Created By: StevenT on October 9, 2011 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on February 23, 2014
Troped

Obvious Stunt Double

When a stunt double looks nothing like the actor they are filling in for.

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Trope
Alice is a famous actress working on her latest movie. The time has come to film the scene where she rides a motorcycle through flaming hoops over a shark tank. But, wait, Alice is far too delicate, precious and non-expendable to put be put through that! A stunt double is needed. But Alice's usual stunt double is in the hospital, so what do they do? Hire Alice's friend Bob. Sure, he looks nothing like her, but it's not like anyone will notice.

A subtrope of Paper-Thin Disguise or Special Effects Failure, depending on whether the example is in-universe or not. It often overlaps with Fight Scene Failure. The Other Darrin is something similar, where a character gets a new actor because the previous one left the show.


Special Effects Failure examples:

Film
  • Wet Hot American Summer: Whenever Neil climbs on the motorcycle it not so seamlessly cuts to another man who looks nothing like him wearing the same costume, in a cheap wig riding away. At one point the double even slowly and awkwardly rides the motorcycle directly toward the camera. After panning away to others, it whips back to show the actor now straddling the bike.
  • An infamous scene from Men in Black reveals that Will Smith's stunt double during the "Remember the little red button? Push the little red button" gag was Caucasian.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it is amazingly obvious that the guy who jumps the motorcycle into the Los Angeles River drainage canal is not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Averted in the climbing scene at the beginning of Mission: Impossible 2. Even in the interviews in the DVD extras, Tom Cruise's climbing double looks exactly like him.
  • This is a Bollywood movie called Yaarana. There are two main protagonists, Bishan and Kishan. Bishan buys gliders for both of them, and they take off. It's very obvious that the stunt doubles riding the gliders aren't the two actors.
  • When Jason grabs Chris as she is falling from a window in Friday the 13th Part III, it becomes obvious from the camera shots outside the house that a stunt actress is being used.
  • Big Bad Prof. Glastenbury alternates between his actor and a stuntman in a bad wig during the final fight in Avenging Force.
  • In The Great Muppet Caper as Ms. Piggy is racing to the gallery on a motorcycle there are several shots of a full body driver on the bike which is obviously a real person. Though they are careful to never show the face, the difference in size between a human and a Muppet is blatantly obvious. (and this is the same film that had some of the most elaborate actual Muppets riding bicycle scenes).
  • Batman: The Movie: In the various fight scenes the Riddler looks nothing like Frank Gorshin, who played him the rest of the time.
  • Diamonds Are Forever. In the scene where Willard Whyte's two female captors dive into the pool after James Bond, Thumper is clearly not the same woman as the actress who was playing her earlier.
  • Near the start of The Avengers, the Black Widow is being awesome. Only, Scarlett Johansson isn't. It's a really buff dude in a ginger wig. Usually, you'd be too enthralled by the fact they're flipping around strapped to a chair, but the lack of boobs, change in hair color and the actress' weight in additional muscle makes it a bit obvious.
  • While the shot's convincing in the movie proper, the outakes in the credits of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter show the double for Mary Magnum's motorbike stunts without his helmet on (but wearing the, presumably padded, catsuit).

