James Gunn Takes to Twitter to Address Fan Questions About Stunt Work In Film

James Gunnn

The Suicide Squad is out on Blu-Ray today, with director James Gunn marking the occasion by posting an image of Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher facing off against her stunt double Katie Eischen. This sparked off a lively and wide-ranging discussion about stuntwork in movies, with Gunn having an interesting perspective due to his career encompassing both zero-budget Troma movies and billion-dollar grossing blockbusters.

Gunn was asked many questions about actors performing their own stunts. The undisputed master of this is Jackie Chan, who put himself through multiple death-defying feats in the ’80s and ’90s. However, more recently it’s become a badge of honor for Hollywood A-listers, with Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves being praised for putting themselves in dangerous situations.

Gunn says he’s usually fine with actors doing stuntwork, so long as it’s not too risky:

I don’t know of an American actor who does ALL their own stunts. Some actors are good at some stunts &, if it’s not dangerous (meaning there’s no chance they’re going to break a leg & shut down production), & they really want to, then I’m ok with it.

He went on to specifically talk about working with Dave Bautista, who has a lot of physical performance experience from his years as a pro-wrestler. He’s so adept at fight choreography that he doesn’t need a stand-in (and anyway, “no one in the world has the same build as that giant”), but that there are limits. Gunn emphasizes that “stunt work is a different set of skills than wrestling. People need to appreciate this” and that though it does teach wrestlers how to fall safely, “they don’t teach them to fall from 100 feet+.”

Later in the discussion, Gunn underlined that stunt work and acting are separate skills and stunt performers deserve more recognition:

I’m uncomfortable with all of these questions about which actor did what stunts. NO actor can do stunts like a great stunt person. We should acknowledge all the great work our stunt community does. Too many actors try to steal that thunder from them to begin with.

There was also a flash of annoyance to a reply from someone saying they didn’t care about stuntmen, only about “the person on the screen” receiving a curt “Great. I’ll block you so you don’t have to hear it” from Gunn.

Next up from Gunn is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is set to begin shooting imminently and will hit theaters on May 5, 2023.