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Pros And Cons Of Being A Stuntwoman

As a stuntwoman, have you had issues with sexism? Yeah, not a major issue, but it’s an issue in certain circumstances. I’ve declined a few jobs and walked off a few jobs where things have been going on that I didn’t like. And men doubling women. It’s not good stuff and it’s just based on the old ideas. AA: There’s still a subtle sexual preference. For example, if a woman goes in and rehearses something and gets it wrong on the first rehearsal, you’ll get a lot of stunt coordinators–if it’s a vehicle or something–they’ll say, “Do you want to step out and let one of the guys do it?

Whereas the same action, with a guy driving or riding the bike, they’ll be allowed to fail several times before anyone will ever think about replacing them. JC: I’ve had it where the men have a rehearsal day and then they call me to come in, and I don’t get the rehearsal day, but there’s someone who can do it in the event that I can’t pull it off. It’s a man, and he’s had a rehearsal day. AA: We have a very funny picture on the wall from Charlie’s Angels where Jen is doubling for Cameron Diaz in one of the racing cars.

The shop called for the bad guy to take off in a racecar around the circuit, and Cameron jumps in the car and takes off. Jen doubled for Cameron in the racecar. These cars were custom-built for the movie. They were sort of tricky to drive and very powerful and fast. The first time Jen took off after it, the car had a bit of a fuel surge, and it didn’t take off as aggressively as it should have. So we set it up to shoot it again, and the director–it was his first film as a director–came over, and I told him about the car issues.

He asked who was driving it, and he wondered if I wanted to put a guy in to drive it. And in the picture we have on the wall, it’s me leaning in to Jen, and I remember very clearly what I was saying to Jen at the time since it was “take two. ” I am saying to her, “When you pull away this time, absolutely wring its neck. ” And I told her what the director had said. And I told her, “This one is not just for you. It’s for stuntwomen everywhere. ” And it’s funny because when she took off next time, she left two black strips of rubber burning all the way down the raceway.

The same director was jumping up and down and really happy and over the moon with the performance. He’d forgotten completely that five minutes before he suggested replacing the woman with a man. Even though he didn’t know the woman or anything else, he just assumed that the man would make the car go faster. That is something! It’s like they set the woman up to fail. AA: Oh, they do with a lot of stunts. I don’t think it’s done maliciously; it’s done subconsciously. I have never worked out if they are threatened by the woman or if they just don’t feel the woman is as high-achieving.

It really bothers me that people still feel that they can tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t do. I sure don’t want them telling my daughter what she can and cannot do. JC: Growing up in my family, we didn’t have a choice about musical instruments. It wasn’t whether we were going to play a musical instrument; it was what musical instrument we were going to learn. And I wanted to play the drums. Basically they said, “No, you can’t play the drums. We’d really like for you to play the French Horn. ” For the first time in my life, I had to stand up and say, “You know what?

If I don’t get to play the drums, I’m not playing an instrument. ” I got to play the drums, and I actually put myself through college playing the drums. I got a scholarship, and I played in the band for four years. So an interesting thing. This was a time when young girls weren’t supposed to take an interest in drumming. There was another girl who did percussion with me–she was more into the marimba and more musical stuff like that. And I was more the drumset, snare, and all that. It was kind of blazing a little bit of a path. Obviously men were always able to play the drums.

Now you see a lot more little girls playing the drums. AA: You see women doing all sorts of stuff now. The woman that helps me with my book publishing stuff, she is studying welding. I think it’s kind of interesting. There are some other women in the class. She is studying all different kinds of welding. It’s cool that she’s doing it, and it’s cool that other women are doing it as well. It’s gradually opening up in all those sectors. I’m always fascinated with women pilots. I think it’s great that Israel has some women fighter pilots.

For years, they said they didn’t want women in the front lines because they’re going to be tortured and all sorts of stuff is going to be done to them. When you’re fighting where the enemy is chopping everyone’s head off and burning them to death, what difference does it make what sex you are? You know, in these action movies, invariably the hero will be in a leather jacket and pants or jeans. The woman will be in mini skirt and high heels. When the action sequence comes, they will both have to fall down the flights of stairs.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who is the toughest of those two. I’ve done some stunts with some amazing stuntwomen, and they have had to wear these mini skirts, bare arms, and heels. JC: I was in Fear the Walking Dead recently. I was a correctional officer. I had long sleeves and long pants. The outfit was a bit big ’cause they’re made for a man. I put every single pad on whether I needed it or not. Very few times have I gotten to wear that kind of outfit when doing a stunt. AA: A lot of stuntwomen do very tough stunts wearing almost nothing.

Years ago I did Universal Soldier, and the chase at the end, I was driving the big truck. The stunt girl who was doubling the actress literally had a mini skirt on, bare legs, bare arms and at one time had to get kicked out of a speeding bus into a load of desert cactus with me chasing her along behind in a huge semi truck. Donna Evans was the stunt girl. She did it brilliantly and landing in that cactus gives a whole other meaning to the word tough. You’ll see these women getting knocked over by a car while wearing a tank top.

They can’t hide any pads for protection. Often a lot of what they do is tougher than what the guys do. I could listen to the stories you both have told me for hours. This has been such a great chat, and I want to thank you for taking the time, and sharing your perspectives with me. AA: Our pleasure. Thank you, Ruth, for taking the time. JC: We will make it a point to see you and your daughter at the festival. with Iran’s only Stuntwoman Mahsa Ahmadi with DITR Award and Jen Caputo For me, this was such an engaging interview.

Andy and Jen were both so gracious, and I could sense the passion that both of these exceptional artists have. And yes, I do consider them artists because anyone who can get up in a movie and do the mind-blowing stunts they both have done countless times in their career–heck, that’s art! Andy is one of those enchanting people who is not easy to forget (I still remember so much of what he said last year on the panel even to this day), and Jen is such an affable and warm woman who chooses to focus on the positives of her career without dwelling on some of the more negative aspects.

Together, these two are an indomitable team, and they are quick to support each other and always have each other’s backs. Andy is one of the few men of his generation (and practically any generation) who genuinely believes in promoting women and diversity in film as well as life in general, and it overwhelms me to meet a man who is probably more of a feminist than the majority of women I know. Jen is one whose actions speak louder than her words, but no doubt the stories she could tell…. I invite everyone to check out all the links below for both Andy and Jen.

I can think of a handful of “power couples” in the acting world, but here is the stunt world’s POWER COUPLE who probably are more of a force in the stunt industry than a whole room of some of the purported power couples in the acting universe (you know the ones I mean–the ones who are often in the tabloids and are the subjects of the rumor mills). I am looking forward to officially meeting them in just a matter of weeks, and what I have learned from both of them has shaped and even changed my perspective forever!

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