Obvious Stunt Double

"Khan and Kirk battle heroically, while meanwhile in an identical room, two men dressed the same also have a fight. Problem with forty years of television enhancement: What you could get away with on a small grainy screen becomes rather obvious on a large digital one, especially when presented in loving 1080p."
SF Debris' review of Star Trek episode "Space Seed"

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. Stock Footage Failure is also related. The Other Darrin is something similar, where a character gets a new actor because the previous one left the show.

Special Effects Failure examples:

  • 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. Given the film's nature, it was likely done on purpose.
  • 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 II. 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.
  • A View to a Kill: During the Paris car chase, it is very obvious that a stunt double is being used for Roger Moore.
  • Near the start of The Avengers, the Black Widow is being awesome. Only, Scarlett Johansson isn't. It's her stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker, in a ginger wig. Usually, you'd be too enthralled by the fact they're flipping around strapped to a chair, but the 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).
  • Ditto for one of Angelina Jolie's stunt doubles for the second Tomb Raider movie. One of the stunts in the film was so difficult, there apparently wasn't a woman alive who could do it, so they had to dress up a male stuntman as Jolie's Lara Croft to do the stunt.
  • The not-that-good film Robo Vampire (reviewed here) has the white, blonde heroine replaced in one scene by a stunt double who is... a dark-skinned, gray-haired short man with a moustache. The reviewer has a field day imagining what hiring this stunt actor must have looked like.
  • A meta-example of sorts in Titanic. While Jack is drawing Rose in-story, James Cameron did the sketch in question, with his hands being filmed making it. Not very obvious. What is obvious is that another artist was then hired to redo the sketch, as the one that is drawn by Cameron doesn't look much like the sketch seen at the film's beginning. So a stunt double for a stunt double, in a sense.
  • 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.
  • While Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a good deal of his own bike riding in Premium Rush, there are several stunt sequences where the camera holds on a stunt double who looks markedly different from Gordon-Levitt, most notably in the scene where Wilee jumps his bicycle over the tops of crates in a warehouse.
  • Santo vs. la Hija de Frankestein: The scene where Frieda tears Santo's mask off is shot from behind Santo ... more accurately, from behind someone who's at least six inches taller than Santo. Justified in that masks in lucha libre are Serious Business.
  • All over the place in Face/Off, mostly because of John Woo's love of slow motion action shots. The most blatant one happens as Archer and Troy fall off the boat in the climax, and the slow motion shot shows two people flying through the air who are very much not Travolta and Cage.
  • Done as a gag in Chillerama. In "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein," when Meshugannah hurls Nazi soldier Franz into a table, he changes from the white Matthew Temple to an uncredited black stuntman in a Nazi uniform.

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 the Vampire Slayer: 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 double, Jeannie Epper, didn't quite have the same curves.
  • 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.
  • The Wild Wild West usually averted this with star Robert Conrad, who quite clearly did most of his own stunts. Not so much with his opponents (see "The Night of Sudden Death" and "The Night The Dragon Screamed" for particularly glaring examples) or with his co-star Ross Martin (the swordfight in "The Night of the Big Blast" goes back-and-forth between Martin and his double).
  • In the Smallville episode "Exodus", when Clark Kent jumps off a roof to a motorcycle, the stuntman has a beard.
  • Person of Interest has Bear the dog, who is ordinarily portrayed by Graubaer's Boker, an intact male with a patch of white on his chest. He is occasionally doubled by a female dog who lacks the white patch on her chest and was lactating for part of season four. Would a swinging mammary line be the canine equivalent of Gag Boobs on a male character?
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Chase", William Hartnell's usual stunt double plays a Dalek Evil Knockoff of the Doctor. With his face clearly visible on screen for literally minutes. And, inexplicably, in scenes where only one actor had to be around. He does look a lot like Hartnell, but not so much that they're not readily distinguishable.
    • "The Dominators" uses Patrick Troughton's double for the location filming. His face is clearly visible at one point in the final episode.
    • "The Android Invasion" had a duplicate Fourth Doctor with a highly Off Model wig.
    • "The Deadly Assassin" has a sequence where the Doctor falls off a cliff and is suddenly replaced by a poor-quality dummy. His usually fairly convincing human stunt double is also betrayed by a terrible wig that stays springy when wet compared to Tom Baker's plastered-down real hair in the closeups, and is several shades redder than it.
  • In the Cannon episode "Stone, Cold Dead," Frank Cannon dons a wetsuit to go scuba diving for a key clue in that week's case. Given the series never tried to skirt the issue of Cannon's avoirdupois, whoever's doing the swimming for William Conrad is a lot slimmer than our hero.
  • In Arrow episode "The Climb", during the fight between Ra's Al Ghul and Oliver, this trope is averted for Ollie, as it's Stephen Amell himself the whole time. However, for Ra's... not so much. The stunt double has a thicker beard than Matt Nable, is more ripped, and his hair is really different.

In-universe and parody examples:

Anime and Manga
  • From Binbō-gami 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 Super Sentai parody, complete with its own stunt driver (though surprisingly only during scenes with no actual stunts).

  • 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 idiots! These are not them! YOU'VE 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.
  • Made deliberately obvious in Epic Movie during the fight between Silas and Aslo to the point where Aslo's stunt double is a thin bare-chested Asian guy in an obvious wig. For reference, Aslo is played by Fred Willard.

Live-Action TV
  • The opening credits for Everybody Loves Raymond required Ray Romano to perform desperate athletic feats, such as propelling himself across the living-room on a tea-trolley and sumersaulting towards the door to lock it in order to prevent his parents getting in. It only becomes apparent a stunt double was used if you look really closely. note 
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • [adult swim]'s NTSF:SD:SUV makes it very obvious, although it's really the editing that gives it away, not bad continuity. Such as cutting to a sudden, awkward, far angle shot just for Trent to perform an entire spin kick (with his hair covering his face, no less).

Professional Wrestling
  • The Miz eventually got a gimmick change to an obnoxious actor, with Damien Sandow as his stunt double. Sandow doesn't look anything like him, is much taller, and has a full beard.

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 Snuka's underpaid Chew Toy actor Lee does his own stunts, and everyone else's stunts, regardless of how little he looks like them.

Web Original

Web Video
  • Mocked by 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. Also, back then most people didn't have means to record television, so any mistake would be quickly forgotten about.

Western Animation
  • In the episode of Garfield and Friends, Lights! Camera! Garfield! Garfield is given the role of "stunt cat" in a movie. However, he's an orange tabby, whereas the cat he's playing "stunt cat" for is a white long-haired cat.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 nothing 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.