Stunt doubles are the secret weapons to all of the biggest Hollywood films, the ones behind the action-packed scenes who risk their lives in order to give the audience something they will love. Some of them have even died risking it all. They get thrown 50 feet in the air, they jump off the top of skyscrapers. When a scene is too dangerous for an actor, they are the ones standing on the sidelines waiting to take over. Indeed, most of them are aware of how expendable they are.
Any given fight scene, one that may last no more than two minutes, could take months to film. Stunt doubles have to stay in peak condition at all times - most of them do some kind of martial arts - and undergo extensive training in vehicle driving, weaponry and more. Some stunt doubles are lucky enough to be written into actor’s contracts, following him or her around to each movie they are cast, and given access to the actor’s cooks, trainers, etc.
To be able to become a stunt double, you generally have to look somewhat like the actor, but that isn’t always the case. How much are they paid for their time? It can vary based on experience, but on average, stunt doubles pull in around $70K a year. Let us ask you this: is your life worth $70K? Would you risk it all? Maybe it's the rush they're after. Or maybe they hope to transition out of the stunts, and into the spotlight. The ones on this list certainly have the looks to succeed, and it may just be a matter of time, if they can survive.
15 Shauna Duggins as Melissa Benoist
Shauna Duggins is the queen of female stunt doubles with a staggering 125 credits to her name (she is also a cutie, which is what you came here for, right?). When it comes to superheroes, Duggins doubled for Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and for Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3. She was also a stunt performer in Supergirl and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As you can see, she is one of Marvel’s leading choices when it comes to female stunt doubles. Outside of the Marvel universe, she has done a lot of stunts in a bunch of other big films and TV series - as we said, 125 of them - including Game of Thrones, Star Trek and Kill Bill: Vol. 2. She was also a stunt double for Jennifer Garner, whom she is also friends with, Charlize Theron and Cameron Diaz. You get the point. Duggins is kind of big deal in the stunt performing world.
14 Ky Furneaux as Cobie Smulders
Maria Hill/Agent Hill may not technically be a superhero, but she is certainly part of the Avengers universe, which is why we have included her here. Ky Furneaux was Cobie Smulders' stunt double in the first Avengers film, The Avengers. Since then, she has been a regular stunt double for Jaimie Alexander in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (as well as a stunt double for Elena Satine on the same show). She is also a stunt double on NBC’s Blind Spot, for which she was awarded what is considered the Oscars for stunt doubles in 2012, taking home the award for Best Female Stunt Performer in the World. Previously, she appeared in other big Hollywood films, like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Thor. Furneaux definitely has one of the more interesting histories out of everyone on this list, hosting various adventure shows over the years and publishing a book, Girl’s Own Survival Guide by Penguin.
13 Dejay Roestenberg as Krysten Ritter
Who would take on the broken and yet powerful Jessica Jones in this Netflix original? While the show doesn’t have as much action as some of the other superhero shows out there - Jessica Jones typically uses her detective skills as opposed to her superpowers - the show still needed to bring in a few stunt doubles from time to time. The main stunt double on the show was cutie Dejay Roestenberg, who not only doubled for Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones but is also her stunt double in the upcoming The Defenders, which is currently being filmed. The show will see Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage come together to take on crime in NYC.
Besides being Jessica Jones' stunt double, Rostenberg was also Emily Blunt’s stunt double in Girl on a Train. She has done stunt work for a lot of major TV shows, including Orange is the New Black, The OA, Mr. Robot, Daredevil and Gotham.
12 Clay Donahue Fontenot as Robert Downey Jr.
Who is actually the man behind all of Iron Man’s fight and flying scenes? No other than Clay Donahue Fontenot, who was Robert Downey Jr.’s stunt double in The Avengers and Iron Man 2. He also doubled for Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx and has appeared in some major Hollywood blockbusters, from Batman v Superman to Fantastic Four to Django Unchained to Fast and Furious, the Blade movies and more. He has been hailed as one of the most "sought after" stunt performers in the industry.
Fontenot also has some pretty impressive acting credits to his name as well, including Ant-Man. While there aren’t a lot of pictures of Fontenot lurking on the Internet, what we have seen so far is why he has landed a spot on this very coveted list.
