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Stuntwomen for Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Evangeline Lilly & More | Women of Action | THR


– I don’t know what I could
do, as in professionally, if I wasn’t doing this job. When I found out that people
got paid to fight and flip, it was sort of the first time
in my life I’d been like, I know what I want to do. – The first time I got
to go through glass, it felt so wrong and so
right at the same time. – It’s about telling a story. It’s not just about
showing off what’s cool. – I know a lot of people
say to me, you know, but don’t you want to be an actor? And I’m like, oh, no, I
don’t want to be an actor. We get to do all of the fun stuff. – The thing that I really dug about Renae is she’s such a perfectionist. She pushes herself really
really really hard. – So, this morning, we’re here
at Tempest Freerunning Gym in Hawthorne, California. I have a job coming up and there’s possibly going
to be some freerunning stuff, so I’ve been working Sydney Olson, competitive freerunner and stuntwoman. – That’s it, yes. – That was a lot higher than
I thought it was going to be. – That was a really
nice wall flip, though. – I really try to think of
my performance and my skill as a business, and it takes a lot before
you get to the spot where you’re on set doing your work. It’s kind of like in sports. you don’t show up on game day and expect to be great at something. So, I really try to take advantage of the time before a project ’cause that’s your time to
maintain the skills that you have and also improve on stuff. This is pre-season. – Yes! – My favorite kinds of jobs
are the ones with lots of prep where you’re really creating the action and creating movement for the character, you’re working really
hands on with the actors, the fight team, and the coordinator all to
create, together, this piece. (groaning)
(intense music) – The biggest misconception, I think, is that these characters we see
on screen are all the actor. People are shocked when they say, oh, was Ant-Man and the Wasp the most physically demanding
movie you’ve ever done and I say, no, not at all because they carried most of the load, and it’s hard for them to really really wrap their head around the fact that one character can be
such an enormous collaboration with such incredibly
specialized and talented people contributing to my performance and to the realization of the character. – For me, I really have
been wanting to be a part of the movement and the
fighting for Scarlet Witch. I know Evangeline feels the
same with her character. – It was great to have
Lizzy come to the training because then we put it like
a sort of a book together – [Elizabeth] Yeah, of language. – Of all the language as
well as moves that were great that we could just throw in anywhere if it was changed on the fly. – We’ve had to do that a lot where I would just show
up and you’d be like, I just choreographed this,
this is what we’re doing. I’m like, okay.
(laughing) – I was growing up with watching movies like Sigourney Weaver Aliens and then Linda Hamilton in
Terminator, Terminator 2. Those were the characters
that I looked up to. So, I always knew I wanted
to do something physical, I just didn’t know what it was until I got into theater first, and then I realized there was a transition into film and stunts in particular, and then I went how do I get there? What is the path for that? (rock music) It’s a lot of training
in all kinds of things to be a stunt performer. You have your standard
falls, you have your wrecks, and you also have your fight
training that you have to do. You also have wire work training. There are so many avenues. – My older sister’s a stuntwoman, so I’ve known about the industry
and the job for a while, well before I was into it. – Yes, that is our real last name. We were born with it (laughs) I actually approached her at one point and I said you’d be very good at this and you’d do really well because there’s a lot of taller actresses that don’t have doubles
that can do what you can do. Do you want to do this? And she was like, no, you’re crazy. – I was kind of like, oh, I don’t know. It might be your thing, I don’t know. – I don’t want to do that crazy stuff. I don’t want to fall down all day long. – When I was done competing
in gymnastics in college, there was a TV show that
had just gotten picked up. I think it ended up being
called Make It Or Break It. It was a gymnastics TV show. – When that show first came around, I think I did the pilot and I ended up doubling the main girl who was taller than me, but it just worked out
that I was doubling her. – And I was like, oh, maybe I’ll go be an extra
on that show for the summer. So, I called my sister
and she was like, well, why don’t I see if I
can get you an audition? – So, I showed her tape to
the producers and whatever and they decided to bring her
in to do a promo for the show. And so, she flew to LA and did this promo and they loved her so
much that they asked her to come and be that
double for the main girl. So, it’s kind of like I
got to pass the torch. – And it didn’t take very
long before I was like, this is what I need to be doing. We just worked on Captain Marvel
together this last summer. – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 I doubled Julianne Moore and
she doubled Jennifer Lawrence. So, it was actually kind of sad in the end she shot me in the heart with an arrow. – Sometimes we have to separate ourselves because we’ll just giggle
and laugh and be obnoxious and we’re like, we’re
going to get in trouble. – Rule number one, never take
your eye off your oppo…. (groaning) – Oh my god! – I first met Heidi about 10 years ago. We were shooting Iron Man 2 and I had a very short
period of time to train in being as I’d never stepped foot in a gym and I had no experience at all with any sort of martial
arts or anything like that, and Heidi was by beacon of hope because she lit the way
and she was incredible. Heidi is so creative in her movement and all the movements really tell a story. – These days, it’s more about being able
to embody a character, phsyicalize a character. There’s more creativity to the process rather than just being
able to do a back flip or fall over or be hit by a car. – Everything, when you have
a conversation with anyone, they’re like, oh, well, we’re trying to tell
this part of the story and this is a lover’s fight
and this is love and loss and this is where we’re
going to have reversal. And I’m just thinking, well, shouldn’t you just be
