On Being The Fall Guy

There are two preconceived notions I had about stunt guys when I was young and dumb that were quickly shattered when I actually became one:

1)  “Chicks’ll dig it.”

When I was younger and much more stupid than I am even now, I thought they would.  I mean, you’re the ultimate dangerous bad boy, right?  You’re dangerous, edgy and yet still glamorous, right?  Not so much. Women don’t flock to you because you do it.  In general, it’s either one of two reactions.  A. “Wow, what a dangerous job.  I could never date anyone that did that.” OR B. “Can you introduce me to the actor you’re doubling?”  For any young guys out there who are thinking of getting into this business for that, become a fireman instead.

2)  “Actors will be SOOO appreciative.”

Actors don’t really appreciate you.  Big generalization and there are some notable exceptions (one of which is the real point of this post) but for the most part actors tend to resent you.  Even though you’re there taking lumps for them, you’re also the guy or girl they’re bringing in to do something they can’t do.  You’re the one that can do it smoother and make it look cooler than they can.  I’ve seen actors that out and out hate their doubles, forbidding them to be on set at the same time or even talk to them.  I’ve even had an actor walk up to the director after I’ve been thrown through a window and am bleeding profusely and tell the director that I need to do it again because he thought my back was too rounded and he didn’t want to look like he was slouching.  (Wasn’t on this show.)

Which is really silly if you think about it.  Most stunt people I know spend hours and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars building their skills.  Actors spend equally as much time and effort on their trade.  They’re two separate skills and one shouldn’t be seen as competition of the other but for some reason they are and this sense of competition causes great resentment more often than not.

A huge exception to this is Mr. Brandon Routh.  Our Italian fans here can confirm this for me, but Dylan is a lover not a fighter.  Which means he takes some lumps in this movie.  Quite a few.  I mean, a lot.  Brandon is willing to do a lot but he also knows his limitations and that his job is to act, not hit the ground twenty times in a row.  That’s what his double, Mike Massa and stunt coordinator Eric Norris are here for.  Friday night we were in downtown New Orleans, about a block from Bourbon Street (very interesting place to film on a Friday night, believe me), and the shot was Dylan flying out of an alley and crashing into a car.  Mr. Massa was hitting an air ram (kind of an electronic catapult that flings a person high into the air) traveling about twenty feet through the air and landing on the hood of a car.  Not an easy thing, especially when you’ve got one car, so you’ve got one take.  Brandon had a later call than the rest of us, so he was still getting ready when we first started but quickly showed up on set when he heard what Mike was doing.  You see, Mr. Routh is, unless he’s shooting elsewhere, on set when his double is working and is, more often than not, the first one there to pick him up and dust him off after it’s done.  In this particular instance, when the stunt went off perfectly, Brandon was there immediately with a huge (man) hug for Mike and a genuine and sincere thanks to him “for making me look so good”.  Most actors may not realize how much that kind of thing truly means.  It gets really hard to keep putting your life on the line for somebody who resents you or wants you to do it again because you slouched too much.  You do it because that’s your job, but it’s still tough.  Guys like Mr. Routh make it a lot easier.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/LHTINO (Little Hot Today In New Orleans)

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10 Responses to “On Being The Fall Guy”

  1. Vgerland Says:

    Awww, what a nice thing to read on a Sunday morning. I can fully understand how good it feels when one’s work is acknowledged and appreciated. It is the same in any work environment and most do not entail actual death defying work.

    Thanks for sharing that with us. I think in watching the SR behind the scenes footage that side of Mr. Routh was evident. I also think it is apparent in the way he lives his life from day to day choosing to spend so much of his down time doing worth while humanitarian endeavors.

    I get the feeling that he is not the only ‘good guy’ in the production. From reading your posts, it seems like the entire team is something to be proud of. Thinking back to that video blog posted a few days ago by that gentleman it seems he agrees.

    Again. Thanks to ALL of you there on the production for the hard work you’re doing on behalf of the fans. I am already dying for the opportunity to stand in line to see the resulting movie.

