Created By: MrInitialMan on June 16, 2012 Last Edited By: MrInitialMan on October 6, 2012
Nuked

No Stunt Double

An actor performs all the stunts him/herself.

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I didn't want to use a stunt man, because I wanted to use a telephoto lens and zoom in slowly all the way to my face so you could see it was really me. I put on a little disguise and slipped into a sneak preview of the film to see how people liked it. When I was hanging up there in the air, the woman in front of me said to her friend, 'Gee, I wonder how they did that?' and her friend said, 'Special effects.'

What do Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Jackie Chan all have in common?

Answer: They performed all their own stunts.

This is a trivia page

There are a few flavours to this.

1) The actor is a stuntperson in his or her own right--in other words, they've got the training and the skill. Quite common in Silent Films, when stunt doubles were almost unknown and No OSHA Compliance was a Real Life fact.

2) Some actors insist on doing their own stunts--then they get injured and realize that yes, a professional stunt person really is necessary. In other words, they grow up. This tends to happen more to men than women.

3) The actor only claims to do their own stunts.

4) Virtually exclusive to In-Universe instances (often action series), where the hero will be hired or persuaded to protect an actor who does their own stunts. If the actor only claims to do their own stunts, the protagonist's job is to keep the truth from coming out.

Examples

Silent Films

Sound Films
  • Clint Eastwood did his own stunts.
  • Jackie Chan, although this has faded as he's gotten older.
  • Tom Cruise is also known for doing his own stunts (for example, in the recent Mission: Impossible movie).
  • Michelle Yeoh always does her own stunts, which is why she is considered the Distaff Counterpart to Jackie Chan.
  • Taylor Lautner does this a lot in his movies.
  • Viggo Mortensen: Broke his toe, lost a tooth, and nearly drowned while filming Lord of the Rings, did many of his own stunts, was described by legendary swordmaster Bob Anderson as "the best swordsman I've ever trained" (which is saying something in a 50-year career), and kept his sword with him at all times for the duration of the filming. Oh, and slept in the stables in order to bond with his horse. Stabbed himself in the leg while shooting Alatriste, and kept filming.
  • Basil Rathbone was one of the finest on-screen fencers of his day and didn't use stunt doubles - except in The Court Jester, where Danny Kaye was Flynning faster than Rathbone could keep up with.
  • Christopher Lee is considered one of the finest swordsmen in film history, and has always done his own swordwork--even in the Star Wars prequels (though a stunt double was used for the jumping and running scenes). He also served as an uncredited stunt driver on The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer. It is convenient to have a one-armed surfer playing the part of a one-armed surfer.

Live Action TV
  • Jeffery Donovan
  • in The Wild Wild West, Robert Conrad did almost all his own stunts. One stunt went horribly wrong, almost killing him and shutting down production of the series for 3 months. After Conrad recovered they picked up where they left off, and used the botched stunt in the final cut of the episode in question.
  • David Boreanaz
  • Lou Ferrigno did his own stunts in The Incredible Hulk, mostly because they couldn't find a stuntman who looked anything like him.
  • In The Brady Bunch Hawaii episodes, the actor that played Greg did his own surfing scene, and scraped his feet on the sharp coral.
  • Maggie Q of CW's Nikita always does her stunts.

In-Universe Examples

Newspaper Comics
  • In one Archie Comic, Archie and Reggie were movie stars--Archie was a stuntman, but had to cover up the fact Reggie didn't do his own stunts.

Web Animation
  • Homestar Runner: In "stunt double", Strong Bad insists that he does all his own stunts. He's lying, of course: when he shows his scenes from the film Dangeresque II: This Time It's Not Dangeresque 1 as evidence, he has the least convincing stunt double ever.
    Strong Bad: A stunt double?!? No way, Lucy! Only big wusses and lesser wimps use stunt doubles.

Webcomics
  • In Nip and Tuck, Nip does all his own stunts--he trained as a stuntman.

