Whenever a character in an action movie pulls off an incredible stunt, you can’t help but wonder whether or not there was a stunt double behind it. While this is the case many times, there are certain actors who insist on doing their own stunts. Whether it’s for the adrenaline rush or simply the chance to make the character more authentic, these actors don’t mind putting themselves in risky situations.
Many of the actors on this list are equipped with training in martial arts, gymnastics, and hand-to-hand combat. On top of that, they have the guts it takes to pull off these crazy action sequences.
Here are 12 famous actors who perform a majority — if not all — of their own stunts.
Since the beginning of his career, Jason Statham has been involved in his own stunts. Because of this, he’s become one of Hollywood’s most reliable action stars. In the 2006 action movie Crank, his range of ability is on full display. In one scene he races a motorcycle on the busy streets of Los Angeles, while in another, he fights a bad guy hanging out of a helicopter 3,000 feet above the ground. “It’s a weird thing,” Statham told the Los Angeles Times, “People ask, ‘Did you have to train?' How do you train for hanging out of a helicopter? You just go and do it."
Charlize Theron in The Old Guard
Charlize Theron has built her career on a series of memorable roles in action movies, proving she’s a bonafide badass. From Mad Max: Fury Road to Atomic Blonde, Theron knows how to throw a punch. While filming Netflix’s The Old Guard, Theron was so dedicated to her action sequences that she suffered multiple injuries. After production wrapped, she had three surgeries on her left arm. Danny Hernandez, the movie’s fight coordinator, revealed to Insider that Theron is “up there with Keanu Reeves” in terms of dedication to stunts.
Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Whether he’s the leading man in an indie drama or the villain of a blockbuster franchise, Adam Driver takes his roles seriously. As the brooding Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Driver put in the work and pulled off all his own stunts. Every single one. In an interview with Fansided, The Rise of Skywalker stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart described Driver as being “as good as any stuntman.” In fact, his stunt double never even put on Kylo Ren’s costume!
There’s no denying that Jackie Chan is a stunt legend. In addition to being an actor, Chan is just as well known for his martial arts and action choreography. Not only does he perform his own stunts, but he frequently designs them as well. This was the case with the 1998 film Rush Hour, which was so popular it inspired two sequels. The list of Chan’s intrepid stunts spans decades of work. When it comes to sliding down the side of a skyscraper or roller skating under speeding trucks, there really is only one man for the job: Jackie Chan.
Keanu Reeves in the John Wick Trilogy
When promoting John Wick: Chapter 3 on Today, Keanu Reeves revealed that he was responsible for 90 percent of the action on screen. That’s a pretty high percentage, considering the heavy-hitting stunts throughout the John Wick franchise. Behind his commitment to performing his own stunts is a desire for authentic action on the movie screen. "I'm maintaining the connection to the audience, and with the story,” Reeves explained. “If it's wacky/crazy stuff, you're just like, 'Oh my god, what did I just see?’”
Daniel Craig in the James Bond Movies
When Daniel Craig steps into the role of 007, he commits all the way. So much so, that it’s caused him to lose teeth and even the tip of his finger. Craig has sustained multiple injuries on set following the occasional stunt mishap. But he always keeps on going. "He gets his hands very dirty," Gary Powell, chief stunt coordinator for Bond films Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale, told the Guardian in 2008 “Daniel puts the work in, even if it's something he's not keen on.”
Tom Holland in the Spider-Man Series
Tom Holland may be young, but that doesn’t stop him from doing most of his own stunts as Spider-Man. The British actor still has a stunt double for safety reasons, just in case the situation is too precarious. In regards to Spider-Man: Far From Home: “I did as many as I could, but there are some things legally that I couldn’t do,” Holland told Comicbook.com. For the most part, however, Holland’s background as a gymnast allowed him to complete a majority of his action-packed stunts.
Christian Bale in Batman Begins
When Christian Bale takes on a movie role, he fully embodies the character in every way. He’s undergone drastic transformations by becoming very thin, gaining weight, and packing on muscle. In Batman Begins, Bale was in excellent physical shape as the Caped Crusader. Because of this, he was able to perform 16 different fight sequences. While there were a few moments in car chase scenes that were done by a double, most of the stunts were pulled off by Bale himself.
Kristen Stewart in Charlie’s Angels
Kristen Stewart got acquainted with stunt work in Twilight: Breaking Dawn, after her character Bella is transformed into a super-powered vampire. But it wasn’t until Charlie’s Angels that Stewart got her chance to shine in an action movie. According to CinemaBlend, director Elizabeth Banks stated that Stewart did a lot of her own stunts, and underwent extensive training for both fighting and driving. “She is a legit action heroine,” said Banks. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones Series
The man behind the hat and the whip is the real deal. Harrison Ford performed nearly every stunt in the Indiana Jones movies — even the ones deemed too dangerous by the crew. Ford was so invested in performing his own stunts that at one point, his stunt double had to step in. Speaking with Shortlist, stuntman Vic Armstrong recalled that he told Ford to let him do some of the work or else he “wouldn’t get paid.” While that wasn’t really the case, it finally made Ford take a break for a few scenes.
Angelina Jolie allegedly does nearly all of her own stunts, according to stunt coordinator and frequent collaborator Simon Crane. In 2010, she played the role of an FBI agent on the run in Salt, which required her to train in Muay Thai and Krav Maga. “She’s absolutely fearless when it comes to high places,” Crane told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s a fantastic asset to have. You can use her confidence with heights to put her in all kinds of dicey situations and know that she’s going to be convincing pulling it off.”
Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible Series
It wouldn’t be a list of actors who perform their own stunts without Tom Cruise. Over the course of his lengthy career, Cruise has pulled off some of the most insane stunts in movie history. The Mission: Impossible movies reveal Cruise’s penchant for adrenaline. From motorcycle chases to underwater diving to precariously clutching the wing of a moving airplane, Cruise has done nearly everything. Even in his 50s, the actor continues to challenge himself in the stunt department. He tackled his seventh Mission Impossible movie with no signs of slowing down.