Nothing beats the real thing, or so that famous tagline goes. Since many actors try to live by that saying when it comes to making movies, they can be daring enough to choose to do their own stunts during scenes with dangerous action sequences. Of course, it’s highly risky and they make sure that they are heavily insured prior to putting their lives on the line when the cameras start rolling. But the more practical ones choose to forego putting themselves in harm’s way and opt to hire a stunt double to do their dirty work for them.
Stunt doubles are probably one of the more underappreciated members of the entertainment industry. Sure, they get paid big bucks to jump off cliffs and get thrown punches at and shot at, but they’re just stand-ins for their famous counterparts. Up until recently, apart from the rolling credits at the end of the movie, stunt doubles didn’t get the acknowledgment they deserved. But in 2001, an award ceremony was created to honor stunt performers in cinema. The awards show has become an annual event and is even given the due respect of being televised. Awards given out vary from Best Fight to Best Fire Stunt to Best Work In a Vehicle.
One thing’s for sure. Without these stunt doubles, movies wouldn’t have the impact that they do with the audience, which is why our favorite Hollywood actors are more than grateful to their body doubles. Here are some of the actors hanging out with their doppelgangers.
Gerard Butler for Machine Gun Preacher
Too bad the movie Machine Gun Preacher bombed at the box office because the person featured in the biopic, Sam Childers, did his share of heroic acts in real life. Gerard Butler portrayed Childers, a former gang biker turned preacher who made it his life’s work to save the children of South Sudan. Butler had to grow a mullet and a thick beard for the role, plus don leather and chains and get on a motorbike. And so did his stunt double, who could have passed for Butler’s twin!
Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day
According to Cameron Diaz’s stunt double, Kimberly Shannon Murphy in the 2009 film Knight and Day, Diaz did almost all of her stunts in the action-packed movie. Murphy claimed that Diaz was one of those actors who preferred doing her own action sequences, particularly fast car scenes, which looks to be a thrill for the actress. So in the scene where Diaz’s character is in a car and the car does a 180, that was actually Diaz doing the driving herself. Murphy said her stunt tasks were minimal, thanks to Diaz’s daring streak.
Anna Kendrick in Cake
She’s always played girly, light roles in movies like Pitch Perfect and even Into The Woods, where she showed off her vocal prowess. But in the small, independent film Cake, Anna Kendrick played a suicide victim belonging to a chronic-pain support group. For the role, she required a stunt double, whom she was photographed with during filming. They’re almost identical from the back, with the same dress, height frame, and brunette curls. No photos on the double’s face, though, so we don’t know if they could pass for twins.
Andrew Garfield in the Spiderman movies
The latest Spiderman in tinsel town is none other than Andrew Garfield and he’s done a heck of a job in portraying the masked superhero. Because the Spiderman movie franchise is so action-packed, though, Garfield needed not just one, but two stunt doubles. He had a double as Peter Parker, who of course, had to somewhat resemble him physically, at least in stature and coloring. And he had a double as Spiderman, who surprisingly, was Asian. But of course, that physical difference wouldn’t matter, since he was donned in costume from head to toe.
Reese Witherspoon in Don’t Mess With Texas
She’s not really known to dabble in action movies, having appeared in mostly romantic comedies and of course, the role that garnered her critical acclaim, Walk The Line. But Reese Witherspoon is more than capable of letting loose once in a while and starring in action comedy films, such as the upcoming Don’t Mess With Texas. In the movie, Witherspoon plays a police officer who has some misadventures with a prisoner in Texas. The film required several action sequences and a stunt double, Marny Eng. The physical resemblance is passable at least.
The Rock in Pain and Gain
One would think that being a professional wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be more than eager and capable of doing his own stunts. But surprisingly, Johnson hired a stunt double when filming the crime-comedy film Pain and Gain. In the movie, which he starred in opposite Mark Wahlberg, Johnson played a reformed drug-addicted convict who was recruited to do some dirty work for Wahlberg’s character. With that kind of role description, naturally the character required numerous action scenes. Luckily, producers were able to find an equally burly and equally bald stunt double for Johnson.