Live-Action TV
  • Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch: it is fairly easy to tell the difference between when he is being portrayed by a real cat and when he is being portrayed by a puppet.
  • Knight Rider had lots of scenes where David Hasslehoff's stunt double was used, mostly driving scenes but also some brawls. The stunt double's head often had a comically big silhouette due to an afro-like hairstyle.
  • The most infamous example from Star Trek: The Original Series might be the fight in "Amok Time", which featured a stunt double that looked nothing like William Shatner fighting an equally non-Leonard-Nimoyish stuntman.
    • Though you could also cite the fight between Ricardo Montalban's stuntman and whoever was doubling for Shatner in "Space Seed".
    • Or the fight in "Court Martial", where seemingly two random guys fought in place of actors William Shatner and Richard Webb.
  • This happened frequently on Star Trek: The Next Generation but was particularly noticeable during the first season.
  • Buffy's stunt double was quite a bit larger than she. During one commentary, Joss Whedon says of the switch that Buffy "straps on her fightin' boobs". Perhaps the most egregious, however, was when a heavyset cafeteria lady was replaced by a stunt double half her size.
  • This is why female rangers in Super Sentai/Power Rangers have skirts on their outfits, to hide the the fact that most of the in-costume work is done by stuntmen.
  • When some of the characters from M*A*S*H are riding in a chopper, and it's clear it's not the actual actors.
  • Wonder Woman: Lynda Carter's doubles were all not-particularly-effeminate men.
  • The first episode of Chuck has Chuck being burglarized by a "mysterious" masked ninja, later clearly revealed to be Sarah. The masked figure, however is clearly a powerfully built male.


In-universe and parody examples:

Anime and Manga
  • From Binbougami Ga, this is actually what Nadeshiko's "body doubles technique" is. A bunch of other people dressed in her outfit and a wig.
  • In the Mitsudomoe anime, one episode is almost entirely A Show Within a Show Power Rangers parody, complete with its own stunt driver (though surprisingly only during scenes with no actual stunts).

Film
  • An In-Universe / Breaking the Fourth Wall example in Spaceballs when the Spaceballs capture the heroes' stunt doubles. Princess Vespa's is a man.
    "You idiot! You captured their stunt doubles!"
  • Played for laughs in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. When Jack Spade's mother fights Mr. Big's toughs in the diner, she's replaced by a blatantly obvious stunt double - a guy in a wig, with a mustache. You can watch the scene here.
  • Invoked in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World when Scott has to battle Lucas Lee's stunt doubles, some of which are roughly one head shorter than Lucas Lee himself and a few of which appear to be of different ethnicities. Note that the Lucas Lee's stunt doubles are played by Chris Evans' actual stunt doubles.

Live-Action TV
  • Saturday Night Live: Kristen Wiig and Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy do a jazzy dance behind a sheet, so we only see their outlines. McCarthy's is about 150 lbs thinner than she is.
  • From an episode of VH-1's I Love Toys, the commentators were talking about pogo sticks; at one point, comedian Patrice O'Neal wants to try one out, but knowing how large he is, he wouldn't have been able to pull it off, and needed a stunt double. Cue a super skinny guy (wearing Patrice's outfit, which just hangs off his body) bouncing on the pogo stick.
  • World's Dumbest...: In an episode of "World's Dumbest Partiers", John Enos and Loni Love watch "their" wedding video (a couple's wedding video with their faces plastered over the bride and groom) involving an accident with the bride and groom crashing into each other on a zipline. Loni comments, "Good thing I used that white woman as my stunt double!"

Video Games
  • In the second Broken Sword game, George wanders onto the set of a movie where the actors' stunt double is significantly fatter than the star he's doubling for. When said double is injured George serves as one as well.
  • In The Movies: Stunts and Effects your films are penalized by critics if you use a stunt double who is of a different race or gender than the actor they are representing.

Web Comics
  • The central joke of The B-Movie Comic is that it's recreating B Movies in all their cheesy, low-budget glory. Part of this is the variety of behind-the-scenes bonus comics, explaining how they accomplished the numerous stunts and special effects. Turns out that Snuki's actor does his own stunts, and everyone else's stunts, regardless of how little he looks like them.

Web Original

Web Video
  • This reminds me of Film Brain's body double counter in his Steven Seagal reviews.
  • SfDebris highlights this in his reviews when it pops up, but also explains why it does with older shows. Basically on old, small, fuzzy tv sets of yesteryear the technology meant that even the most superficial resemblance could be gotten away, but as technology advanced and we got better and bigger televisions it became more noticeable when a non-lookalike stunt "double" was used.

