we bring in a double?” Child actors, unfortunately, are not afforded that much choice. If there’s a stunt, producers will almost certainly bring in a double. That’s why Chandler Riggs (who plays Carl on The Walking Dead) has had a stunt double for years: Emily Brobst. The twenty-nine-year-old woman may be small in stature, but she’s one hell of a good stunt double who’s also worked on Terminator: Genisys, Django Unchained, and Godzilla. She’s the tough chick behind the whiny Carl Grimes that makes him look so badass.
2. Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
Anyone that knows Johnny Depp and just how crazy he can be both on and off the set knows that he would be the sort of actor to impulsively sign up to pull his own stunts. And he totally is! If you watch any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you’re likely noticing that Johnny Depp is doing some of his own tricky stunt work, especially when it comes to sword fights (though most of that was a directorial decision — almost all of the main cast did most of their own sword fights). But Depp didn’t do it all, especially after some of the severe injuries he’s incurred while doing stunt work (like paralyzing pain in his back and a broken hand that required immediate surgery). Tony Angelotti, who was Depp’s double in Dead Man’s Chest, almost suffered a fatal injury in filming, so we’re glad Depp didn’t do it all.
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgement Day
YEP, Even Arnold Schwarzenegger had a stunt double!
We understand your angst and confusion, fans. Arnold is a pretty killer guy, and we’re just talking about these days. Back in his heyday? Around the time he was shooting Terminator 2: Judgement Day? Man, that guy was ripped and badass, and you knew from looking at the poster that you wouldn’t want to mess with him! So why did he use a stunt double? You have to understand the risks involved when performing each and every stunt. Leaning out of a moving car to fire a gun loaded with blanks is very dangerous, even in a very controlled environment. Even simple stunts, like a punch thrown, can be very dangerous if the wrong coordinator is in charge or if actors are being careless. To preserve the integrity of the film and ensure Arnold wouldn’t get hurt before the movie was close to being wrapped, they used stunt doubles all the time.