Mark Ruffalo in Now You See Me
Stunt doubles are usually required to just merely have similar built, hair color, and height as an actor, but not necessarily the same facial features. But Mark Ruffalo seemed to hit the jackpot when he found his doppelganger, Anthony Molinari, to be his stunt double for the caper thriller film, Now You See Me. Playing the role of the main antagonist hiding behind his identity as an FBI agent, Ruffalo relied heavily on his stunt double to do the dirty work for him.
Tom Cruise for Knight and Day
Like his co-star Cameron Diaz in their film Knight and Day, where he played an eccentric secret agent, Tom Cruise opted to do most of his stunts. The film entailed wild goose chases around tiny streets in big cities and Cruise was more than up to the task in performing his own stunts. But at the end of the day, he still left it to the experts, hiring a stunt double, Michael Mcintyre, to do the more difficult action sequences and to teach him proper form in the fight scenes.
Megan Fox in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
A Michael Bay film is almost always 90% action-packed, so it’s practically a given that his actors would have their own respective stunt doubles readily available on the set. Megan Fox accepted the role of April O’Neil in Bay’s version of the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the role required a lot of ass-kicking. Fox said she would have done it all herself, but she was pregnant at the time of filming, so her movements were fairly limited. She was grateful for her awesome stunt double who was able to fill in for her perfectly for some of the more difficult action scenes.
Brad Pitt in The Counselor
Being a daddy of six, it’s no surprise that Brad Pitt doesn’t want to put his safety and physical well-being on the line. So it’s practically expected that he’d hire a stunt double for every film he stars in and Ridley Scott’s thriller, The Counselor, where Pitt played a drug trafficker, was no exception. It was inevitable that the role of a drug trafficker with enemies who wanted him dead required violent scenes and action sequences, hence the need for the stunt double.
Chris Hemsworth in the Thor movies
Chris Hemsworth can thank the people behind the Thor movie franchise for casting him as the mighty god of thunder in the Marvel universe and putting him on the map in the process. This year’s sexiest man alive displayed some awesome stunt work and action moves while showing off his toned physique. But alas, it wasn’t all him. Hemsworth made sure to have a stunt double do the dirtier work for him and guide him in the fight scenes as well.
Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Like all of his predecessors, Daniel Craig played the role of James Bond with daring and élan. But with the number of death defying predicaments 007 finds himself in, it’s inevitable that any actor who plays him needs a stunt double. For the 23rd Bond movie Skyfall, Craig was seen with his double, sporting the same gray suit as he was, rehearsing for a dangerous stunt scene that involved a fast-moving train. Craig did the lighter part of the scene, but the hard core portion was done by the double.
Bruce Willis in Red 2
Bruce Willis is no stranger to action films, the most famous of which was the Die Hard film franchise. So it’s no surprise that he also took on the role of Frank Moses, a former CIA agent in the comic-book inspired action comedy film series, Red. It’s practically a given that Willis has stunt doubles doing the more intense action scenes for him. In the sequel Red 2, Willis was spotted with his stunt double while filming a motorcycle scene. While their facial features are worlds apart, the double did sport the same bald head as Willis.
It’s cute that Jennifer Garner has been pictured in public appearances with her stunt double, Shanna Duggins. Garner attended the Annual Taurus World Stunt Awards in 2003 with Duggins to show her support and appreciation for her stand-in. And what was cute was they sported the exact same outfit. What a touching way of showing solidarity!
Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger barely broke even at the box office, which is a surprise considering the very much hyped presence of Johnny Depp in the movie, playing the role of Tonto. Though he did get rave reviews for his performance, the movie was criticized for its boring script and for dragging on for too long. Nonetheless, his portrayal of the native American was still an adventure to Depp, who left the crazy stunts to a double, decked in the same garb as him, complete with face paint.