Western Animation
  • In 101 Dalmations II: Patch's London Adventure, Thunderbolt is a stunt dog--though he needs everything scripted.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • June 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Here's an old ykttw on the same topic you can mine.
  • June 17, 2012
    surgoshan
    Some actors insist on doing their own stunts. Then they get injured and realize that yes, a professional stunt person really is necessary. In other words, they grow up. This tends to happen more to men than women.
  • June 18, 2012
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
  • June 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^And one stunt went horribly wrong, almost killing him and shutting down production of the series for 3 months. After Conrad recovered they picked up where they left off, and used the botched stunt in the final cut of the episode in question.
  • June 19, 2012
    Frank75
    And some actors may also claim this even if it's not true.
  • June 19, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    Clint Eastwood did his own stunts. Consider adding this as the main quote:

    I didn't want to use a stunt man, because I wanted to use a telephoto lens and zoom in slowly all the way to my face so you could see it was really me. I put on a little disguise and slipped into a sneak preview of the film to see how people liked it. When I was hanging up there in the air, the woman in front of me said to her friend, 'Gee, I wonder how they did that?' and her friend said, 'Special effects.
  • June 22, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Tom Cruise is also known for doing his own stunts (for example, in the recent Mission Impossible movie).
  • June 22, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    This seems more trivia than an actual trope, and should probably get the Trivia banner when you launch it. (I see that such is already included, but it bears mentioning for banner purposes.)
  • June 23, 2012
    SKJAM
    There are In Universe uses of this--often in action series. The hero will be hired or persuaded to protect an actor who does their own stunts; or it will turn out the actor is a blowhard who only claims to do their own stunts, and the protagonist's job is to keep the truth from coming out.
  • June 28, 2012
    AP
  • June 28, 2012
    Generality
    The Wachowski brothers seem to be fond of using this. Notably, for The Matrix they got fight coordinator Yuen Woo-Ping to train all of the principal actors (Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving), in rudimentary kung-fu. This paid off when they made V For Vendetta and could use Hugo's skills again (though, him being in a mask, they could have had a different body actor and no one would know).
  • July 1, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    Michelle Yeoh always does her own stunts, which is why she is considered the Distaff Counterpart to Jackie Chan.
  • July 1, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Lou Ferrigno did his own stunts in The Incredible Hulk, mostly because they couldn't find a stuntman who looked anything like him.
  • July 7, 2012
    Sheora
    In regard to the question you asked in the forum. The trope should put listed as a Trivia trope. For In Universe examples, it can be written up on that page with the [[ invoked ]] tag, which will remove the flag.
  • July 10, 2012
    naruhinaluver15
    Taylor Lautner does this a lot in his movies.
  • July 11, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    In The Brady Bunch Hawaii episodes, the actor that played Greg did his own surfing scene, and scraped his feet on the sharp coral.
  • July 17, 2012
    surgoshan
    • From Viggo Mortensen's page: Broke his toe, lost a tooth, and nearly drowned while filming Lord of the Rings, did many of his own stunts, was described by legendary swordmaster Bob Anderson as "the best swordsman I've ever trained" (which is saying something in a 50-year career), and kept his sword with him at all times for the duration of the filming. Oh, and slept in the stables in order to bond with his horse. Stabbed himself in the leg while shooting Alatriste, and kept filming.
  • July 17, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    Not sure if it counts, but Patricia Tallman is a stunt actress in addition to her role as Lyta in Babylon Five.
  • July 17, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    If she did her own stunts in Babylon Five, then yes. I'm not the sharpest tool in the toolshed, but I could actually be right! :P :P xDD
  • July 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Basil Rathbone was one of the finest on-screen fencers of his day and didn't use stunt doubles - except in The Court Jester, where Danny Kaye was Flynning faster than Rathbone could keep up with.
  • August 16, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    "Beump." Maggie Q of CW's Nikita always does her stunts.
  • August 17, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    Christopher Lee is considered one of the finest swordsmen in film history, and has always done his own swordwork--even in the Star Wars prequels (though a stunt double was used for the jumping and running scenes). He also served as an uncredited stunt driver on The Man With The Golden Gun. Oh, and add a link to Nikita. I don't know how to do it.
  • August 25, 2012
    jatay3
    Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer. It is convenient to have a one-armed surfer playing the part of a one-armed surfer.
  • August 25, 2012
    MrRuano
    Within the Marvel universe, Simon Williams, AKA Wonder Man, performs his own stunts, thanks to his powers essentially giving him an indestructible body in the way that he doesn't even have a physical form.
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