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No Stunt Double

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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."

When someone is being paid to be the face of a movie, standard procedure is to make sure they are safe on set and swap in less costly people to perform actions that carry a notable risk factor. This is known as a Stunt Double, Talent Double, or Body Double. The inversion of this is an actor who insists or is encouraged to understand the performance and storytelling involved, and rather than swap out someone else while getting a snack they stick with every part of the filming process so it is always them on camera.

There are a few flavors to this:

  1. The actor is a stuntperson in their own right — in other words, they've got the training and the skill. It's highly likely they originated as a stuntman before graduating to a lead actor, coming from a background of martial arts, acrobatics, military, etc. A related situation is where most of a character's on-screen time is action or fight scenes with little dialogue (this is common for an Elite Mook), in which case someone who is mainly a stunt performer will be cast in the role. It could also be that something about the actor—usually physical size—makes finding a stunt double difficult or impossible.
  2. Smarter actors want to do their own stunts but are aware that some things are best left to the professionals' work, understanding what they can do safely and clearly while the stunt coordinator and their team to do the bigger and riskier ones. Both the stunt double and actor may work with each other to make sure performance continuity is maintained. Many actors get enthusiastic about the physicality of the role only to learn the hard way that a stuntman really is important.
  3. The actor only claims to do their own stunts in an effort to bolster their own image, but in fact are constantly replaced. While they may be enthusiastic, such claims may not endear you to future stunt teams. note 
  4. In-Universe instances involving an actor and their relationship with stuntmen or how they are perceived due to their famous roles.

Quite common in Silent Films, when stunt doubles were almost unknown, No OSHA Compliance was a Real Life fact and money was tighter so you couldn't afford to pay extra performers.

In modern times, this tropes comes up because audiences tend to be pretty savvy and will recognize an Obvious Stunt Double when it rears its head. Stunt doubles usually have to be obscured in some way (by keeping the camera far away, cutting really tight around the face, keeping the lighting low or by filming from the back), because otherwise the audience might get pulled out of the scene. But if the actor does their own stunts, you can do more closeups or bright lighting or whatever you might like to do. The tradeoff, of course, is that you might need to make the stunt itself less impressive in order to match the actor's skill level in stunt work. (The use of a Digital Head Swap has alleviated some of these issues, allowing more complex scenes without needing to obscure the double's face that much.)

It's also a cool thing to engage with as an actor, as they often spend months at the gym and practicing the stunt in order to get it right, which may also help them carry themselves differently physically as appropriate for the role. It's also a way of hinting that the actor isn't merely a badass in-character; they're also a badass in Real Life!

