Behind every kick, punch, and POW! is a hard working stunt worker bringing the incredible feats of superheros and superhumans to life. Whether because of physical limitations or contractual obligations, the actors cast as superheroes have to step aside and let these physically formidable professionals step in as their stunt doubles. Actors try to do as many of their own stunts as they can because they know the esteem that comes with performing the complex work they do.
Stunt doubles train in martial arts, acrobatics, and bodybuilding, often adding racing in cars and motorcycles to their list of skills to increase their chances of working on huge franchise films. Some of them are selected because they bear a striking resemblance to the stars they’ll be doubling, and some of them are selected because of their wide range of abilities. Many of them are actors in their own right, who happen to be well equipped to do their own stunts should the need arise. Whatever their credits and abilities, the one thing the 15 stunt doubles on this list have in common is they’re all just as good looking as the celebrities they impersonate! CBR invites you to meet the beauty behind the brawn!
15. INGRID KLEINIG – MARGOT ROBBIE/HARLEY QUINN
The maniacal charm of Harley Quinn in 2016’s Suicide Squad was due in large part to the performance by Margot Robbie, who captured the infectious eccentricities of The Joker’s main squeeze with her sassy quips and fun-loving approach to violence.
The person behind the pastel pigtails was Ingrid Kleinig, who performed all of Robbie’s stunt work.
Though Robbie did a lot of the stunt work herself, the more dangerous work (like jumping from roof tops and being suspended from ladders) was all Kleinig.As in the case with Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie found herself a stunt double that remains her stunt double across a variety of films. Kleinig also doubled for Robbie in The Legend of Tarzan. Both her and Robbie hail from Australia, where she enjoys hiking and other outdoor activities.
14. SHAUNA DUGGINS – MELISSA BENOIST/SUPERGIRL
From a character that got her series cancelled just before her television show aired, to becoming an important figurehead for female superhero representation, Supergirl has experienced a lot of change in the recent era of superhero shows. Melissa Benoist brings Kara-El to life with her personality, and Shauna Duggins ensures she looks heroic in every stunt she performs.
Shauna Duggins has an impressive filmography as a stunt performer, appearing in no less than 125 titles. Several of her credits are for embodying superheroes, including Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3 and Agent Peggy Carter in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Action franchises include appearances in Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and Kill Bill. High profile actresses that she frequently doubles for are Charlize Theron, Jennifer Garner and Cameron Diaz.
13. HEIDI MONEYMAKER – SCARLETT JOHANSSON/BLACK WIDOW
Scar Jo may be the one that makes her black catsuit look good, but Heidi Moneymaker is the one that makes her look like the elite Russian assassin Natasha Romanova is. Any insane scorpion kick, back flip, and fast-paced sprint through exploding debris is Moneymaker, who happens to also have the muscular, lean, and curvaceous body type that Johansson has developed for her role in the Avengers films.
A former gymnast, she uses her extreme flexibility to accurately perform Johansson’s extensive fight choreography.
Moneymaker is also trained in a variety of martial arts, and has a love of extreme sports, mountain climbing, and sky-diving. She’s been the stunt double for Ruby Rose in John Wick: Chapter 2, and for Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast and the Furious franchise.
12. SCOTT ADKINS – RYAN REYNOLDS/DEADPOOL
Ryan Reynolds’ first appearance as Deadpool occurred in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in which he had what amounted to a cameo as the Merc with a Mouth. Opening scenes show the Deadpool that fans would come to cheer for in the Deadpool stand alone movie, but the final scenes involving Weapon XI were actor/stuntman/martial artist extraordinaire Scott Adkins. His decades of martial arts training made the fight sequences more believable, even if fans felt Deadpool had been let down with the plot.
Adkins has starred in the Ninja trilogy, became the breakout star of the Undisputed franchise, and has squared off against such famous fighters as Jean Claude Van Damme and Jason Statham. He has been attached to rumors about replacing Ben Affleck as Batman but until then, see him kick major butt in the comic book movie Accident Man, out now.