Western Animation
  • In Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, there's a scene of Stewie leaping out of a hotel window. It cuts to what appears to be Dennis Franz in red overalls making the dive.
  • Subverted in Kick Buttowski when Kick takes Scarlett's place as Teena's stunt double. It's fixed in editing so Kick looks exactly like Teena. Later, when Kick winds up in hospital, he's replaced with Emo Kid.
  • In Spongebob Squarepants, it's obvious Sandy's doubling for Mermaid Man in the unofficial movie they make.
  • Used in the Looney Tunes short "A Star is Bored", where Daffy is Bugs' stunt double for any dangerous scene. He's dressed in a rabbit outfit but you can still see his duck face.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When they shoot the Radioactive Man film in Springfield, Milhouse plays Fallout Boy and a late middle age European little person is his stunt double.
    • Krusty and Sideshow Mel have very obvious doubles for an ice dancing routine they do.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the episode "The Return of Batduck", Plucky becomes the stunt double for Michael Keaton when Batman Returns is filmed. He's even referred to as the "Stunt Duck" by the Director.
    • In the episode "Kon Ducki", during the "Making of" segment, Plucky's original plan was to have Hamton as his stunt double during the scene where the mast falls on top of him. However, Hamton's inability to remember his lines led to Plucky having do his own stunts.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents episode, "Lights, Camera, Adam!", Timmy becomes the stunt Cleft for The Crimson Chin Movie. The Main difference between him and the main Actor playing Cleft is that the main Actor playing Cleft is a much taller teenager and Timmy is a short 10-year-old.
  • In-universe in an episode of Family Guy, Neil shows his class an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and points out in a fight scene when it's William Shatner and when it's his stunt double.
  • The Legend of Tarzan has an episode in which a director is filming a movie about a wild man raised by monkeys in the very jungle the protagonists live in. Since the actor playing the wild man is lousy at filming the action scenes, Tarzan ends up roped into being his stunt double. Not only do Tarzan and the actor look noting alike, but their outfits are different.
  • In the pilot for Sheep in the Big City, sheep finds himself cornered on a rooftop by Far Mer John and General Specific, though while Far Mer John and General Specific argue over the General's penmanship (or lack thereof) on the cue cards, Sheep uses this opportunity to escape: he unravels his wool, creating a rope for him to swing over to the roof of the building across the street. Cut to a shot of a man wearing a Sheep costume swinging from a rope to the other building, only crash against the facade, and tumbled down to the street below (all in slow motion, and with added film grain), before cutting back to Sheep, who is now lying on the cracked sidewalk in a daze.
Community Feedback Replies: 59
  • October 9, 2011
    RedneckRocker
    In Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, there's a scene of Stewie leaping out of a hotel window. It cuts to what appears to be Dennis Franz in red overalls making the dive.
  • October 9, 2011
    Premonition45
    Parodied in Spaceballs: "You idiot! You captured their stunt doubles!"
  • October 9, 2011
    ChimbleySweep
    Wet Hot American Summer: whenever Neil climbs on the motorcycle it not so seamlessly cuts to another man who looks nothing like him wearing the same costume, in a cheap wig riding away. At one point the double even slowly and awkwardly rides the motorcycle directly toward the camera. After panning away to others, it whips back to show the actor now straddling the bike.
  • October 9, 2011
    RandomChaos
  • October 9, 2011
    SunnyV
    • In Spongebob Squarepants, it's obvious Sandy's doubling for Mermaid Man in the unofficial movie they make.
  • October 9, 2011
    Worldmaker
    It isn't a subtrope of Paper Thin disguise, its a Subtrope of Special Effects Failure. It often overlaps with Fight Scene Failure, and you might want to check that trope for some more examples.

    A better name would be Obvious Stunt Double.
  • October 10, 2011
    aurora369
    An In Universe / Breaking The Fourth Wall example in Spaceballs: the Spaceballs capture the heroes' stunt doubles. Princess Vespa's is a man.
  • October 10, 2011
    Arivne
    There are several examples of "stunt double doesn't look like the actor they're replacing" in Dont Look At The Camera, including Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Star Trek The Original Series.