Real Life Examples

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    Silent Films 

    Sound Films 
  • Errol Flynn was known for doing most of his own stunts. The only stunt in The Adventures of Robin Hood that he didn't do was scaling the castle wall.
  • Burt Lancaster did his own stunts - not surprising considering he was a former circus acrobat prior to becoming an actor.
  • Clint Eastwood did his own stunts.
  • Jackie Chan, although this has faded as he's gotten older. Most famously an injury on the set of Armor of God almost killed him when a piece of bone entered his brain when the tree limb he was hanging from broke. The list of Jackie Chan's injuries is extensive and painful.
  • Jack Nicholson fell down the staircase in The Shining because Stanley Kubrick couldn't make the double look as convincing.
  • Tom Cruise became known for doing a lot of his own stunts but perhaps more impressively, is one of the few actors with the sheer athleticism to do all of his own extended sprinting, jumping, climbing, combat scenes, etc. which in many cases is the bulk of a stuntman's work. Starting around the 2000s that started to become his primary motivation as an actor, not just doing his own stunts but ramping them up bigger and crazier than the last film. If he wasn't personally producing the movies no insurance company would permit this.
    • For Mission: Impossible II he did his own rock climbing in the credits sequence. This can be argued as the start of his stunt-focused filmmaking, which solidified in Mission: Impossible III when he did a roof jump himself.
    • In Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, he actually did hang onto the outside of a plane taking off. He did that scene eight times.
    • He then went and one-upped that for the sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout. One of the stunts has him hanging out of a helicopter mid-flight. With no pilot. Because he was piloting it. And as if that wasn't enough, he also did over a hundred HALO jumps to get three usable takes. Fallout also had Cruise breaking his foot jumping across rooftops, and still finishing the shot despite knowing immediately he'd broken it (the take is in the movie, where watching it in slow-motion makes it clear when he slammed a foot into the wall).
    • He's an accomplished stunt driver and is usually the one behind the wheel in car chase scenes. The chase in Jack Reacher in particular has several shots that seem designed to show that he, not a double, is the one driving.
    • He's also been a licensed pilot since 1994 and is seen flying his own personal P-51 Mustang at the end of Top Gun: Maverick with Jennifer Connelly in the rear seat.
  • 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 did many of his own stunts while filming The Lord of the Rings. As a result, he broke his toe kicking a helmet (which stayed in the final cut), lost a tooth, and nearly drowned. He was also 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 horses, and bought said horses after the production finished. Years later, he stabbed himself in the leg while shooting Alatriste and kept filming.
    • Orlando Bloom also did his own stunts. The only injury he sustained was breaking a rib after falling off a horse.
  • 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 had always done his own swordwork — even in the Star Wars prequels (though a stunt double was used for the jumping and running scenes—he was in his late 70s for the filming of Attack of the Clones). He also served as an uncredited stunt driver on The Man with the Golden Gun. Being 6-foot-5 usually required Lee to do his own stunts for the simple fact that most of the stuntmen weren't tall enough to double for him.
  • Bethany Hamilton was played by AnnaSophia Robb in her biopic Soul Surfer but did the surfing scenes herself. It is convenient to have a one-armed surfer playing the part of a one-armed surfer.
  • Summer Glau is well-trained in several martial arts, so doesn't require a stunt double for most of her fight scenes. Bigger stunts she'll take one, but she can convincingly sell beating up multiple opponents much bigger than her.
  • Johnny Yong Bosch did his own stunts for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie after his stunt double got injured.
  • Donald Sutherland insisted on performing his own stunts in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). This made director Philip Kaufman nervous because the catwalk at the pod factory was nearly 50 ft up in the air and there were very real explosions. In fact, Sutherland barely missed one of them; an extra, however, missed his cue and was injured by it.
    • He also did the scaffold scene in Don't Look Now, because the insurance for the stuntman didn't get set up in time. The wire holding Sutherland up nearly broke.
  • Bodybuilders such as Steve Reeves and Reg Park did their own stunts while working on the low-budget sword and sandal Hercules films of the late 1950s and early 1960s in Italy because their large, muscular physiques made it nearly impossible for the low-budget Italian film crews to find stuntmen big enough to double for them. And of course, being athletes as well as bodybuilders, it was usually cheaper to just let them do it themselves. Not surprisingly, their spiritual successors, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren, typically did many of their own stunts as well.
  • James Cagney famously insisted on working his own fight scenes, having been a Boisterous Bruiser in real life.
  • Harrison Ford didn't do all of his stunts in the Indiana Jones films, but still tried to do as many as possible. It got to the point where they were concerned about him doing too-risky stunts that his stunt man (and good friend Vic Armstrong) had to tell him to let him do some stunts, otherwise, he'd be out of a job. Armstrong also looked a lot like him and would also be used as a stand-in during Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when Harrison Ford was in the hospital. He has also been particular in insisting he doesn't do stunts, it's "physical acting," he does what is necessary to show his face on camera while leaving stunts to the stuntmen.