11 Heidi Moneymaker as Scarlett Johansson
Here we have the real Natasha Romanova/Black Widow. Her name is Heidi Moneymaker and she is the one behind all of the action stunts, fights and explosions in Marvel’s Avengers (for the most part). Her body is certainly a marvel (get it?). She’s super fit and that is precisely why she is on this list. It’s also why she was probably able to land the coveted role of Scarlett Johansson’s stunt double in the first place, along with the fact that she shares Johansson’s famous curves. Indeed, in order to be considered as a stunt double, you have to have a similar body to the actor/actress to begin with. Of course, Moneymaker also has an impressive resume that has helped her earn a reputation for being one of the best. She does martial arts, stunt driving and can handle weapons better than The Terminator.
Moneymaker has also doubled for other famous actresses in the past, including Drew Barrymore in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast and Furious franchise and Julianne Moore in The Hunger Games.
10 Ingrid Kleinig as Margot Robbie
It is difficult to imagine a woman hotter than Margot Robbie, a.k.a. Harley Quinn. We have to say, though, that Ingrid Kleinig puts up quite a fight, in more ways than one. Before we move on, you may be surprised to learn that Robbie actually did quite a few of the stunts in 2016's Suicide Squad herself, including the elevator fight scene with the Eyes of the Adversary where Robbie has to run up the wall (the scene took 10 hours to shoot and left Robbie unable to move her neck the next day). Okay, now on to Robbie’s stunt double who was on call during the duration of Suicide Squad. Her name is Ingrid Kleinig and she is just as much of a blonde bombshell as Robbie herself. The Australian has doubled for Robbie more than once, including in 2016’s The Legend of Tarzan. She is also known for her work in Mad Max: Fury Road and doubling for Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
9 Colin Follenweider as Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd was once the rom-com king before he saved the world as a tiny ant. Sure, Ant-Man may not be Marvel’s most known character, but that doesn’t mean that Ant-Man wasn’t impressive. He went places no superhero had gone before. While Rudd may have been the face of Ant-Man, it was Colin Follenweider who was the body. He is one of the biggest stunt performers out there, and one of the most in-demand, doubling for Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class) and Chris Evans (The Losers). He has fought and kicked his way behind the scenes of many of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, from X: Men Apocalypse to Divergent to Avatar to Thor and more. Follenweider had this to say about his career as a stunt performer: "Stuntmen are there for situations which are too dangerous for the actor, ultimately we're expendable where the lead in a film isn't.” Would you risk it?
8 Bobby Holland Hanton as Chris Hemsworth
Bobby Holland Hanton is as accomplished as they come when it comes to stunt doubles. Some say that he is even as handsome as his shadow, Chris Hemsworth. He is basically Marvel’s go-to stunt double for all of their superheroes, whether it’s Hemsworth’s Thor or Chris Evans' Captain America (he doubled for both!). With those muscles, it's easy to see why. Holland Hanton is also currently in Hemsworth’s contract, which means that wherever Hemsworth goes, Holland Hanton goes too. Holland Hanton really scored.
He also doubled for Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor in the upcoming Wonder Woman. Not only that, but Holland Hanton is just as big outside of the comic book/superhero world, too. He has performed stunts in some very big Hollywood films and even critically acclaimed TV shows, including Inception, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises and Game of Thrones, to name only a few. Most recently, he appeared in Fantastic Beasts.
7 Chloe Bruce as Zoe Saldana
Anyone would have a hard time competing with the likes of beauty Zoe Saldana, but Chloe Bruce, Saldana’s stunt double in Guardians of the Galaxy has her very fit body going for her (after all, she is a stunt double). Bruce has also appeared in other big Hollywood blockbusters besides Guardians of the Galaxy, battling her way across the screen, including in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII and Blade Runner 2049, as well as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Thor: The Dark World. She also played Snatcher in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. If you take a look at her resume, not only does she do extreme martial arts, which explains that physique of hers, but she also has a black belt in Tang Soo Do and is a weapons expert. She can even walk across wires! What more do you need?!
6 Leo Woodruff as Benedict Cumberbatch
Leo Woodruff is another stunt performer (and actor!) with a very impressive resume. In fact, you might just recognize him from season six of Game of Thrones where he played Howland Reed. In terms of his stunt work, not only was he Benedict Cumberbatch’s stunt double in Marvel’s Doctor Strange but he is set to be Ryan Reynolds' stunt double in Life, to be released this year, as well as 2016’s Criminal. He has been in some pretty big blockbusters and television series, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World and The Dark Knight Rises to Game of Thrones. While women (and men) are smitten with Cumberbatch, Woodruff puts up a good fight in the looks department, which is precisely why he landed a spot on this list. He has even taken home a few awards for his stunt performances - he is just that good.