    Film
    • Played for laughs in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. When Jack Spade's mother fights Mr. Big's toughs in the diner, she's replaced by a blatantly obvious stunt double - a guy in a wig, with a mustache.

    You can watch the scene here.
  • October 10, 2011
    fulltimeD
    An infamous scene from Men In Black reveals that Will Smith's stunt double during the "Remember the little red button? Push the little red button" gag was Caucasian.

    This happened frequently on Star Trek The Next Generation but was particularly noticeable during the first season.
  • October 10, 2011
    ArtFever
    This reminds me of Film Brain's body double counter in his Steven Seagal reviews.
  • October 10, 2011
    morenohijazo
    • The most infamous example from Star Trek The Original Series might be the fight in "Amok Time", which featured a stunt double that looked nothing like William Shatner fighting an equally non-Leonard-Nimoyish stuntman.
      • Though you could also cite the fight between Ricardo Montalban's stuntman and whoever was doubling for Shatner in "Space Seed".
      • Or the fight in "Court Martial", where seemingly two random guys fought in place of actors William Shatner and Richard Webb.

    • A non-Trek example: In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it is amazingly obvious that the guy who jumps the motorcycle into the Los Angeles River drainage canal is not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • October 10, 2011
    Stratadrake
  • October 10, 2011
    surgoshan
    • Buffy's stunt double was quite a bit larger than she. During one commentary, Joss Whedon says of the switch that Buffy "straps on her fightin' boobs". Perhaps the most egregious, however, was when a heavyset cafeteria lady was replaced by a stunt double half her size.
  • October 10, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    Done on purpose in the Bugs Bunny / Daffy Duck short A Star Is Bored, where Daffy is Bugs' stunt double for any dangerous scene.
  • October 12, 2011
    LoopyChew
    • Invoked in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World when Scott has to battle Lucas Lee's stunt doubles, some of which are roughly one head shorter than Lucas Lee himself and a few of which appear to be of different ethnicities. Note that the Lucas Lee's stunt doubles are played by Chris Evans' actual stunt doubles.
  • October 12, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In the second Broken Sword game, George wanders onto the set of a movie where the actors' stunt double is significantly fatter than the star he's doubling for. When said double is injured George serves as one as well.
  • October 12, 2011
    Premonition45
  • October 13, 2011
    deuxhero
    This is why female rangers in Super Sentai/Power Rangers have skirts on their outfits, to hide the the fact that most of the in-costume work is done by stuntmen.
  • October 13, 2011
    SonofRojBlake
    Averted in the climbing scene at the beginning of Mission Impossible 2. Even in the interviews in the DVD extras, Tom Cruise's climbing double looks exactly like him.
  • October 13, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    This is a Bollywood movie called Yaarana. There are 2 main protagonists, Bishan and Kishan. Bishan buys gliders for both of them, and they take off. It's very obvious that the stunt doubles riding the gliders aren't the 2 actors.
  • October 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • The Simpsons: Krusty and Sideshow Mel have very obvious doubles for an ice dancing routine they do.
    • Saturday Night Live: Kristen Wiig and Mike And Molly's Melissa McCarthy do a jazzy dance behind a sheet, so we only see their outlines. McCarthy's is about 150 lbs thinner than she is.
  • September 26, 2013
    aaeyero
    • Salem from Sabrina The Teenage Witch: it is fairly easy to tell the difference between when he is being portrayed by a real cat and when he is being portrayed by a puppet.
  • September 26, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    So is this only for in-universe examples then? I can think of a couple of examples from M*A*S*H where characters are in a chopper, and it's clear it's not the actual actors, but reading over the examples, it appears this is for in-universe, played-for-laughs, so...

