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