11. ALICIA VELA-BAILEY – GAL GADOT/WONDER WOMAN
Lest anyone unjustly condemn the state of Gal Gadot’s Amazonian frame in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, know that she trained for months to put on 20 pounds of muscle, and practiced daily to hone her sword, archery, and combat skills. A former Israeli model and cover girl, this dedication made her no slouch when it came to embodying the famous superhero, especially since she also insisted on doing as many stunts as the suits would let her get away with.
When Gadot had to step aside, an equally capable Wonder Woman stepped forward in the form of veteran stunt performer Alicia Vela-Bailey.
Not only does she possess Gadot’s beauty and imposing stature, she has the athletic prowess to make her stunts the believable death-defying actions of a goddess. It isn’t the first time she’s performed as a superhero; she was also Jennifer Lawrence’s stunt double in X-Men: First Class.
10. BOBBY HOLLAND HANTON – CHRIS HEMSWORTH/THOR
When it comes to being a stunt double for Chris Hemsworth, it helps to have more than brawn, and Bobby Holland Hanton has not only Hemsworth’s size and height, but also the movie star looks. This is probably why he’s been able to be the stunt double for both him and Captain America, aka Chris Evans. Like other superhero stars who find a good double and keep them, Holland Hanton is contractually obligated to double for Hemsworth in any film he’s in.
Besides looking eerily like he could be Hemsworth’s brother, the big blonde has also doubled for Chris Pines in Wonder Woman as Steve Trevor. Besides superhero stunts, he’s been in several Hollywood blockbusters, such as Harry Potter, the James Bond movie Skyfall, and Inception.
9. ELSA PATAKY – NATALIE PORTMAN/JANE FOSTER
It would follow that someone like Chris Hemsworth would marry someone as gorgeous and impressively fit as Elsa Pataky. No doubt it made their time on the set of Thor: The Dark World extra special since she was one of many stunt performers for Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. However, none of them got to actually make out with Thor.
Due to a conflict of interests and other business obligations, Natalie Portman couldn’t be on set to film the final scene where Jane and Thor share a passionate kiss.
8. LEO WOODRUFF – BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH/DR. STRANGE
For all his accolades as a dramatic thespian, Benedict Cumberbatch has made a name for himself in the action movie genre with leading parts in Sherlock, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and now Dr. Strange. It only follows that he would have a stunt double with an equally impressive resume. Leo Woodruff, classically handsome and physically capable, was just the man for the job on Dr. Strange, where he first met Cumberbatch and helped make his action sequences truly magical.
Appearing in such film franchises as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy, Woodruff is no stranger to the biggest of blockbuster stunt demands. You can see his actual acting chops as Howland Reed in Game of Thrones season six.
7. SOPHIA CRAWFORD – SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR/BUFFY
They say that after 30, all the roles actresses get in Hollywood are mom roles, with the implication being they’re not complex or particularly interesting. Well, if you’re a stunt performer like Sophia Crawford, you’re just getting warmed up. Over 50 now, her filmography has credits for the past three decades, beginning in the early ‘90s with Power Rangers and as the stunt double of Sarah Michelle Gellar in the much-loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She even married the show’s stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt.
The superhuman fighting prowess of the Slayer was made all the deadlier by Crawford’s expert martial art abilities.
6. PAUL DARNELL – HENRY CAVILL/SUPERMAN
The stunt double for Superman is the same guy that was the stunt double for Robert Pattinson as a sparkly vampire in Twilight. How do you go from landing the role of doubling a lithe vampire to an imposing superhero? You audition. Darnell had to perform a small fight scene which, while it initially impressed Man of Steel producers, made them still wonder if Darnell could gain the significant amount of weight he would need to in order to properly represent Superman’s buff frame.
