With action films growing more and more daring every year, an oft-forgotten department of a movie is the stunt department. Every year men and women put their lives at risk to continually keep audiences entertained and on the edge of their seats. But while there is an entire stunt industry who are repeatedly crushing stunts left, right and center (and receiving not nearly enough recognition for it), there is just a small minority of actors who are ballsy enough to step up to the mark themselves.
Take a look at just a few of the actors and actresses in Hollywood today who have gone the extra mile to perform as much stunt work in their films as they possibly could:
1. Tom Cruise
Films he performed his own stunts in: Basically all of them.
From Knight and Day to Jack Reacher and of course the Mission Impossible franchise, Tom Cruise is renowned for performing his own stunts. Not content with allowing a stunt actor to take over for him, Cruise believes that if he does the stunts, it adds another layer of realism to his character for the viewers, and allows the audience to fully invest in the film. One of Cruise's most recent big stunts was the plane scene in [Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation](tag:373501), which was, perhaps obviously, incredibly dangerous. Back in July, Cruise spoke to Yahoo! Movies about the risks involved when shooting that scene:
"The things we were all very concerned about were particles on the runway and bird strikes.
You have jet fuel coming right out of the back at me because I’m on the wing above the engine. Even when we were taxying I was also inhaling the fumes and they were going in my eyes."
Wow, sounds pretty intense. Relive the scene again below:
2. Angelina Jolie
Films she performed her own stunts in: Salt, Maleficent
Angelina Jolie had played some badass characters in the past, but it appears as though the actress is pretty badass herself! In the 2010 film Salt, Jolie performed almost all of her own stunts, and she even earned a scar for her efforts. During one scene, Jolie sliced her face open just above her nose after tumbling into a doorway while carrying a gun. But far from letting that deter her, Jolie went on to perform stunts in the 2014 Disney film Maleficent as well.
3. Jason Statham
Films he performed his own stunts in: Much like Cruise, basically all of his films.
Much like his peer Tom Cruise, action star Jason Statham is also an advocate for actors performing their own stunts. The Transporter and Furious 7 star is well known for doing is own action scenes, and in June this year even condemned actors in superhero films who don't perform their own stunts, calling it "embarrassing." Statham is also a long-time supporter of stunt actors receiving their own category at the Academy Awards, something which has been strongly advocated for by his Furious 7 stunt coordinator Jack Gill.
4. Viggo Mortensen
Films he performed his own stunts in: Lord of the Rings trilogy
In Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings franchise, Viggo Mortensen took things to the next level in the films by performing his own stunts. Mortensen took his stunt work so seriously that Jackson often referred to him, and two other stuntmen as "the walking wounded" due to the frequency of their injuries. For his role as Aragorn, Mortensen became an incredibly skilled swordsman, prompting the film's swordmaster, Bob Anderson, to describe him as "the best swordsman I've ever trained."
5. Chloë Grace Moretz
Films she performed her own stunts in: Kickass
She may be the youngest on this list, but Chloë Grace Moretz didn't let age act as a barrier when, at just 13-years-old the actress performed nearly all of her own stunts in Kickass. After training with Jackie Chan's stunt crew for nearly three months, Moretz was ready for action in the film which involved a lot of martial arts and sword wielding. In the end Moretz impressed co-star Aaron Johnson so much he told NY Daily News, "She blew it straight out of the park. I've never even seen adults pull off anything like this."
6. Christian Bale
Films he performed his own stunts in: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises
While some stunt actors were used in the Batman films, the vast majority of the stunt work was done by Christian Bale. Despite having a stunt double for the fighting sequences in The Dark Knight Rises, he wasn't necessary due to Bale already having the martial skills required, after he was taught on his first Batman film, Batman Begins.
7. Bruce Willis
Films he performed his own stunts in: Die Hard franchise
Die Hard was Bruce Willis's first action role, but the actor didn't let lack of experience hold him back from doing his own stunts, and now over 25 years later he's still performing them whenever possible. Speaking about why he does stunts, Willis has an attitude similar to Statham and Cruise, telling Variety, "I think doing my own stunts whenever possible adds a lot to the production value of the film," especially because it allows the director to get close up shots of the actor, without having to worry about disguising the stuntman. However, Willis also does admit that there's something in stunt performing for him, saying, "it satisfies the little boy who still lives in me who gets to shoot guns, kill the bad guys and be a hero while doing jumps and falls and swinging from ropes."