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A stunt double is a cross between a body double and a stunt performer, specifically a skilled replacement used for dangerous film or video sequences, in movies and television (such as jumping out of a building, jumping from vehicle to vehicle, or other similar actions), and for other sophisticated stunts (especially fight scenes). Stunt doubles may be used in cases where an actor's physical condition precludes much activity (such as when the actor is too old to perform extended dubs choreography), or when an actor is contractually prohibited from taking certain risks. Stunt doubles are sometimes referred to as "stunties".
|Names||Stunt double, body double, dubbie, batemen|
|Competencies||Physical fitness, daring, acting skills|
|Body double, stunt performer, stunt coordinator, actor, movie star, extra|
The terms stunt double and body double may be used interchangeably for cases where special skills (sometimes far from dangerous) are needed, such as dancing (dance double), playing the piano, or competitive skiing. Stunt doubles should be distinguished from daredevils, who perform stunts for the sake of the stunt alone, often as a career. Sequences often do not place stunt doubles in the same mortal peril as the characters: for example, harnesses and wires can be digitally edited out of the final film.
Many stunt doubles have long production careers as part of a star actor's contractual "support crew" along with the star's cooks, trainers, dressers, and assistants. Often stunt doubles have to look like their respective actors, in order to keep the character's appearance. Stunt doubles for Eddie Murphy, John Wayne, Harrison Ford, Steve Martin, Salman Khan and Michael Landon have been associated with their lead actors for decades.
Non-humans are also known to have "stunt doubles". For example, Enzo was the stunt double for his aging sire Moose on the sitcom Frasier. Soccer, the Jack Russell terrier on Wishbone, reportedly hated swimming and therefore had stunt doubles.
Some actors are known to have performed their own stunts. Jackie Chan is particularly famous for doing most of his own stunts, as are fellow martial arts star and movie partners Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung. Indian actor Jayan was well known for performing extremely dangerous stunts by himself and was killed while performing a helicopter stunt. Akshay Kumar is also famous for doing all of his own stunts and has done several dangerous stunts. Thai martial artist and actor Tony Jaa performs his own stunts, likewise.
Some actors started out as stunt doubles, such as Dyri Kristjansson, the second actor of LazyTown's Sportacus, who started out as original actor Magnús Scheving's stunt double, and voice actress Chantal Strand, best known for voicing Dragon Tales' Cassie, who started off doing stunts on Look Who's Talking Now with her twin sister Michelle.
The work of stunt doubles in American TV and film productions is overwhelmingly taken by white men. When they are made up to look like a woman, thus depriving a female stunt double of work, the practice is called "wigging". When they are made up to look like another race, thus denying work to someone that is not Caucasian, the practice is called a "paint down". Experienced stunt performers equate it in 2018 with blackface minstrelsy.
- Robb, David; Robb, David (17 May 2018). "Stuntwomen Panel: Evangeline Lilly Says She Was Intentionally Injured While Filming 'Lost'". Deadline. Retrieved 21 December 2018.