  • Jean-Paul Belmondo always did his own stunts, be it climbing on the rooftops of Paris, fighting (he was a boxer in his youth), or hanging on helicopters.
  • Sylvester Stallone does most of his own stunts and has over the years broken his ribs (jumping off a cliff multiple times in First Blood because he felt the shot didn't look "realistic" enough), gone into cardiac arrest (punched so hard by Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV that his heart actually stopped), and broken his neck (had his skull slammed into a fire extinguisher by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin during The Expendables after asking the wrestler to "hit him for real").
  • Hugh Jackman as Wolverine did many of his own stunts, enough that his list of injuries includes clipping his right ear, stabbing himself above the left eye with his own claws, hanging by his "wedding tackle" from a harness high in the air, and nearly breaking his own neck. After that last one, his wife nixed any more risky stunts.
    Jackman: She goes 'You've got a stunt double. Stop. Is this a midlife crisis?'.
  • Glenn Close insisted on doing her own stunts as Cruella DeVil for the live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians (1996) and its sequel, which included getting dunked in molasses and cake batter in a heavy fur coat, because she wanted kids to know that it really was Cruella going through this punishment for what she was going to do to the puppies.
  • Vincent Cassel, a famous capoeira and wing chun practitioner, did the fight scene of The Crimson Rivers by himself along with his trainer and gym pals, who played the bad guys. Unlike your typical Hollywood fight choreography, they actually played it full contact, resulting in Cassel being hurt in the face and his trainer getting a broken nose.
  • The film Stick It, about gymnastics in the last days of the Perfect 10 scoring system[[note]]This is still used in college gymnastics. Most of the supporting characters/extras ranks were filled with NCAA and elite amateur gymnasts — including Olympians Mohini Bhardwaj, Allana Slater, and eventual 2008 Olympic AA champion Nastia Liukin — all of whom did their own stunts. Among the leading roles, Maddy Curley (Mina Hoyt), a former Division I NCAA gymnast, did her own stunts, as did Tarah Paige (Tricia Skilken), who actually is a Hollywood stuntwoman and moreover competed in the elite ranks of USA Gymnastics before heading to Hollywoodnote . In fact, Tricia's lovely illusion twist on beam featured in Tarah's national championships balance beam routine at one point.
  • Scott Caan did all of his stunts in the WCW film Ready to Rumble.
  • Star Wars:
    • As the production for A New Hope was unable to afford stunt doubles, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher performed the swing over the Death Star chasm themselves.
    • Hamill did most of his own stunts in the trilogy, with the exception of backflips and the like.
    • During production of Return of the Jedi, George Lucas asked Fisher if she wanted a stunt double to kill Jabba the Hutt, but she declined and wanted to kill him herself.
    • Liam Neeson did the majority of his own stunts for The Phantom Menace.
    • Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen did their duel in Revenge of the Sith themselves. They trained for two months in fencing and fitness in preparation and as a result, the speed in which they engage the duel is the speed in which it was filmed, and was not digitally accelerated.
    • Daisy Ridley did 95% of her own stunts in The Rise of Skywalker, with only the most risky stunts (such as the shot of Rey backflipping over Kylo Ren's TIE fighter) being reserved for her three stunt doubles. Adam Driver also insisted on doing his own stunts, as he was very protective of Kylo Ren's body language and didn't want a double changing the way he carried himself.
  • Willem Dafoe did 90% of his own stunts for Spider-Man. The only thing he had a double for was when the wall collapsed on him. When he was asked to return for Spider-Man: No Way Home, he agreed on the condition that he'd perform his own stunts once again, despite being in his mid-sixties by that point.
  • Chloë Grace Moretz did most of her own stunts for Kick-Ass. It should be noted that one of her trainers for the film was Jackie Chan.
  • Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore. The crew was going to give him a stunt double for his fight with Adam Sandler but he insisted on doing it himself. Earlier he had been trained in martial arts by Chuck Norris.
  • The four main actors in Deliverance did their own stunts, mainly for insurance reasons. For example, that's really Jon Voight scaling a cliff.
  • Rutger Hauer did his own stunt driving on The Hitcher.
  • Verne Troyer had to do all his stunts as Mini-Me in Austin Powers because there are no doubles who are of his height, though having a stunt double background helped.
  • Steve McQueen (actor) did his own stunt driving in The Great Escape, Bullitt and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). In the case of Bullitt, he made a habit of putting his head near the window so the audience would see that it was really him and not a stunt driver.
    • He insisted on performing the stunt in Papillon where he jumps off a cliff himself. He once said of this that it was "one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life".
