The resolve and devotion actors and actresses show in their work is always incredible to see and experience. There are countless actors and actresses who have undergone radical diets, extreme training, drastic physical transformations as well as psychological preparations in order to play a certain role. What people don’t realize is how much hard work goes into bringing a character to life in a believable way. Academy Award Winner Daniel Day-Lewis is known to be a method actor, because he doesn’t break character even off screen. On the other hand, actors such as Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie train very hard and perform all their stunts.
Speaking of stunts, superhero movies and TV shows are jampacked with over-the-top action scenes, ludicrous car chases and well-choreographed fight sequences. Usually, these dangerous scenes are done by a stunt double. However, there are some real-life daredevils who are not afraid to tempt fate and take matters into their own hands. Much to the disquiet of their producers and studios. While there are certain legal limitations on what stunts an actor can do, those willing and brave enough still get to do quite a lot. We did some digging and found 15 awesome actors who you probably didn’t know did their own superhero stunts.
The hunky Canadian actor Stephen Amell, best known for portraying Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, in the CW’s Arrowverse franchise and Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is more than just a pretty face. As you might have noticed during the course of five seasons of Arrow, Stephen is in excellent physical shape. He’s even appeared on both WWE and American Ninja Warrior.
It is no secret that Arrow has tons of outrageous action scenes, which look incredibly realistic. What’s more impressive is that Stephen actually does three quarters of his own stunts. The fearless and skilled star has given his producer, Greg Berlanti, quite a few headaches over the last five years. Tons of the awesome parkour, fighting and workout scenes you see every week are done by Stephen.
The popular Australian actress, Margot Robbie, who played the psychotic Harley Quinn in DCEU’s 2016 movie Suicide Squad, is yet another daredevil who doesn’t let a little danger stop her from performing her own action and fight scenes. While the movie Suicide Squad did not receive such stellar reviews, Margot’s performance was one of the highest points of the movie.
Producers Richard Suckle and Andy Horwitz have both gone on record stating that Margot did all of her stunts in Suicide Squad. While Margot did have a double on the set at all times, she spent her time sitting in a chair and watching Margot do all the work. In order to prepare for the role and be able to do all the stunts, Margot started training back in 2014.
Donning on the Batsuit in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Christian Bale, was the first non-American actor and the youngest ever actor to portray Batman. Many of us still look affectionately to the Dark Knight Trilogy and will always see Bale as Batman. Bale has an uncanny ability to completely transform himself into the character he’s playing and that is what made him arguably the best Batman.
Apart from that, Bale is also an expert in the martial art Keysi, which he learned for Batman Begins. While Bale did have a stunt double, Bale made his job a lot easier. This incredibly skillful chameleon performed all of his fight sequences and stunt scenes such as standing on top of Chicago’s tallest building. The jumping off the building, however, he left to the stunt double.
Everyone’s favorite mutant, Wolverine, played of course by the beloved Australian actor Hugh Jackman, is known to pull of some pretty insane moves on the big screen. What you may not know is that most of the stunts were performed by Jackman himself, who is adamant about doing his own stunts. The Aussie believes that doing his own stunts makes the scenes more realistic to the audience.
Performing these scenes naturally requires the actor to be in perfect physical shape and Jackman has been known to go to extreme lengths to prepare himself for the role of Wolverine. Especially the latest installment in the franchise -- Logan. Over the years, Jackman has suffered quite a few injuries on set. The most serious occurred while he was performing a stunt in the 2013 movie The Wolverine when he almost broke his back.
Stephen Amell is not the only star in the Arrowverse capable of performing their own stunts. Caity Lotz, who portrays Sara Lance, aka White Canary, sure has a variety of talents. This actress, singer and dancer is also a martial artist with training in Tae Kwan Do, Wushu, Krav Maga and Muay Thai. Plus, she practices parkour and tricking. Well if that’s not impressive, we don’t know what is.
The talented and highly skilled Caity performs almost all of her own stunts. The only stunts she doesn’t do are the ones where she could get seriously injured. For example, being thrown through a glass window. But the amazing fight scenes, that’s all Caity. In one interview, Caity said that the hardest stunt she’s ever done is running forward and doing a backflip.
Over the years, this American actor has portrayed four different comic book characters. However, his most prominent role is of course that of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Evans first appeared as Steve Rogers in the 2011 Captain America: First Avenger and since then has been adored by the fans for his excellent portrayal of the character.
While Chris has always been in exceptional physical shape, he still had to put on more muscle in order to play the beloved comic book hero. However, his dedication to playing Captain America goes even further, because Chris actually does a lot of his own stunts. Fun fact, when Chris got injured performing a stunt on the set of Captain America: Civil War his movie rival, Robert Downey Jr., came to his rescue.
Lynda Carter, whom you may recognize as The President of the United States on The CW’s Supergirl, used to play Wonder Woman. Carter portrayed Diana Prince on the TV series Wonder Woman which ran on ABC and CBS back in the '70s. The show was Carter’s big break and to this day she’s remember for her portrayal of the beloved comic book heroine.
But Carter herself was indeed a wonder woman. During the show’s run, Carter performed many of her own stunts. In one episode of season two, Carter shot a stunt scene in which she had to hang from a helicopter. Naturally, this caused some uneasiness with CBS. However, that did not stop Carter from courageously continuing to do her own stunts.
