King’s Lynn stuntman calls for movie industry to reward stunt actors’ work
A stuntman, originally from Lynn, who has worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters is calling on awards bodies to give stunt actors more recognition.
Ben Wright, who doubles for actor Chris Pratt in the next Jurassic World film, says awards like the Oscars and the BAFTAs should give the stunt industry the same acknowledgement it gives make-up artists, costume designers and sound design.
Ben, a former Springwood High School student, said a huge amount of work is put into blockbusters by those in the stunt industry.
“There is more of a creative process in stunt work than people see,” he said.
“We design and rehearse to the nth degree to make the stunt viable. You don’t just get up and give it a go. Of course there is an element of danger but it is a calculated risk.”
Ben, who has been performing since 2000, added: “We are one of the only departments that doesn’t get recognised, which doesn’t make sense. Why not us?”
Ben said he believed there was an “old-fashioned mindset” when it comes to what people think of stunt performers.
“Almost a preconception we just turn up to do the action that is too dangerous for the actors,” he said.
“In fact, there is a whole process of action design to make the action sequence happen. This also includes training the actors for their part in the action or fight sequence.
“The stunt coordinator will break down the script and highlight the action, turning written words of the script into action sequences.
“Sometimes what the team puts together and the way it’s filmed is actually how they use it in the film shot-for-shot, same camera angles and creative ideas.”
Ben’s stunt work has seen him double for a host of big names, including Armie Hammer in the Man from U.N.C.L.E, Chris Evans in Captain America and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World.
In order to keep his body in top condition for two or three films a year, he has enlisted the vital help of osteopath Stephen Makinde at his Perfect Balance Clinic, in London.
He said: “Stephen is part of the team a bit like a racing car team, he is the mechanic that fixes any issues I have so I can continue to perform at my best.
“He was the first one that understood what I had to deal with. Stephen sometimes has to help me rehabilitate old injuries while managing new ones.”
He believes many people think stuntmen are just “risk takers”, but he says “nothing could be further from the truth”.
“It is great when you get to do things out of your comfort zone. For example, I got to dive over a submarine into the River Mersey on Captain America.
“But I believe in the creative process we go through to achieve that kind of shot – getting away from the idea of just smashing yourself up and getting on with it.
It is due to this creativity that the stunt industry should be recognised in the same regard as other departments, he says.
“We are all part of the same team that gets the movie made. Personally, it is not about winning the award but about seeing the stunt industry getting the recognition it deserves.