    • He and Paul Newman did their own stunts for The Towering Inferno. McQueen had several gallons of water dropped on him and Newman climbed up and down the bent stairwell railing. McQueen also performed the stunt where he leaps off a helicopter onto the top of the burning building against Irwin Allen's wishes.
  • Paul Newman did his own bicycle stunts for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid after his stuntman was unable to stay on the bike. The only one he didn't do was the scene where Butch crashes backwards into the fence, which was performed by cinematographer Conrad L. Hall.
    • Robert Redford wanted to do all of his own stunts. Newman was especially upset about Redford's desire to jump onto the train roof and run along the tops of the cars as it moved. Redford said Newman told him, "I don't want any heroics around here. I don't want to lose a co-star."
  • The actors in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon almost invariably performed their own stunts. CGI was used to remove the wires holding them up.
  • Keanu Reeves does a lot of his own stunt work. Here's Exhibit A showing just how he did most of his own wire-work on The Matrix alongside Hugo Weaving and Laurence Fishburne. He also claims to have done 90% of his own stunts and fights throughout the John Wick series - Exhibit B showing him training for the sequel. Notable exceptions include John getting hit by Kirill's Car Fu and getting thrown off the balcony in the Red Circle (and even then, the balcony scene was made of two shots stitched together into one; most of the fall was Reeves dropped with wires, with the actual impact being done by a stuntman dropped from a much lower height).
  • Peter O'Toole did his own stunts for Lawrence of Arabia. As a result, he was injured several times and was almost trampled to death.
  • Christopher Reeve did most of, if not all, his own wirework for the Superman films. In addition, Margot Kidder did all her stunts during the difficult "car swallowed up by a crack on the ground" scene.
  • Shaquille O'Neal did his own stunts for Steel, largely because they couldn't find a stuntman to match his size.
  • Bruce Lee did his own stunts. He once boasted that he was only doubled three times in his career - those involved backflipping and acrobatics that were beyond his ability.
  • Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston did their fight scene for The Big Country themselves.
  • Clark Gable did his own stunts on The Misfits. It is believed that this contributed to his death from a heart attack soon afterwards.
  • From the James Bond series:
  • Brad Pitt and Eric Bana did their fight scene in Troy themselves.
  • Chris Farley did his own stunts for his films, when they couldn't find a stunt double to match his size he insisted on doing them himself.
  • Margot Robbie did Harley Quinn's elevator fight scene in Suicide Squad (2016) herself, amazing the rest of the cast and crew as she did it in heels and did not require wires or other special effects to perform Harley's agility. According to James Gunn, in The Suicide Squad, she also did the contortions required for the suspended handcuff escape scene herself, leading him to kick himself for framing the sequence in such a way that her face was hidden.
  • Emil Sitka was a valued member of Columbia's short subject department stock players (who supported The Three Stooges, Andy Clyde, and others) not only because of his acting ability but because of his willingness to perform his own stunts, which was a valuable skill in the shorts' fast-paced, slapstick style of comedy (the fact that the department saved money on not having a hire a stunt double didn't hurt, either).
  • In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Angelina Jolie did most of her own stunts, the production crew even said that the stunt woman trying to do the pendulum swing got motion sickness while Jolie did it herself.
  • In Entrapment Catherine Zeta-Jones performed most (some sources say all) of the climbing and gymnastics in the rafters herself.
  • Antonio Banderas was extremely adamant about performing many of his own stunts in The Mask of Zorro for authenticity.
  • Wesley Snipes often does his own action scenes due to being a trained martial artist with experience in multiple styles, most notably Karate and Kung Fu. According to Denis Leary, on Demolition Man it got to the point where the crew would wait for him to leave, then film scenes with his double.
  • Geena Davis did most of her own stunts for Cutthroat Island.
  • Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did their Sword Fight in The Princess Bride themselves. They also mastered the left-handed version, but the film uses a mirrored set instead.
  • Gary Cooper and Lloyd Bridges did their fight scene in High Noon themselves. Beau Bridges, then a youngster, was in the hayloft watching the filming. When water was thrown on his father after the fight, Beau could not help laughing, requiring the scene to be shot a second time. Cooper was unwell and in pain, but was gracious and understanding, according to Lloyd.
  • Robert De Niro and John Savage were really hanging from a helicopter in The Deer Hunter. The former called it the most physically demanding film he ever worked on.
  • Both John Cleese and Terry Gilliam performed all their stunts during the duel between Black and Green Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They both had to learn to manage big and heavy swords and to do some acrobatics, though never being recognizable, wearing both heavy armor and full helmets. They both avoided the use of stuntmen because, as they said in commentaries, they had a lot of fun in enacting the duel.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger:
  • Speaking of True Lies, Jamie Lee Curtis did the helicopter rescue herself. On her birthday.
