From high-flying action sequences to jumping off of a building, Hollywood stunt doubles are key to making a production look, well, real. Part of movie-making magic is that actors typically do not attempt dangerous stunts while shooting due to safety reasons.
Instead, production teams hire stunt doubles who have the same body build, athleticism, and extensive training to perform fight choreography, jump from high places, flip, and of course, take many falls. Being a Hollywood stunt double is a tough job that requires constant training and an understanding that bumps and bruises are part of everyday life.
Distractify spoke exclusively with Emmy-nominated stunt performer and producer Julia Maggio about what it takes to be a professional stunt-double in Hollywood.
From 'Cobra Kai' to Marvel's 'Avengers: Endgame,' Julia Maggio talks being a Hollywood stunt performer.
According to Julia, it's typical for the performer to be working on multiple projects at one time. "So I would have rehearsal for Cobra Kai, learn a huge fight scene, then go work Legacies in between, and then have to come back to Cobra Kai for that scene and actually film it," she explained to Distractify.
"So it can be super hectic but I actually prefer that kind of lifestyle, working on multiple things all at the same time."
When she's not on a job, Julia is constantly training to stay in shape and "clean up" skills or learn new ones.
Plus, consistently training helps to keep a performer safe.
'The most that I can do and that I can control is to be a well-trained performer. You never want to get there on the day and then injure yourself, and the director asks for one more take and you say you can't. That puts the entire production and your boss and yourself in a little bit of a pickle," she said.
She added, "The main thing for safety is really actually on our stunt coordinator and our stunt team. ... [They are] some of the best people in the industry that really aspire to be as safe as humanly possible."
Yes, Hollywood stunt doubles do get scared.
Though stunt performers may throw themselves off the top of a building or flip a high-speeding car, one thing that Julia cleared up is that prior to stunts, the fear is still very real.
"Absolutely, we do get scared," Julia told us. "I think it's so funny so many people think that. We are very much trained safety performers. And there are times that I have been scared but there's nothing more freeing than being scared to do something, and knowing that you have trained your whole life for this — that you were hired because you're the right person to do it."
Julia told us that she "lives for those moments" after performing and nailing a big stunt sequence. So, how does one get into the field of being a stunt performer?
Per the athlete, every person she knows got into the industry in a different way.
"You really need to find your niche and what you're inspired by," she advised, adding, "Most of all, I think it's important to whoever wants to get into Hollywood or the business, they need to prove it."