Stunt doubles are meant to relieve actors of the daunting task of jumping buildings and scrambling out of exploding cars and saving their pretty, million-dollar faces from getting smashed during fight scenes. In other words, stunt doubles are body guards of sorts, protecting actors from putting their lives and safety on the line. And for that, stunt doubles get a really good paycheck. To risk their lives for other people and not even get acknowledged for it, the pay had better be worth it.
The most important rule to keep in mind about hiring stunt doubles is that placing them in front of the cameras has to be done seamlessly. The entire sequence has to be flawless in the sense that it should still appear as if the actor is the one getting thrown around in death-defying acts of courage. And nowadays, most films and TV shows are able to pull it off, thanks to the wonders of technology and a keen editing eye.
But not everyone is able to get away with it. There are scenes from some of the most famous movies and TV shows that are laughable because it’s glaringly obvious that the one performing the stunt is not the actor. It’s a stunt double who looks nothing like the actor! And when the audience is able to notice this faux pas, the producers and post-production editors are deemed incapable of doing their job properly because come on, how hard is it to disguise someone? Here are some of the biggest stunt double blunders in recent history.
13 Edward Furlong and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The second installment of the Terminator film franchise was just as, if not even more successful than the first, no doubt due to the star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger plus the direction prowess of James Cameron and of course, the special effects and action sequences. A classic scene from Terminator 2 shows Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong riding side by side as a monster truck comes up behind them and attempts to crush the pair. The stunt team got a full-sized adult to crouch down to double as Furlong, then a young teenager. As for Arnie’s stunt double? He looked more like Jean Claude Van Damme than the Austrian muscle man!
12 Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart in Twilight
The thing about the Twilight movie franchise is it elicits extreme reactions from the general public. You either love it or hate it. Yes, all installments may have been blockbuster hits, but the quality of the editing leaves much to be desired. In the scene where Edward and Bela (played by erstwhile lovers, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart respectively) are zipping through the forest with Bela riding piggy back on Edward, the stunt doubles’ faces were apparent on screen. The editing wasn’t even done smoothly enough to blur out their faces, considering they were supposed to be moving at high speed and were supposed to look blurry!
11 Keanu Reeves in Point Break
The 1991 action film Point Break starred two of that period’s hunkiest actors, namely (the late) Patrick Swayze as a robber and the dashing Keanu Reeves as the cop who wants to put him behind bars. As this was way before he became the bad-ass protagonist in The Matrix, Reeves was apparently too chicken to do his own stunts. In a scene where Reeves and Swayze’s characters jump off a plane sans parachute, Reeves employed a body double to do his scene. Unfortunately, the camera focused on the stunt double’s face and he looked nothing like Reeves. So the world found out that Reeves wasn’t man enough to do the death-defying act!
10 Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
After her stint as the lead character in the hit TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar had a couple of cancelled TV shows before virtually fading into obscurity. It’s painfully obvious that she’s been stereotyped as a teenage vampire slayer, but if you look closely at her action sequences, it appears she wasn’t even capable of doing her own ass-kicking! And the clincher was Gellar’s stunt double didn’t look anything like her, save for the outfit and the blond hair. The double was heavier and looked older than the petite and youthful Gellar.
9 Johnny Depp in The Tourist
He’s one of the most versatile actors in the industry and rightly so. In a role that was outside of his usual quirky, dark characters, Johnny Depp played an unassuming Math teacher in the romantic comedy thriller The Tourist. And though the guy may be unconventional, he also plays safe. He employed a stunt double to do his daring scenes for him and in the scene where his character is supposed to be jumping out of a window in his pajamas, it was pretty obvious that the guy doing it wasn’t Depp. Same hairstyle and same beard, but definitely a stunt double.
8 Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers
7 Roger Moore in Moonraker
The role of James Bond is arguably considered one of the most coveted roles in Hollywood and Roger Moore took to playing the suave 007 with much aplomb. As everyone knows, all Bond films are comprised mostly of action and death-defying sequences, so it’s but natural that while many of the actors prefer to do some of the milder stunts, the more daring ones are performed by their stunt doubles. If only the filmmakers didn’t make it so obvious that Moore’s double wasn’t him! This is clear in the scene in Moonraker, when Bond is supposed to be jumping off a plane with a villain while they both fight over just one parachute.
6 Richard Kiel for Moonraker
As if it wasn’t bad enough that the people who did the post-production editing of the Bond film Moonraker didn’t blur out Roger Moore’s stunt double’s face, they did an even worse job for Richard Kiel’s character, the villain Jaws. In the same sky diving scene mentioned above, Jaws tackles Bond and attempts to bite his leg. But again, when the camera zoomed in on Jaws’ face, it was obvious that it wasn’t Kiel who was falling from the sky, but a stunt double—with extra big and extra white teeth, no less!
5 Kevin Bacon in Tremors
Kevin Bacon is touted as one of the most awesome, bad-ass actors in Hollywood, coming full circle from his dancing days in Footloose. But in the monster film Tremors, Bacon was not yet the hard-ass actor he eventually became in later years. In a scene where his character makes a supposedly dangerous half-jump, the camera gave the audience a front view of the character and upon closer inspection, it was clear that the guy wasn’t really Bacon, but his trusty stunt double—wearing a tacky wig that looked nothing like Bacon’s actual hair.
4 Josh Hutcherson in The Hunger Games
Naturally, with action-packed movies like the entire The Hunger Games film franchise, its actors wouldn’t want to go out on a limb (no pun intended) to risk their lives. So like all the other actors on the set, Josh Hutcherson had a double doing his stunts. But many don’t get why producers had to get a double that looked worlds apart from Hutcherson, save maybe for the hair, but also someone who looked old enough to be his father! But all that aside, Hutcherson and his double are apparently so close that the former stood as the latter’s best man when he tied the knot!
3 Dianna Agron in Glee
One tends to wonder what business a stunt double has in a musical comedy TV show like Glee—unless she’s there to stand-in for the actress when she’s having some steamy sex scene (which wouldn’t happen in a wholesome show) or sing and dance in her stead. But apparently, Dianna Agron had a stunt double for her role as Quinn Fabray in the hit TV show. But the strange thing was, not only did her double look nothing like her, but she was much older, probably old enough to be Agron’s mother! Go figure.
2 Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Trekkies held a very high regard for Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jean Luc Picard and the actor who played him, Patrick Stewart was held in equally high esteem. But to those with a keen eye, it became obvious that Stewart wasn’t as bold and daring as his character was made out to be. Stewart left most of his fight stunts to a double who looked nothing like him. In Picard’s fight scenes, the camera sometimes zoomed in on Stewart’s stunt double, who obviously shaved the top of his head in an attempt to look like the revered actor.
1 Robin Wright in The Princess Bride
Though not a huge success in the box office, The Princess Bride has since become a cult classic since it first debuted in 1987. A campy, period romantic comedy, it’s cheesy and funny at best and that’s a good thing, considering the big blunder the movie had in terms of stunt doubles. In the scene where Buttercup (Robin Wright) and Westley (Carey Elwes) roll down a hill, the producers called upon famous stuntman Bob Anderson to perform the stunts—for both Wright and Elwes. And unfortunately, as the cameras followed Buttercup, donned in a red dress, the face of the person in the dress was caught on camera to reveal the heroine with very masculine features!