    Live Action TV
    • From an episode of VH 1's I Love Toys, the commentators were talking about pogo sticks; at one point, comedian Patrice O'Neal wants to try one out, but knowing how large he is, he wouldn't have been able to pull it off, and needed a stunt double. Cue a super skinny guy (wearing Patrice's outfit, which just hangs off his body) bouncing on the pogo stick.
    • World's Dumbest...: In an episode of "World's Dumbest Partiers", John Enos and Loni Love watch "their" wedding video (a couple's wedding video with their faces plastered over the bride and groom) involving an accident with the bride and groom crashing into each other on a zipline. Loni comments, "Good thing I used that white woman as my stunt double!"
  • September 26, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Knight Rider had lots of scenes where David Hasslehoff's stunt double was used, mostly driving scenes but also some brawls. The stunt double's head often had a comically big silhouette due to an afro-like hairstyle.
  • September 27, 2013
    kjnoren
    Should probably be marked as a trivia trope.
  • September 27, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Was about to say that. :P
  • September 27, 2013
    Someoneman
    ^ I personally think this is more of an Audience Reaction. Also, In Universe examples should be in a different section from Real Life examples.
  • September 27, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "The Return of Batduck", Plucky becomes the stunt double for Michael Keaton when Batman Returns is filmed. He's even referred to as the "Stunt Duck" by the Director.

    • In The Fairly Oddparents episode, "Lights, Camera, Adam!", Timmy becomes the stunt Cleft for The Crimson Chin Movie. The Main difference between him and the main Actor playing Cleft is that the main Actor playing Cleft is a much taller teenager and Timmy is a short 10-year-old.
  • September 27, 2013
    erforce
    I got two for Film:

    • When Jason grabs Chris as she is falling from a window in Friday The13th Part III, it becomes obvious from the camera shots outside the house that a stunt actress is being used.
    • Big Bad Prof. Glastenbury alternates between his actor and a stuntman in a bad wig during the final fight in Avenging Force.
  • September 27, 2013
    darthcaliber
    in The Great Muppet Caper as Ms. Piggy is racing to the gallery on a motorcycle there are several shots of a full body driver on the bike which is obviously a real person. Though they are careful to never show the face, the difference in size between a human and a Muppet is blatantly obvious. (and this is the same film that had some of the most elaborate actual Muppets riding bicycle scenes)
  • September 27, 2013
    Duncan
  • September 27, 2013
    morenohijazo
    ^^^^^ I've tried to do that, although I'm not sure if I've sorted correctly some of the examples.
  • September 28, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Batman The Movie (1966). In the various fight scenes the Riddler looks nothing like Frank Gorshin, who played him the rest of the time.
    • Diamonds Are Forever. In the scene where Willard Whyte's two female captors dive into the pool after James Bond, Thumper is clearly not the same woman as the actress who was playing her earlier.
  • September 28, 2013
    Nazetrime
    The Other Darrin is something similar, where a character gets a new actor beceause the previous one left the show. For an In Universe example :

    • The Legend Of Tarzan has an episode in which a director is filming a movie about a wild man raised by monkeys in the very jungle the prtagonists live in. Since the actor playing the wild man is lousy at filming the action scenes, Tarzan ends up roped into being his stunt double. Not only do Tarzan and the actor look noting alike, but their outfits are different.
  • September 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In one Looney Tunes short Daffy Duck gets a job as Bugs Bunny's stunt double. He's dressed in a rabbit outfit but you can still see his duck face.
  • September 28, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • From Binbougami Ga, this is actually what Nadeshiko's "body doubles technique" is. A bunch of other people dressed in her outfit and a wig.
  • September 29, 2013
    captainpat
    Please rewrite the description without the Alice And Bob scenario. That's an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in your trope description when you have an example section right below it.

  • September 29, 2013
    KevinKlawitter
    In The Movies: Stunts and Effects your films are penalized by critics if you use a stunt double who is of a different race or gender than the actor they are representing.
  • September 30, 2013
    Nazetrime
    Found typos in what I wrote, corrected them in the YKTTW.
  • September 30, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    "This reminds me of Film Brain's body double counter in his Steven Seagal reviews"...