While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a breakthrough for many of the members of the cast, Ming-Na Wen already had a career behind her. Some of you might remember Ming-Na from the '90s medical drama E.R., or the Disney animated movie Mulan. Now, Ming-Na plays the badass Agent Melinda May, one of the fan favorite characters, on ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
But, as impressive as May is, the actress that plays her does not fall behind. The incredible Ming-Na Wen does all of her stunts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and enjoys it immensely. Ming-Na stated that she works out regularly and trains with stunt coordinators and choreographers to make sure the scenes look believable and Agent May looks awesome. Well, as far as we’re concerned, Ming-Na is doing an amazing job.
The gorgeous British-American actress, Hayley Atwell, come into public eye with her astounding portrayal of everyone’s favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Margaret “Peggy” Carter, in Captain America: First Avenger. Both Peggy Carter and Hayley Atwell became an instant hit with the fans. And in 2015, Hayley got her own TV show titled Agent Carter, which was unfortunately cut too short.
Those of you who still cherish memories of Agent Carter surely remember how fierce Peggy Carter was. Every week, we would get to see Agent Carter beat down some shady characters. Well, those fights and stunts you enjoyed so much were performed by Hayley Atwell herself. While she may lack in the skills department, according to her own words, she does have a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, this occasionally resulted in other stuntmen sustaining injuries.
Before Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Amazing Spider-Man came Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy starring Tobey Maguire as the titular hero. Spidey’s biggest nemesis, the notorious Green Goblin, was played by Willem Dafoe. Dafoe, who’s often cast as unstable or villainous characters, delivered an excellent performance as the Green Goblin.
But what you may not know though, is that Dafoe performed 90% of his stunts in the Spider-Man movies. The original Green Goblin costume had to be replaced with a lighter and more athletic suit because Dafoe insisted on doing his own stunts. Apparently, Dafoe is extremely flexible and a quick learner, so he volunteered to do all of his stunts. So, when you’re watching the Green Goblin glide around it is pretty much Willem all the time.
The beautiful Israeli actress, model and singer, Gal Gadot, absolutely slayed it in this year’s DCEU Wonder Woman film. Just like her performance in the movie, Gadot’s life story is nothing short of impressive. Between the age of 18-20, Gadot served two years as an enlisted soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. And in 2004, she won the title of Miss Israel. Very diverse indeed.
When it comes to stunts Gadot likes to take matters into her own hands. In preparation for her role as Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gadot received training in swordsmanship, Kung Fu kickboxing, Capoeira and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gadot spent six months preparing for the movie in order to get in prime physical shape. Even though she was pregnant during the shooting of Wonder Woman, she still performed a lot of her own stunts.
The late Superman actor, Christopher Reeve, will forever be fondly remembered for his outstanding portrayal of the Man of Steel. Christopher’s physical appearance as well as his charisma made him the perfect choice to bring Clark Kent to the big screen. Determined to do his best and become Superman, Reeve trained with a weightlifting champion and put on thirty pounds.
An avid skier, horseman, scuba-diver and pilot, Reeve was adamant about doing his own stunts. Since he was playing Superman, most of the stunts involved simulated flying with the use of still unperfected complex machinery. Bear in mind, these were the '70s and they did not have the luxury of today’s modern equipment and CGI. One of the stunts Reeve performed involved him hanging from a 240-feet crane over the East River.
The young and talented Chloë Grace Moretz is receiving more and more roles with every coming year and with good reason. Chloë has become known for her stellar performances. Although she started acting at the age of seven, her true breakthrough came with her role as Hit-Girl in the 2010 superhero movie Kick-Ass. At the time of the movie Chloë was only thirteen years old, but still did most of her own stunts.
Chloë trained with Jackie Chan’s stunt crew for three months prior to shooting the movie in preparation for her many action and fight scenes. Proving that much like her character, she too is a tough girl. While her involvement in such a violent movie sparked controversy, Chloë still received widespread critical acclaim for her incredible performance. Way to go Chloë.
Actress and singer, Chloe Bennet, went from pop star to superhero when she joined Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. On the show, Chloe plays Agent Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, formerly known as Sky -- wow, that’s a mouthful. When Sky became Daisy, Chloe put herself through rigorous stunt training in order for her character to come off as authentic as possible.
Chloe did two months of kickboxing, boxing, Krav Maga and jiujutsu to build up her ability to do what Daisy can do so effortlessly. Now, Chloe enjoys doing her own stunts just a bit too much. Last season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. certainly had Daisy in some serious actions scenes. In one action scene Daisy chases after the Ghost Rider and Chloe had to get on the hood of the moving car. Only she had too much fun with it and couldn’t stop laughing.
The young British actor, Tom Holland, impressed everyone with his brief appearance as the Web Crawler in Captain America: Civil War. So, when Spider-Man: Homecoming finally came out, fans from all around the world swarmed to movie theaters, ecstatic to see their favorite friendly neighborhood superhero in action. Tom Holland, who’s only 21 years old, trained incredibly hard to get in shape for his role as Peter Parker.
The young actor is known for his excellent gymnastic skills and performed majority of the impressive stunts Spider-Man: Homecoming is absolutely packed with. According to Tom, he did as many stunts as he was allowed to do. His favorite was running up a steel beam while fighting The Vulture. So, there is a great deal of scenes where you’re actually watching Tom perform insane stunts.
So which name from the list surprised you the most? As always, let us know in the comments!