    Vger

  2. Xabaras Says:

    Mind you, I don’t want to look slouched… – HA HA HA!!
    Man, I feel sorry for you…

    The nice thing about Routh is that he said his friend (Italian, or who grew up in Italy) told him he had to play DYD because he (the Italian friend) loved the comics so much. It’s the first interview I saw with Brendon regarding this film, and it gave me the confidence that Routh can do this, and that he is an a OK guy. And only an a OK guy can play DYD, right?

    One more thing – I’ve heard about this film a long time ago, and it was called (even then): DEAD OF NIGHT. Now, it’s a great title for a film, but it’s used – it’s a British horror film from 1945. (Haven’t seen it yet.) Can you clear this up for me Dan? Or is this a working title, with a possibility for a new one (I don’t know…DYLAN DOG: Dead of Night, or whatever). Thanks.

    (Can’t wait for the DYD pics)

  3. Sounds like you guys are having a great time there…nice healthy atmosphere, and a lot of respect for each others work. BR is definitely one cool dude, respect!

  4. deadofnightmovie Says:

    You are indeed correct, Xabaras. There was a horror film called “Dead of Night” back in 1945. It was an anthology-style movie with four different directors directing each four of the segments. I’ve never seen it either, but the MPAA cleared us to use the title and it will, unless something drastic happens, remain the title in the States. Abroad, where the comic is well known, it will probably be called Dylan Dog.

  5. Stargazer Says:

    “In this particular instance, when the stunt went off perfectly, Brandon was there immediately with a huge (man) hug for Mike and a genuine and sincere thanks to him “for making me look so good”. Most actors may not realize how much that kind of thing truly means.”

    That’s one of the reasons why I’m a big Brandon fan. A real life Superman. Again, thanks Dan for sharing this with us. Love the blog.

    Also, hope they use ‘Dylan Dog’ as a title for the movie in other places. Sounds very original.

  6. RouthFan1 Says:

    Thanks again for the insight Dan; And as for 1) chicks dig it…I personally think it would be interesting, and I’d probably surmise on a shallow end of life that most stunt men out there for the most part have a better build than the main actor…however in some circumstances I’d guess not.

    Anyway, interesting and I don’t know, but if I were an actor, I’d respect you. I’m not a very coordinated individual and have literally tripped over my own two feet….going up the stairs, straight hallway, you name it, I’ve tripped over it.

    As for respect of other actors…well shame on them, I mean really. It’s just rediculous that people can have such an overinflated sense of self-importance. To be honest, films are fantastic, I enjoy them and all the hard work that goes into them BUT, actors are not teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists, policemen or firefighters…individuals who should have more respect due to the fact that these people better the world around them EVERY DAY. Sad that some people live in such a small little world and have no idea that every person in society contributes, down the guy that holds the microphone. Every person matters.

    Alright, off the soap box and I’m givin’ some kudos to the leading guy…yeah we know who. I just think that in life, it’s the little details in life are what are a true reflection of a person’s genuine character. It’s not always easy to extend yourself but I’m absolutely certain it’s always appreciated. It may not be by someone big and “important” but it matters to someone. It’s as simple as saying hello to the cleaning lady who empties the wastepaper baskets in the office or the janitor cleaning the floors. It’s somewhat reassuring that not everyone out there in “hollywoodland” is so narcissistic.

  7. Vgerland Says:

    Hey Dan. Don’t tell your wife LOL, but chicks are digging ya right now. You seem to be a real sweetie even if you are a tough fall guy.

    I know when I finally get to see this movie I will be wondering where Brandon ends and the fall guys start. You guys are so under appreciated by the audience. Well not me anymore. Make a good move but well I am sure you know we all want you guys to stay safe. Actors and stuntmen.

  8. It is amazing that everything you hear about Routh seems to be consistent from all parties.

  9. RouthFan1 Says:

    Agreed Vger; not fun being a therapist to a guy who got hurt while just being “wrong place, wrong time.” Be safe and stay out of the cervical collars, they’re really hard to feed yourself in, kind of stinks when you’re a guy and trying to shave with them too…the chin rest kind of is a pain.

  10. deadofnightmovie Says:

    Well, if we do our job, Vger, you won’t be able to tell. And that’s nice to hear but they missed their chance. My wife is the love of my life and I’ve only got eyes for her these days.

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