making everyone look cool? But they’re actually caring
about telling the story as best as they can through fighting. – Especially on a show like Buffy where so much of the fight sequence was manifestation of emotion. And so, you need stunt
performers that are performers. So, for me, I always credit
the character of Buffy not just to me, but to both of these two because that character was a
culmination of all three of us. – The thing that’s come to me actually through my
relationship with Quentin is performance is heightened
in a stunt performer if willing to act also. (groaning)
(crashing) On Kill Bill, there’s a sequence where the bride runs up a
banister, up a stairwell. We had done it a couple of times
and Quentin came over to me and effectively asked me
what my motivation was, and I sort of laughed
thinking he was joking because it was sort of
a running joke for me with a bunch of the sort of
athlete jock stunt people that I was around that was
sort of what’s your motivation? To get paid. You know, that was sort of the
joke that was running of it, but Quentin was sort of asking
me what my motivation was as the bride and talked me
through what’s happened to her and why does she need
to get to those stairs and why does she need to get to the person at the top of the stairs, and it was a real revelation for me that was me being part of that character meant that I needed to find
the driving force for it rather than just executing
it physically correctly. And it shifted to the way that I perform as a stunt
performer and it’s also, I mean, I wouldn’t have acted in
anything if it wasn’t for him. – Ultimately, if we were
any part of shaping the path for other female shows, for
women who could be strong, who could be sensitive, who could make mistakes and who
could still kick some bleep, then I think we’re just honored to have been a part of that progression, and I’m glad that we’re still
part of that discussion. – So, today we’re going to work on the Iris verus the mechanic’s wife fight. Let’s just have the stunt
performers show Candice once before she starts getting plugged into it. – I was actually a professional
athlete my whole life. I was an international gymnast on the Great Britain
gymnastics team growing up, I was a professional boxer, and I also completed in muy
thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu. And so, I kind of fell into
stunts through my fight career. My ring announcer was actually a stuntman and he introduced me to the
world and the community, and it was really nice to
find a career and an industry that allowed me to use all of
the skillset and the talents that I had acquired my whole life. (groaning) – Nice job, guys. – One of the things that
impresses me the most in watching her work is
just her level of skill and how she takes every
single moment and action so seriously. – I was performing a stunt for a very popular television show and I had to jump 14
feet in four inch heels and land on my feet into a mat that was floating on the ocean. On my landing, I tore
all three of my ligaments and compressed my talus into my tibia and my joint locked up. The medical community told me
I was never going to walk again and that my career was over. Because I was an athlete my whole life, I put a lot of my
self-worth and my self-value on what I could accomplish
with my physical body. So, when my injury happened
and my body got taken away, I fell into depression, to be honest, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. So, I really had to engage
in the act of self-love and I had to go into a
lot of deep introspection to just get to know me for who I really am and not what my physical
body can accomplish. When I came back, people, they were just very
supportive with my injury, and if I wasn’t able to do something, we would maybe try to change
the action a little bit or change the move so that
I was able to perform it and still make it look awesome. So, it’s been an interesting journey. – Yes, I think things
have changed a little bit since years ago, and women
are much stronger now, and we can do anything. We are having more women in the industry that are stunt coordinating now. – Monique Ganderton’s coordinating, Shauna Duggins is coordinating. There has been female
coordinators, but a minutia. It does now feel like that’s shifting. – [Man] Ready and go, ready and go. – For me, becoming the first female assistant stunt
coordinator in Australia wasn’t about proving something, it was just a natural progression
for me professionally. And I know there’s a little
bit of pressure for me to become the first female
stunt coordinator in Australia, but at the same time,
I’m still performing, I’m still doubling amazing
lead Marvel characters, and I don’t want to step aside from that in order to pursue this other
avenue just to make it happen. That being said, it needs to happen. There has, to date, never been
a female stunt coordinator in the history of Australian
filmmaking, and it will happen. It’s just a matter of time. – Things are changing, for sure, but it is definitely a little
more male dominated on set. – I feel like sometimes if
women come into this industry and they’re not as
confident or not as sure, they might have to deal
with a bit more challenges because it kind of is a man’s
world in the film world. – I have obviously been daily confronted with why are you choosing
to put her behind the wheel rather than the 16 other
men that we have on the set, and fortunately, I’ve worked with people
and I’ve had bosses that have been like, well, she’s the best person for the job and she actually has more experience than all of those guys combined. So, why wouldn’t I put
her behind the wheel? – It’s a lot of bros, you know? You have to be able to hang
with the guys kind of thing. Sometimes I just want to
be around women (laughs). I’ll go somewhere and there’s women there and I’m like, oh, thank god. – This is my favorite part of the process. All three of us are so different and yet, we are three parts of the same whole. And the fact that we
have each other on set because we are always surrounded by dudes, and I say dudes because
(laughing) because that’s what it feels
like a lot of the time. It’s just so nice to have camaraderie and it’s nice to have this collaboration and it’s nice to meet and get
to know capable, intelligent, powerful women who are
excelling in their field and just killing it at life. (upbeat music)

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