by Rob DiCristino
It’s long been said that Hollywood stunt work is some of the most grueling and painful in the business. Stunt performers are expected to arrive early, stay late, train in their off hours, nail the gag in one take, and never — under any circumstances — let anyone see them bleed. They’re expected to risk life and limb for their art while covering their faces just enough so that no one in the audience has to wonder whether it’s really Keanu Reeves or Scarlett Johansson leaping from skyscrapers or doing all that backflipping gun-fu. While some stunt performers have gone onto productive directorial careers (Hal Needham, Chad Stahelski) and a few even find starring roles in front of the camera (Zoë Bell, Scott Adkins), the vast majority of stunt work is done by athletes, martial artists, drivers, dancers, and all-around badassess who will remain largely anonymous to the public. Ninety-three years on, there’s no serious talk of establishing an Academy Award for Best Stunts. Hell, according to Vulture, stunt performers still don’t have a dedicated group within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story is now available on VOD platforms.