  • The cast of Mortal Kombat: The Movie. A retrospective article has Bridgette Wilson recalling how she walked off dislocating a shoulder, Linden Ashby saying he peed blood after being kicked in the kidneys, and Robin Shou grading fights between 1 and 3 regarding how many ribs he bruised in the process.
  • Wilt Chamberlain and Grace Jones did 90% of their own stunts for Conan the Destroyer.
  • Although many stunt drivers are credited for Drive (2011), Ryan Gosling did a number of stunts himself, after completing a stunt driving car crash course.
  • Billy Crystal performed all of his own stunts for City Slickers, most notably, when he loops the rope around the cattle's head, and Curly whistles, making the cow take off, dragging Billy Crystal behind.
  • Kurt Russell, Kevin Casey, Scott Glenn, and William Baldwin did a lot of their own stunts for Backdraft, and the Stunt Coordinator Walter Scott was so impressed by their performances, that he credited them as stunt performers in the credits.
  • Kevin Costner did all his own riding, including bareback and shooting his gun without holding the reins, during the buffalo hunt in Dances with Wolves.
  • Ava Gardner surprised Earthquake director Mark Robson by insisting that she do her own stunt work, including dodging blocks of concrete and heavy steel pipes.
  • William Shatner did most of his own stunts in Disaster on the Coastliner, which means that he really is climbing on the top of the moving train with no wires or harnesses. In his autobiography, he calls it stupidity.
  • Patrick Swayze did many of his own stunts for films like Red Dawn (1984), Road House (1989), and Point Break (1991).
  • Macaulay Culkin did his own cable fall stunt for the climax of The Good Son, and received a BB gun (on his request) for it.
  • For the live-action movie finale of The Famous Jett Jackson, Lee Thompson Young did around 90% of his own stunts. One of the promotional commercials featured behind-the-scenes interviews of his experience doing the stunt work, including footage of him running during an explosive stunt.
  • X2: X-Men United: Anna Paquin did the wirework for the shot of Rogue being sucked out of the Blackbird herself.
  • Josh Pais who played Raphael in the suit and also did the voice in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) did most of his own stunts, save for the backflips and skateboarding.
  • A League of Their Own: The actresses playing the baseball players insisted on performing their own stunts (yes, even Madonna), meaning their injuries—like Rosie O'Donnell's knee-brace and Renee Coleman sporting a bruise on her thigh the size of a dinner plate—were real. In fact, Coleman said it took a whole year for that bruise to go away. However, the baseballs used in the film were actually tennis balls to minimize some of the risk.
  • Unlike previous Spider-Man actors, Tom Holland has a background in dance and gymnastics and does as many of his own stunts as the studio will allow.
  • Ansel Elgort did his own climbing for the balcony scene in West Side Story (2021). He even tried to convince the production to not give him a safety harness.
  • In The Addams Family, stunt doubles were going to do the swordfights between Gomez and Tully, but Raúl Juliá and Dan Hedaya insisted on training and doing it entirely themselves. A double was used for Gomez's juggling scene, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Lou Ferrigno did his own stunts in The Incredible Hulk (1977), 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.
  • Kamen Rider
  • Amy Dumas (Lita) did her own stuntwork in her episode of Dark Angel, but unfortunately she injured herself doing it.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Bryan Cranston did several of his own stunts. Besides the cartwheel and the headstand, Cranston did his own roller disco skating, spending all the free time he had in the week and a half he had to learn how to skate. After one of the show's writers asked jokingly whether Cranston would be willing to wear a suit of live bees, Cranston said he would, so they wrote a script around the idea ("The Bots and the Bees"). He ended up covered in ten thousand bees and only got stung once.
  • Power Rangers:
    • As his castmates in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder put it, there are stunt doubles and there is Jason David Frank. He did, however, become less eager to do high-risk stunts after swimming against the rapids in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie while his stunt double just sat there happily collecting a paycheck after only doing the initial jump.
    • All of the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers did their own stunts for at least the first 40 episodes. The actors were cast, in part, based on experience with martial arts, gymnastics, or dancing. This includes footage of them actually in the suits. However, Amy Jo Johnson became a bit cautious after she caught on fire while filming the episode "Switching Places." Even after the first season, though, the actors were still really hands-on until Power Rangers in Space when the show decided to go SAG halfway through the season.
    • In Power Rangers S.P.D., the actress that played A-Squad Pink was already the suit actress for B-Squad Yellow, and thus did her own suit acting as well.
    • The male members of the Power Rangers RPM cast were really insistent that they do as much of the stunt work as they physically could, and by the end of the season, Eka Darville was training alongside the Japanese stuntmen. He had gotten that good. Other actors with experience, like Johnny Yong Bosch, Dan Southworth, Mike Chaturantabut, and Brennan Mejia, also had opportunities to flex their skills onscreen.
  • Doctor Who
    • Looking at stills from the filming of the 50th anniversary episode, it seems that Matt Smith did his own stunts.
    • Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor, did as many of his own stunts as he possibly could, even when he had to have his spine snapped back into place afterward.
