Hollywood movies cover a range of topics, but the films that attract the most attention and draw the majority of audiences are ones that are full of high-energy, high-octane action. When Superman spins the Earth backward to save Lois Lane or Keanu Reeves launches a bus off of an unfinished bridge in Speed, or when Morpheus and Trinity leap off two colliding trucks in The Matrix Reloaded, audiences were thrilled! While many people in Hollywood do their own stunts in movies– Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan are famous examples– some of the extreme acts of heroism seen on screen are a tad too risky and trained stunt doubles need to take over from the actor and jump off the speeding train!
Not only are stars able to step away from the most perilous aspects of their roles with a stunt double, but actors can also opt to have body doubles for other scenes. As the funny scene in an early episode of Friends demonstrates, when Joey is cast as Al Pacino‘s butt double, often movie stars get uncomfortable with showing their whole goods to a global audience. So, for this reason, body doubles exist to show the butts, and various other dangly bits are assigned to some unknown guy or girl, while the star takes all of the credit. Being a body double for a famous person gives that double a great deal of insight into what these stars are like, here are 15 of the secrets of Hollywood doubles.
15. David Hasselhoff’s Leg Double
Baywatch was a popular TV show in the 90s that got rebooted in 2017 as a tongue-in-cheek version, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron. However, the original male lead, David Hasselhoff, was not so buff as the guys in the remake but his torso at least was passable. Although below the waist did not actually pass muster, so someone was needed to give the former Knightrider star a beefier impression in his shorts – who’d have thought driving an intelligent car would make you miss leg day all the time. Real-life lifeguard Michael Newman was a childhood pal of the show’s creator, Greg Bonnan and Bonnan used Newman’s legs in the test tape and went on to keep his legs during the show. Newman also taught Pamela Anderson how to run like a lifeguard.
14. Hermione’s Four Doubles
The Harry Potter movies were about magic, and in such cinematic sagas all sorts are going on in terms of spells and weirdness. On numerous occasions, the main characters were involved in some plan or furtive task that needed enchantments for Harry and his closest friends, Ron and Hermione, to succeed. For example, drinking the poly juice potion in the Deathly Hallows, Part Two required a few people that resembled Helena Bonham-Carter‘s Bellatrix Lestrange and of course, in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry and Hermione travel back in time at the end where she sees herself in the past, something which body doubles were needed for. So Emma Watson had a total of three body doubles in the process of filming the Harry Potter series of films.
13. Jim Carrey Used His Double As A Decoy On Vacation
Everything comes with a price, even the wonderful world of stardom with its fame and fortune, which is constant paparazzi attention. It is understandable that many famous people will go to great lengths to avoid their attention and Jim Carrey did this in a genius way. When the Ace Ventura star wanted to visit Israel to see the holy sites, he knew he would be unable to without the press hounding him, so he hired his body double to accompany him to Israel. Carrey’s double stayed inside the hotel ordering hamburgers to the disappointment of the paparazzi that hung outside the hotel for four days. Meanwhile, Carrey managed to enjoy the sites of the Holy Land undercover, while photographers wasted their time outside his hotel.
12. Shelley Michelle, The Insured Body Double
Pretty Woman was Julia Roberts‘ breakthrough movie, making her a star when she played the prostitute accidentally picked up by wealthy Richard Gere, and they fall in love. Although Roberts was not entirely in love with her body and felt the need to use a double for her leg scenes and that double was Shelley Michelle. Michelle claims her legs were curvier than those of Julia Roberts and was the reason why Roberts used them instead of hers in shots. Kim Basinger also hired Michelle’s legs for two movies; My Stepmother Is An Alien and Final Analysis, Shelley’s legs in full view of the screen for the first two minutes of My Stepmother Is An Alien. Michelle wrote an autobiography about her life as a body double too, where she no doubt included that Lloyds of London insured her legs for $1 million!
11. From Extra To Stuntwoman
When most people envision stunt performers in movies, they think of people that are highly trained in forms like acrobatics and various types of martial arts. Their reason for training like this is because for many action movies it makes them viable to step in and make that heart pounding jump out of a skyscraper. However, others are not that well-equipped to step into the role of a stunt double, such as Jennifer Lamb, a stuntwoman that has appeared in 10 Coen Brothers‘ movies, as well as The Dark Knight, The Amazing Spiderman, The Taking of Pelham 123 among many others. Initially, Lamb had a bit as a waitress on One Life To Live when a stunt coordinator spotted her toughness, small stature and willingness to take direction as assets for a great stunt performer. Which meant she went swiftly from being a waitress to being thrown from a mansion window!
10. Digital Body Double For Olivia Wilde In The Change-Up
In the movie The Change-Up, Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde are topless, but they do not really bare their breasts in the movie and rely on the magic of computer-generated imagery to show off their bits. The reasons for this were mainly because Mann’s character had to look as though she was nursing at the time, including the hormonal changes that a woman undergoes when she has a baby: the creation of breast milk. In the case of Olivia Wilde, her nipples were replaced by computer-generated imagery when her nipple patches showed, so they turned to computers. Olivia Wilde even got to choose what her nipples looked like for the movie. It cannot be said that actors do not have varied lives on set!
