By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Other than that—Quentin. I was on the set of [Django Unchained] the other year, just for a couple of days. And it was like walking into a family reunion. I literally breathed a bit easier when I was in costume and on set.
What was doubling Sharon Stone on Catwoman like?
I was happier than a pig in shit. We got along very well. It was the first time I worked with someone who had a taste of diva status. It felt like I was working with a real movie star. I didn't see her be nasty or cruel to anyone, but she carried weight walking around places. And I was very aware of that. I was very fortunate in that she dug me as much as she did. [Laughs.]
At the end of Double Dare, you say that you've grown more comfortable working in Hollywood. But after making Death Proof, you've said that you think of yourself as a stuntwoman who also does talky stuff, too. Has working in front of the camera as an actress who also does her own stunts behind-the-scenes become normal?
It's so funny, just hearing you say that, I thought, "Maybe I should never say anything on-record ever again." [Laughs.] Clearly, things change. Someone showed me a quote the other day in which I said, "I've become more comfortable with Hollywood, but I'll never feel at home." And I thought, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, but I've been living that for 10 years now!" And in the past two or three years, I feel more like an actress who does her own stunts than a stuntwoman who also does acting. It's a fundamental shift that happened that's comfortable now, but it took some shifting around in my skin to get here. Yeah, I'm enjoying acting now.
There's that bit in Death Proof where you, after beating up Stuntman Mike's car, have this big grin on your face. You looked really comfortable then!
That's a testament to being on a Tarantino set. But it's also having Quentin be both the director and the writer of my character as well; he knows me. I had no formal training or experience. All I knew was I had one conversation with Quentin in which I said, "I'm putting it all in your hands because I don't know what I'm doing." And he said, "I know you have what I need, and I know how to get it." So I said, "Great, do what you like."
But you can only go along like that for so long until you do the next acting role, and you're working with someone who is not such an actor's director, or just expects you to turn up and doesn't want to coach you through it. That was a really lucky and comfortable place for me to be. Because as reluctant as I was—because I was shitting my pants about facing the camera for the first time in my life—I can't imagine a more supportive place to do it.
Is stunt coordination the next big thing for you?
No. I love it, but I'm definitely more on the acting track. After Raze, I've got a couple more ideas I'd like to produce. I've always loved the collaborative side of filmmaking, and there's a lot of things I can do in the acting side of things in terms of the creating of action sequences and coming up with ways of doing things with a stunt coordinator. I've discovered that creating characters involves working with writers and directors on characters' backstories: who your character is, who she might end up being. And then the producing part of it is just creating stuff, and telling stories. It's hard work, and there's so many people out there trying to do the same thing that think it's just hanging out in a Jacuzzi, saying, "I'm going to create stuff! Watch me be a producer!" But I really enjoy the process.
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