  • For one particular stunt in the TV series Wonder Woman — clinging onto a helicopter in flight — Lynda Carter convinced her stunt double Jeannie Epper to let her do it instead after it became clear Epper was unconvincing. The network chewed Carter out for risking her life like that.
  • Craig Charles made a point of doing all his own stunts on Red Dwarf. His co-stars joke that he's Made of Iron thanks to all the bumps he's taken over the years. In his memoir of the series The Man in the Rubber Mask, Robert Llewellyn describes Charles trying to make the stunts more dangerous, including at one point proposing to fall out of Starbug and land on his head, which director Ed Bye vetoed on the grounds that, while it might look amazing, it would also leave them with a dead actor.
    Charles: Hey, Eddy, man, I can land on me head and no harm done. I'm a Scouser, you know what I'm saying?
    Bye: Yes, I know what you're saying, and you're completely mad.
  • On Hawaii Five-0, Alex O'Loughlin originally liked to do as many of his stunts as possible. However, he injured his shoulder on set in 2011 and became addicted to the painkillers he took for it, necessitating him going into rehab and Commander McGarrett being Put on a Bus for part of season three. After The Bus Came Back, he was much more sensible about what he did and what he allowed a stunt double to do for him.
  • Hayley Atwell frequently did her own stunts in fight scenes for Agent Carter, though this tended to not end well for the stuntmen.
  • Olivia Holt did her own stunts in Girl vs. Monster. Given that she is a cheerleader, former gymnast, and a trained martial artist, a stunt double was probably deemed unnecessary.
  • Stay with Disney Channel movies, in Bad Hair Day Laura Marano did her own driving in the chase scene.
  • Arrowverse: Due to having prior martial arts/ gymnastics training, all but the most dangerous of both Oliver Queen and Sara Lance's stunts are performed by their actors, Stephen Amell (who really does use the Salmon Ladder in real life) and Caity Lotz (who incorporates her experience as a dancer into the Canary's fight style),.
  • Nathan Fillion did a lot of his own stunts in Firefly until he found out that his stunt double was not getting paid for most episodes because of it.
  • Chloe Bennet has been known to do many of her own stunts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with one notable instance had her doing a fight scene with a broken arm and no cast, having broken the arm in an earlier fight scene, and she hasn't stopped since. Particularly impressive as her character has some of the most memorable fight scenes in the show, while she originally signed up for a non-action character and had no real stunt experience prior, meaning she had to learn this stuff while filming. Ming-Na Wen similarly performs her own stunts, having martial arts experience herself, which gets shown off a lot in the show, being that she's the show's biggest badass.
  • Batman (1966):
    • Burt Ward was required to do his own stunts. This was partly because Robin's Domino Mask would make hiding a double's face harder, and partly because the studio wanted to save money by not having to pay another stunt double. Burt was a legitimate martial artist, but by the time the show was over, he had been hospitalized over a dozen times.
    • Yvonne Craig talked the studio into letting her do her own stunts, because her ballet training let her do Batgirl's kicks and acrobatics, and she knew how to ride a motorcycle.
  • Paul Darrow performed most of his own stunts on Blake's 7. In retrospect, he thought he must have been mad, as some of them were quite dangerous.
  • Sean Bean did most of his own stunts on Sharpe.
  • The members of Monty Python did almost all of their own stunts on Monty Python's Flying Circus, including Graham Chapman (a qualified mountaineer) reading a sketch while hanging upside-down on a rope, and Michael Palin plummeting 15 feet into a canal in "The Fish-Slapping Dance" after John Cleese smacks him in the head with a trout.
  • Michael Crawford did his own stunts for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. Even when he came back for a Sports Relief special in 2016 at the age of 74.
  • Jerry Trainor actually did most of those crazy stunts and painful-looking fall on icarly.
  • Jamie Bamber has a boat license and is piloting the boat throughout the final action sequence in the Strike Back series finale.
  • Everybody in Home Movie: The Princess Bride acted out their own stunts, because this is supposed to be a home movie. For the scene where Westley and Buttercup roll down the hill, a stairwell stands in for the hill, and the characters are substituted with garbage bags loosely stuffed with some other clothes for weight and volume, "dressed" in the characters' costumes, and then tossed down the stairs with their dialogue dubbed in post. (The "Buttercup" trash bag has a blonde wig affixed to it, and the wig falls off once it reaches the bottom.)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Power Play", Marina Sirtis (Troi) was the sole actor to perform her own stunt during the scene where the Enterprise's away team was flung backwards due to a lightning storm. Shooting the scene took two takes, and during the second take, she flung herself back and landed hard on her tailbone, leaving her unable to walk for 3 weeks.
  • The Rockford Files lead actor James Garner did all his own stunts; it is sometimes claimed that the series was cancelled when Garner's doctor expressed concern over the possible long-term effects of the injuries he sustained on set.
  • Roger Moore did all his own stunts in the 1958-59 series Ivanhoe, leading to such incidents as being knocked unconscious by a battleaxe to the (helmeted) skull and cracking three ribs in a fight scene.