9. The Real Life Hand Twin
There was that classic Friends episode when Joey heads to Vegas for his role as the lead in a movie, only to find out it has been shelved because of no money. Later, while working in Caesar’s Palace, Joey spots his Hand Twin and is convinced he will make millions. Apologies Joey, but Hollywood already employ hand doubles, and they are far from rich! Take, for example, Danielle Sepulveres, who is a regular in hand cream and moisturizing commercials. She also replaced Brooke Shields‘ hands in a close up of the actress drizzling salad dressing, as well as sliding files across tables, writing lists and pouring glasses of wine in The Good Wife in place of those who are not too pleased about their hand appeal!
8. Elijah’s Little Double
Child actor Elijah Wood‘s star had dulled as he grew up but in the early 00s, he landed a role that rejuvenated his career, cast as Frodo in a live-action film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. In the movie, Wood landed the lead role of Frodo Baggins, the protagonist whose innocent life was propelled into chaos when his uncle Bilbo bequeathed to Frodo his magic ring that happened to be the One Ring of Power created by Sauron the Dark Lord. Frodo, however, is a Hobbit, a creature that about as big as a First Grade elementary school kid, Elijah Wood is not a large man, but he is still too large to resemble a Hobbit, so between green screen shots there needed to be a body double that shared a wig like Elijah Wood.
7. Ann Bancroft’s Leg In The Graduate
The movie The Graduate was acting legend Dustin Hoffman‘s breakthrough role and starred the wife of legendary writer and producer Mel Brooks, Ann Bancroft, who in the film seduces the young Hoffman who ends up engaged to Bancroft’s daughter. An infamous image from the movie is Bancroft’s stocking-clad leg framing the young Dustin Hoffman as she tries to seduce him, although the leg did not actually belong to Ann Bancroft. The limb in question belonged to a body double, only paid $25 at the time in the 60s, who was in fact, future Dallas star Linda Gray. Allegedly, Ann Bancroft was very controlling and careful about body doubles to the point that her lawyers would sue if the body double showed more than she did.
6. Cersei’s Walk Of Shame
HBO’s Game of Thrones is no stranger when it comes to nudity on screen, in fact, it has reached the point where sex and nakedness are somewhat expected. What was also expected was Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame after her detainment by the Sparrows, then made to atone for her sins by walking through the streets of the capital, King’s Landing. Cersei is flanked on her march through the city by the Sparrows who cry out, intoning “shame,” in a harsh and brutal scene. Lena Headey, who played Cersei, was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time the shoot was scheduled, so perhaps this influenced her decision to use a body double for what must have been a strenuous scene at the best of times.
5. Meryl Streep’s Dead Double?
Hollywood legend Meryl Streep is known for her roles that showcase her immense acting talent throughout the years that have won her more Oscar nominations than anyone else and three Best Actress Academy Awards. In the early 90s, she starred alongside Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis in the dark comedy; Death Becomes Her, where aging stars take an elixir that grants immortality. The movie also features the mother of all b*tch fights between Streep and Hawn involving shovel blows and a huge shotgun blow through the stomach. For all these strenuous bangs and scrapes it is perhaps understandable then that Meryl enlisted a double for a movie that included a multitude of stunts that a high-brow thespian may not have been used to on screen.
4. Even Supermodels Have Body Doubles
When people think of supermodels, it is immediately thought that they are flawless individuals for whom the catwalk was made and everything they wear seems perfect. However, even these legendary fashion icons are human and have hang-ups where their bodies are concerned. So much so that some of the most famous use body doubles in commercials like Cindy Crawford‘s role in her series of Superbowl ads in 1995. Crawford did face shots and dialogue, but due to her busy schedule someone else needed to fill in for her body shots, and that duty fell to another model, Nicole Clark. She stood in for Cindy Crawford who was elsewhere performing other roles at the time, which included a TV show and her role in her first feature.
3. Kevin Costner Stole Another Guy’s Rear As Robin Hood
An early 90s classic was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, with Kevin Costner portraying the legendary English folk hero, Robin Hood. The story goes that when Robin comes back from Crusade, accompanied by Morgan Freeman who owes Robin a life debt, Robin finds his father’s castle burned, destroyed and his father dead, with the Sheriff of Nottingham ruling in a reign of terror. As usual, there is a love interest in the form of Maid Marion, and she happens upon Robin as he is bathing naked in a lake. Although Kevin Costner did not find his butt attractive enough to appear on screen, thinking it was too flat, so in stepped another guy so that Costner did not have to make an ass of himself!
2. They Are Not All Fearless
When we watch movies and see the huge production values where someone leaps from an exploding building without a rope, landing perfectly into a helicopter, hearts in our mouths, we wonder how any stunt person has the guts to do what they do. However, for stunt performer Vera Lam, who has worked on such shows as Netflix’s Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, was brought up by very careful parents. Lam said that her parents never let her and her brother play sports as kids in case they would break a limb to the point Lam thought she would not pass her school fitness test. Being raised by overly careful parents seemingly brought out an adventurous streak in Vera that took her all the way to Marvel comic adaptations!
1. Cameron Diaz’s Double Has A Gruelling Fitness Regime
For most actors starring in cinematic blockbusters, a committed exercise and fitness program is needed. For this reason, stars (actresses especially, though men too when they play superhero roles) are extremely body conscious. So when a star uses a body double, that person has to make a big effort to stay fit and healthy too, like the double for Blake Lively, Uma Thurman and Cameron Diaz: Kimberly Shannon Murphy. Her regimen to stay on peak level fitness is working out every day of the week, workouts that include running, fight training, yoga, and acrobatics. Although there is one silver lining; Murphy says is that this exercise routine and eating well is all one needs to attain and maintain a great physique to rival the Hollywood elites on screen.
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