How to become a Hollywood stuntman

The world’s leading professional nutcases, daredevils and racing heroes reveal their expert knowledge on the most ridiculous biking feats you can imagine...

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Professional Hollywood stunt performer, Rick English is one of the very best stunt doubles in the business with over 100 feature films and TV stunts to his name.

Here’s his tips on how to become a Hollywood stuntman:

“Usually to work in the movies as a stunt performer you have to become a member of the British Stunt Register, an elite organisation for professionals with demanding entry requirements including reaching an extremely high level of competence in at least six different sporting disciplines.

“I had a background in motorcycle racing and martial arts and it took me around four years to train my other disciplines up to the required standards for entry. Starting out in the industry is pretty tough. It’s hard to get jobs when people don’t know who you are. It’s imperative to keep as sharp as possible so when the opportunities come, you are fully prepared.


“As a stunt performer you have to gain people’s trust and prove yourself every time you work with someone new. People are relying on you to be accurate and in control so as not to place yourself or any of the cast or crew at unnecessary risk.

“It’s really important to keep sharp and on top of your game by riding all the time, even after a 14-hour day. I also watch a lot of motorcycle racing, stunt riding, and even crashes as you can learn from it. Before I performed the high side on Mission Impossible 5 in this picture, I watched hundreds of clips of racing crashes to see which one had the right look and was achievable under film conditions.

“But the week before we flew out to Morocco to film the bike sequence, Bautista had a huge high side in MotoGP qualifying, which is something we’ve never really seen in movies before and would look great in the chase!

“You have to be adaptable and versatile as you never know what bike you’ll have to ride next. So you’ll need to keep yourself in as high a level as possible in stunt riding, road racing, motocross, enduro, trials etc. You’d be brought into a movie for a specific skill and expertise so you’ll need to express your opinions on what works and what doesn’t but you must also be adaptable, work through problems and ultimately make the director’s vision come to life and make action sequences as good as they can be.”

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Andy Davidson

By Andy Davidson

Former MCN Feature writer