5 Sam Hargrave as Chris Evans
Chris Evans’ Captain America is one role that always has a few stunt doubles lurking behind the scenes. Sam Hargrave is one such stunt double, doubling for Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. All you need to know is that he is equally as dapper as Chris Evans. He did a lot of flying, one that involved flying 40 feet into a car windshield. Did you know that a basic fight scene could take months to film? According to Hargrave, all of the risks are worth it, saying, "If the shot is going to be epic, if it's going to be awesome, and to make it epic and awesome you have to hit the ground and possibly hurt yourself, I choose to hit the ground and possibly hurt myself," he told Cowan. "Because in my silly stunt man mind, an epic shot that lives forever on film, I'll get over it in a couple of months!" Seems like the kind of stunt double you’d want on board, right? It paid off because Hargrave took home not one but two Taurus World Stunt Awards, including “Hardest Hit” and “Best High Work.”
4 Sophia Crawford as Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sophia Crawford is an absolute powerhouse. She’s fifty years old and has remained in peak condition, complete with six pack abs and everything, and basically looks better than people who are half her age. If you can imagine a blonde bombshell, and we’re sure you can, Crawford certainly fit that description. Since Crawford has been in the business for almost thirty years at this point, her list of credits (both stunt performing and acting) is obviously quite lengthy. And yet, even though there is certainly no shortage of young stunt performers, she is still snagging stunt performing roles with her most recent one being in Jason Bourne in 2016. Ultimately, she is known as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s stunt double on Buffy, and while Buffy wasn’t exactly a superhero in the traditional sense, she did have superpowers like super strength and was a quite obviously a badass, which Crawford helped come to life.
3 Alicia Vela-Bailey as Gal Gadot
DC's Wonder Woman is among the most anticipated films of 2017, marking the superhero’s first ever on-screen debut, certainly a rare feat for a female superhero. The coveted role went to Israeli model, Gal Gadot. In previous years, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock were tied to the role. But behind the beautiful Gadot is a woman named Alicia Vela-Bailey, a seasoned stunt performer. All you really need to know is that Vela-Bailey is just as attractive as the superhero she doubles for on the big screen. But, if we must get into it, her stunt double credits are pretty impressive. Not only was she in Batman v Superman, but she was also Jennifer Lawrence’s stunt double (Mystique) in X-Men: First Class. She has doubled for the likes of Kate Beckinsale, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She has been in a number of big Hollywood films, including Divergent and Avatar. Of course, Vela-Bailey is also an up and coming actress with her most recent roles being in 2016’s Underworld: Blood Wars and Lights Out, but also as Alisha Whitley on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2 Amy Johnston as Scarlett Johansson
For Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Scarlett Johansson had TWO stunt doubles working behind the scenes - one was Heidi Moneymaker, as you saw above, and the second one was Amy Johnston. If you take a look at her picture, you can see exactly why she made this list. Look at that face! She is quite the looker. She hasn’t been in the game all that long, but she has appeared in some Hollywood blockbusters, including Iron Man 3, Deadpool and Suicide Squad. It would appear that she may be trying to break into the acting scene as well, given that she had around eight acting gigs in 2016 alone. Needless to say, Johnston gives Johansson a run for her money (no pun intended).
1 Elsa Pataky as Natalie Portman
Yes, Natalie Portman was deemed one of the most beautiful women in the world from a scientific perspective, but have you seen Chris Hemsworth’s wife Elsa Pataky (probably, at least if you’ve seen any of the recent Fast and Furious movies - she plays Elena Neves). The Spanish supermodel and actress is absolutely stunning. Do you remember the passionate kissing scene in Thor: The Dark World, the final scene? That wasn’t actually Portman - it was Hemsworth's real-life wife, Elsa Pataky. She wasn’t Portman’s stunt double by any means, but she did step in for that particular scene. But don't chop it up to jealousy or drama. Portman just had business to attend to and wasn't able to make it to Hong Kong to film the scene, which is why they threw a wig on Pataky and that was that. Portman later explained that their real-life romance was why the kiss was so passionate!
Sources: CBSNews, DailyMail, HollywoodReporter, IMDb