    Sheesh, do you just copy paste the examples in the draft without reading them or does that actually sound like a properly written example to you?
  • September 30, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    • The Simpsons: When they shoot the Radioactive Man film in Springfield, Milhouse plays Fallout Boy and a late middle age European little person is his stunt double.
    • Wonder Woman: Lynda Carter's doubles were all not-particularly-effeminate men.
  • October 1, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    SfDebris highlights this in his reviews when it pops up, but also explains why it does with older shows. Basically on old, small, fuzzy tv sets of yesteryear the technology meant that even the most superficial resemblance could be gotten away, but as technology advanced and we got better and bigger televisions it became more noticeable when a non-lookalike stunt "double" was used.
  • October 4, 2013
    DAN004
    That Film Brain example needs rewording.
  • October 5, 2013
    Moonhitler
    Parody:
  • November 15, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Here's another Tiny Toon Adventures example:

    • In the episode, "Kon Ducki", during the "Making of" segment, Plucky's original plan was to have Hamton as his stunt double during the scene where the mast falls on top of him. However, Hamton's inability to remember his lines led to Plucky having do his own stunts.
  • December 26, 2013
    Whiskeyflips
    The first episode of Chuck has Chuck being burglarized by a "mysterious" masked ninja, later clearly revealed to be Sarah. The masked figure, however is clearly a powerfully built male.
  • December 27, 2013
    robinjohnson
    As this is a trope about spectacular failures to "double" an actor, how about Stunt Non Double as a title?
  • December 27, 2013
    lakingsif
    • Near the start of The Avengers, the Black Widow is being awesome. Only, Scarlett Johansson isn't. It's a really buff dude in a ginger wig. Usually, you'd be too enthralled by the fact they're flipping around strapped to a chair, but the lack of boobs, change in hair color and the actress' weight in additional muscle makes it a bit obvious.
  • December 27, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • December 27, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Read the comment I wrote previously (^x10). Then take a look at the first Web Video example. Would someone please fix that already?
  • December 29, 2013
    Bisected8
    • While the shot's convincing in the movie proper, the outakes in the credits of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter show the double for Mary Magnum's motorbike stunts without his helmet on (but wearing the, presumably padded, catsuit).
  • December 29, 2013
    frosty
    Removed a hat because it still has a weak Example As Thesis.
  • December 29, 2013
    Prfnoff
    This seems to be Stunt Double, The Same But More Specific, particularly with the inclusion of aversions in the example list. Making this In Universe Examples Only would probably be enough to distinguish it.
  • December 29, 2013
    MetaFour
    Webcomics:
    • The central joke of The B Movie Comic is that it's recreating B Movies in all their cheesy, low-budget glory. Part of this is the variety of behind-the-scenes bonus comics, explaining how they accomplished the numerous stunts and special effects. Turns out that Snuki's actor does his own stunts, and everyone else's stunts, regardless of how little he looks like them.
  • December 30, 2013
    Bisected8
    ^^ Of the examples listed so far, none of them appear to be aversions.
  • December 30, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Western Animation
    • In the pilot for Sheep In The Big City, sheep finds himself cornered on a rooftop by Far Mer John and General Specific, though while Far Mer John and General Specific argue over the General's penmanship (or lack thereof) on the cue cards, Sheep uses this opportunity to escape: he unravels his wool, creating a rope for him to swing over to the roof of the building across the street. Cut to a shot of a man wearing a Sheep costume swinging from a rope to the other building, only crash against the facade, and tumbled down to the street below (all in slow motion, and with added film grain), before cutting back to Sheep, who is now lying on the cracked sidewalk in a daze.
  • February 23, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Special Effects Failure example:

    Film
    • When Jessy is crucified again at the end of Greasers Palace, it's clearly obvious that it's a dummy we see nailed to the cross - his suit and tie are positioned to look as if they are wind-blown, yet, they don't move in the breeze.
  • February 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • February 23, 2014
    CrypticMirror
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ds3a77gr68bml0rjosco85s2