Action movies are famous for their thrilling stunts, poignant sequences, and life and death stakes. The audience is on the edge of their seats watching these biting scenes unfold; the chance to live vicariously through these odds-defying characters is too hard to pass up.
With the big Hollywood hitters making big bucks, some action stars are making every penny of their paycheck. While many actors jump at the chance to perform their own stunts, some prefer to leave these skills to the experts.
Many action stars appreciate the opportunity to perform their own stunts; whether they enjoy the physique or the overall adrenaline rush, some just can’t get enough of it. In order for these biting scenes to be truly effective, the actor must engage and be fully believable. What better way to impress moviegoers than to undertake these stunts themselves?
Let’s take a look at some Hollywood daredevils who perform their own stunts.
Mega box office star Tom cruise is no stranger to danger; he has built a lucrative career starring in action films and insists on performing his own stunts. Cruise has established himself as an action star with massive hits like the Impossible mission franchise, Minority report, The War of the Worlds, and Edge of tomorrow. The actor clearly appreciates the physicality of the stunts, and during a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Cruise revealed, “The first time in a stunt is nerve-racking, but it’s also exhilarating. I was told several times while filming a stunt to stop smiling. Cruise is so determined to take the picture that he even broke his ankle while filming the last installment of Mission: Impossible!
The Oscar-winning actress has pivoted into the action world with blockbuster films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Fate of the Furious, Atomic Blonde, and Old guard, with the Netflix movie already having a sequel in the works. Clearly, Charlize theron knows how to throw a punch (or two) and engages fully in his action sequences. Speaking to Howard Stern in 2020, Charlize highlighted her stunt work by saying, “It’s about having the right team. You don’t need a stuntman to step in and do something. You create it to be something that you can do. And that’s what makes it fun. It’s no wonder the actress has a fondness for stunts; she and Keanu Reeves share the same trainer!
Since his first appearance on the action scene with the exciting Carrier trilogy, Jason statham made a name for himself in Hollywood as the ultimate anti-hero. Trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and judo, Statham’s skills have led him to find success with films like Crank, mechanic, consumables series and the Fast and furious franchise. While doing his own stunts, the actor once revealed to IGN, “I was never really afraid to do anything. It’s always a matter of security that kind of prevents me from doing everything. Statham has been a big advocate for stunt performers to receive more recognition and praise for their contributions.
Keanu reeves has created quite an action movie resume since his pivotal role in the 1989 comedy Bill & Ted’s excellent adventure. The actor isn’t afraid to try out any genre, but has received a lot of praise for roles in action films like Speed, the matrix, and the John wick series. From wild jumps of moving cars to high-intensity fight scenes, Reeves doesn’t hesitate to get his hands dirty in one scene. Speaking of the stunts performed in the John wick movies, the actor told reporter Willie Geist today: “All actions done in movies are done only by me. I do 90% of what happens in them. I try to maintain a connection with my audience.
Beloved Central Harrison ford has an extensive and impressive film career spanning six decades, appearing in classic hits like the Star wars saga and the Indiana Jones franchise. He’s portrayed countless heroic characters in the action genre and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Ford enjoys the physical nature of Indiana Jones and takes pride in training and performing his own stunts. During the iconic opening sequence of The Raiders of the Lost Ark, the actor himself passed the rock and did it ten times.
Action stars who leave the care to the professionals
While many actors are willing to risk their lives for a role, others prefer to err on the side of caution and leave the stunt work to the professionals. Whether it is to preserve themselves, protect production or simply know their limits, these actors refuse to do their own stunts.
Renowned character actor Danny trejo is famous for his many roles in action movies like Desperado, Con Air, Machete, and the spy on children series. With his steel face, handlebar mustache and penchant for sharp objects, the actor is known as a rebel in Hollywood. Despite his badass character, Trejo is honest about his thoughts on actors performing their own stunts. In a conversation with Yahoo Movies, Trejo said, “We have stunt guys who do this stuff. And if they hurt themselves I’m sorry to say, but they just need to put a mustache on another Mexican and we can move on. But if I get hurt, it’s like everyone’s out of work. So, I don’t choose to do this.
Hollywood comic and heavyweight Ryan reynolds is famous for his contagious personality and quirky humor. He crafted the perfect mix of action and comedic roles, and while he enjoyed doing his own stunts, he’s since been sidelined. Reynolds was forced to stop performing action sequences after affecting his health. 2012 Secure house was the last movie where he did his own stunts, having fractured his neck vertebrae during filming. Complying with his doctor’s order, Reynolds leaves the heavy lifting to his stuntmen.
Esteemed Irish actor Liam neeson saw a change in his career trajectory when he took on the role of Bryan Mills in the Taken trilogy. The ensuing casting led Neeson to other action roles, including Clash of the Titans, The Gray, and A walk among the tombstones. The actor started boxing at the age of nine and used these skills while playing. Despite his willingness to take a punch, Neeson doesn’t perform his own stunts. He has the same double since 1999, Mark Vanselow. As a result, Neeson said, “I do my own fights, I don’t do my own stunts, and there is a difference.”
Samuel L. Jackson
Known both for his colorful resume and expressive vocabulary, Samuel L. Jackson is one of Hollywood’s most decorated actors. With a career spanning decades and roles in blockbuster films like A Time to Kill, Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Jackson is truly an acting chameleon. In recent years, the actor has taken on more physical roles, such as The hitman’s bodyguard, Glass, and his appearances as Marvel’s Nick Fury. Despite his commitment to the craft, Jackson knows his limits and that includes stunts. “Why should I do it? If you want a long career, you don’t do all of that.
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