  • Ray Park, famous for playing Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.
  • Zoë Bell was a stuntwoman before her appearance (As Herself) in Death Proof.
  • Danny Trejo initially came to Hollywood as a stuntman and fight coordinator, after winning several boxing tournaments in the California State Prison system. However, he rarely performs his own stunts, seeing it as glory-hunting which risks the whole production if he is injured.
  • Patricia Tallman, best known for playing Lyta Alexander in Babylon 5, more often worked as a stunt artist and fight arranger. This included being the regular stunt and combat double for Nana Visitor as Major Kira in Babylon Five's rival series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Dan Southworth, who played Eric on Power Rangers Time Force, was earlier a stuntman for the series. Back in the day, Johnny Yong Bosch beat him out for the part of Adam on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. He went on to be a suit actor for the touring show. Southworth has gone on to roles in projects like his series Divergence, Mortal Kombat: Legacy and the Devil May Cry series while also continuing as a stunt actor.
    • Frequent Pink Ranger suit actor Namihei Koshige played "Frankie Chang" (a Jackie Chan parody) in Time Force as well.
    • In Power Rangers S.P.D. A-Squad Pink Ranger was portrayed by series stuntwoman Motoko Nagino.
  • Grant Page, a famous Australian stunt artist of the 1970s and 1980s, did the occasional acting role. Among his biggest is as the villain in Road Games, an Australian Duel copy in which his Car Fu talents came in useful.
  • Even though Ken Kirzinger was a stuntman when he played Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason, director Ronny Yu and the producers prevented him from doing many of his own stunts due to him being in a lead role.

