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10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

Mar 15, 2013

You don’t have to be a stuntman to die on a movie set. Some people have done it while having a cigarette in between scenes. But for an actor to risk his or her pretty mug on death-defying acts during the production of a film, well, that’s just another way to a bigger paycheck.

It’s also quite brave.

Here are 10 actors who performed their own stunts in pretty amazing scenarios.

1. Steve McQueen, The Great Escape

mcqueen 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

McQueen was a total motorhead. He lived for bikes and cars and collected the hell out of them. While many think this a famous movie-star-did-his-own-stunt moment in film history, to the King of Cool it was a weekday.

2. Harold Lloyd, Safety Last

harold 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

Back in 1923, they didn’t know the dangers like we do today about stuff like hanging off the 10th floor of the International Savings & Exchange Bank Building in Los Angeles.

3. Jackie Chan, Armour of God

chan 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

From the martial artist’s book “I am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action”:

The stunt was simple: just jumping down from a castle wall to a tree below … the second [take], I somehow missed the branch I was trying to grab. I fell past the tree and … hit the rocky ground head first. A piece of my skull cracked and shot up into my brain, and blood poured from my ears … eight hours later, I was going under the knife. The operation was successful, and I recovered quickly — even though there’s a permanent hole in my head now, with a plastic plug there to keep my brains in.

4. Keanu Reeves, Speed

keanu 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

That was Ted Theodore Logan who hopped from the Jaguar onto the moving bus, even though director Jan de Bont had no plans to put his leading man on top of a car while heading west on the 105. “So many actors wouldn’t have done those stunts,” de Bont said in an interview. “He was fearless.”

5. Sylvester Stallone, First Blood

sly 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

Some of the screams you hear from Sly are real, or so fans discovered after listening to the DVD commentary track. In the scene where Rambo jumps off a cliff and hits tree branches on the way down to break his fall, Stallone cracked a rib.

6. Chloe Moretz, Kick-Ass

kickass 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

Look, she’s not jumping off any cliffs but c’mon: The girl’s 15. She skipped doing her homework to do backflips for your money.

7. Burt Reynolds, Deliverance

reynolds 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

Because so many scenes involved canoeing, the cast had to develop that skill set before shooting. “There were no stunt doubles used,” recalled director John Boorman. “If the shot is dangerous enough to need a stunt man, you shouldn’t be doing it.” Save one scene in which some heavy rapids knocked back Reynolds and busted his tailbone.

8. Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy

tandy 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

That was actually Tandy in the scene where, at age 80, she walked from the house to the driveway and got in the car all on her own.

9. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Commando

arnold 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

Director Mark Lester had a difficult time finding a lookalike to perform many of Arnold’s stunts, so the Governator oftentimes got stuck with the dirty work — like jumping off a plane’s landing gear at 70mph. Schwarzenegger said he got pretty banged up on the shoot, but nothing that couldn’t mend on its own with a few days off.

10. Angelina Jolie, Salt

jolie 10 actors who performed their own dangerous stunts

She apparently cut her nose pretty badly when she was jumping across a highway overpass and onto a semi-truck during a fight scene. We may have forgotten this one, but Jolie has a memento to forever remind her. “I was bleeding and I have a little scar now.”


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