He had to put on 25 pounds of muscle, and performed any stunts that Cavill couldn’t perform due to contractual insurance obligations. Cavill did perform some of his own stunts, in which Darnell’s job was to run through them ahead of time, ensure they were safe enough to perform, and then help coach Cavill through them so that he could perform them on film.
5. KRISTA BELL – ELIZABETH BANKS/RITA REPULSA
With a career spanning almost twenty years, Krista Bell has made a name for herself doing stunts in blockbusters like War of the Planet of the Apes, Deadpool and Godzilla. When Elizabeth Banks needed a stunt double for the new Power Rangers movie, Krista Bell was selected.
But not only because she was more than up for the task of playing Rita Repulsa, but also because they look like they could be sisters.
The costume and makeup to portray Rita Repulsa was time consuming to put on, and awkward to perform stunts in, but Bell makes it look flawless. She’s been the stunt double for many actresses including Kate Bosworth, Amiah Miller, and recently Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game. She loves mixed martial arts, weight lifting, hiking, and being outdoors.
4. DEJAY ROESTENBERG – KRYSTEN RITTER/JESSICA JONES
In order to be the stunt double for Krysten Ritter as the tough as nails, no-nonsense PI Jessica Jones, you need to be equally formidable. Deborah Jay “DeJay” Roestenberg cut her teeth on lots of stunts for the Daredevil series before being brought up to double as Ritter in Jessica Jones, and again in The Defenders. This chain of events is impressive because compared to the stunt doubles working in the superhero game, Roestenberg’s career as a stunt woman is only four years old!
She snagged the job due to her ability to memorize complex choreography and her martial arts training. Her very first stunt credits were in the popular crime thriller series The Following, then Gotham the following year. She loves hiking and spending time with her husband and five children.
3. ALBERT VALLADARES – BEN AFFLECK/BATMAN
Nicknamed “The Spider” due to his agility, dexterity, and speed, Albert Valladares had a long list of action film credits before landing the job as stunt double for Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Tall, ripped, and swarthy, Valladares could be a leading man himself, so it’s no surprise he doubles for them.
While he started out doubling just for Ben Affleck, in Justice League he doubled for both Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill.
When he isn’t spending hours at the gym and performing feats of superhuman agility, he’s freerunning and doing parkour. In essence, Valladares is living the life of an actual superhero. He trains in karate, ju-jitsu, and muay thai boxing, and prefers to combine interval training like crossfit with his bodybuilding workouts.
2. JOLENE VAN VUGT – ANNE HATHAWAY/CATWOMAN
When Anne Hathaway straddles her motorcycle as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, it’s her stunt double Jolene Van Vugt that gives it the nitro boost. The first CRMC Canadian Motocross National Champion and the first woman to backflip a full sized dirt bike, her stunt woman career is recent, but her adrenaline-pumping stunts have been occurring since she was was a teenager and first riding dirt bikes.
Since she was 14, she has quickly ridden to the top of the most elite championships involving dirt bike racing. Unfortunately, such insane stunts come at a cost, and injuries in 2015 forced her to have multiple reconstructive surgeries. Back in top form now, Van Vugt can currently be seen revving her engines on the show Nitro Circus on MTV.
1. LAUREN MARY KIM – ELODIE YUNG/ELEKTRA
As the stunt double for Elodie Yung, performing as the formidable and cunning assassin Elektra on the hit Netflix series Daredevil, Lauren Mary Kim had to put her expertise in fight choreography and mixed martial arts to the test. She also performed Yung’s stunts in The Defenders, and has been an acrobat double on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As beautiful as Yung and possessing the same exotic charm, she trains in Taekwondo, Wushu, Silat, Filipino Martial Arts, Jeet Kune Do, and the graceful dance-like Capoeira.
Kim’s action genre credits include Star Trek, Fast 7, Total Recall, and the Transformers movies. She’s been a fight choreographer and a stunt double for a little over ten years and is just getting started. She recently completed stunt work in Pacific Rim Uprising coming out later this year.
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