In-Universe Examples

    Anime And Manga 
  • In Skip Beat!, Ren Tsuraga insists on doing his own driving when filming the climactic car chase for "Dark Moon": when a toddler ignores the filming restrictions and runs into the street, Ren manages to avoid him with a driving maneuver that leaves the on-set stunt co-ordinator highly impressed. While filming "Tragic Marker" in the persona of Cain Heel, (who is both too cool and too tall for a stunt double) a stunt goes wrong from a dangerously high set piece: his co-star falls into a net set up in case of just such an accident, but Ren/Cain ends up doing a horizontal jump by kicking off the set while falling and twisting to land safely on his feet, a stunt that at least one person watching declares should have been impossible. Not to mention the classic moment when Ren and Kyoko met as children when he lands a perfect backflip out of a tree! Justified in-universe by establishing previously that Ren has an extensive background in martial arts, and as the cherished offspring of a Hollywood star, was given stunt training and driving lessons at a very early age from professional stunt workers.
  • Assassination Classroom: In the epilogue, it's shown that Kayano has taken to doing her own stunts in her films, using the skills she picked up during her time in Class E.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Film - Animation 
  • In Coco, Ernesto de la Cruz boasts that he did his own stunts in his movies. Though considering what we find out about him over the course of the movie, we probably shouldn't take him at his word.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Sweet Liberty: Movie star Elliot James refuses to have any stunt doubles when doing risky pratfalls. Ironically, there's a Jump Cut showing where Michael Caine was replaced by his stunt double in the questioned stunt.
  • Inverted in the Star Wars parody Spaceballs, where the stunt doubles appear as themselves in one scene.
    "You captured their stunt doubles!"
  • The Rocketeer: Neville Sinclair doesn't have one and is shown doing a pretty elaborate swashbuckling scene. It is referenced later as Insult Backfire and a justification for his climactic showdown with the hero.
    Cliff: (punches Sinclair) "Where's your Stunt Double now, Sinclair?"
    Sinclair: (jumps up and punches him back) "I do my own stunts."
  • Played for Laughs in Major League II when it's revealed that Willie Mays Hayes has started an acting career.
    Harry Doyle: We're told he starred in an action movie during the offseason, where he not only did his own stunts but even his own acting.
  • Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain started his Hollywood career as a stunt man. Even after becoming a leading man, he still does his own fight scenes, and his escape from a mob of screaming fans over the top of a bus and into Kathy Selden's car proves he's still got all the skills.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Archie Comics 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Liv and Maddie episode "Space-Werewolf-A-Rooney," Liv decides to forego the use of a stunt double while shooting Space Werewolves.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The protagonists of Chroma Squad started out as stunt doubles on another Sentai show, and are on a tight budget for their own, so they do their own stunts. Comes in handy when the real aliens start showing up.
  • One Mirror Match intro dialogue in Mortal Kombat 11 brings this up.
    Johnny A: I do my own stunts. You?
    Johnny B: I got people for that.
    Johnny A: Poseur.
  • Hitman (2016): Target Dino Bosco is an old-school B-movie actor who insists on doing his own stunts, even in his vastly overbudget superhero film that he's also directing. This being Hitman, it can prove to be his undoing.
  • Skullgirls: Inverted for the Show Within a Show Annie of the Stars. The titular Annie has no stunt doubles... because she actually is the folklore heroine her show was based on, and all her action scenes are her doing whatever it is for real. Instead, she has 'life doubles', normal girls whose purpose is to convince people that the lead character of Annie of the Stars is played by a regular child actress who ages to adulthood and is replaced in the show and not an eternally youthful superheroine.

    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: his younger brother Strong Sad (who looks nothing like Strong Bad) wearing a paper bag with Strong Bad's face crudely drawn on it.
    Strong Bad: A stunt double?!? No way, Lucy! Only big wusses and lesser wimps use stunt doubles.

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

    Western Animation 
  • In 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, Thunderbolt is a stunt dog—though he needs everything scripted.
  • In DuckTales (2017), the actor who plays DW in the live-action Show Within a Show version of Darkwing Duck did all his own stunts ... and was renowned as the most injured actor in the business.
  • Total Drama World Tour: Much to Blaineley's horror, the cast of Total Drama does not have stunt doubles and they have to do all the death-defying challenges personally. She wouldn't have minded all that much if she hadn't ended up being forced to compete.