‘The Fall Guy’ Has Three Stunts That Just Aren’t Done on Movie Sets Anymore


The Big Picture

  • “The Fall Guy” is a love letter to cinema and the stunt teams behind the scenes, celebrating the artistry of practical stunts and the blue-collar artisans that make movies happen.
  • The film stars Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stuntman who steps in as the stunt double for an up-and-coming action star, showcasing the chemistry between Gosling and Emily Blunt and delivering a fun, crowd-pleasing experience.
  • The movie features epic stunts that pay homage to old-school practical stunts, including a high fall, a cannon roll, and a car jump, all performed practically to celebrate the skill and artistry of stunt performers. Ryan Gosling’s commitment to performing these stunts adds an extra level of excitement to the film.

If there’s one legacy David Leitch bestows to the world, it’s his contribution to seriously gripping action onscreen, whether that be from performing stunt work or from behind the camera. (Hello, 10-minute single take in Atomic Blonde.) From kicking off the John Wick franchise with Chad Stahelski in his directorial debut to Deadpool 2, you can see his hand in the fast-paced sequences, and The Fall Guy is going to turn that up to 11. Adapted from the hit ‘80s series of the same title, Ryan Gosling stars as Hollywood stuntman, Colt Seavers, first made popular by Lee Majors, and Leitch says the film is a “love letter” to cinema and the stunt teams and crews behind the scenes.

In Leitch’s film, penned by Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’s Drew Pearce, Colt is a stuntman who finds himself out of work and down on his luck. Things start to look up for Colt, however, when his ex-girlfriend, Jody (played by Emily Blunt), hires him to step in as the stuntman for an up-and-coming action star. This diva happens to be a real jerk, but when he goes missing, Colt takes it upon himself to rescue the actor, thus saving Jody’s film, possibly their relationship, and proving once and for all he’s the greatest stuntman in Hollywood. Though it sounds like the movie’s jam-packed with action, Leitch isn’t sacrificing a character-driven narrative, especially considering the roster for this is spectacular. In addition to Gosling and Blunt, The Fall Guy stars Emmy-winner Hannah Waddingham, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Teresa Palmer, Winston Duke, Oscar-nominee Stephanie Hsu, and the one and only, Lee Majors.

In an exclusive interview with Collider’s Steve Weintraub, Leitch and producer and partner Kelly McCormick paint a pretty vivid picture of what we can expect. The duo explains why Gosling was the first actor they went to for the project (before the Barbie fame), perfecting epic stunts practically, Gosling performing said epic stunts himself, and intentions for a franchise. They break down why test screenings were overwhelmingly positive, filming meta stunts, locking down the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Gosling’s 15-foot-high stunt that may just put him on par with Tom Cruise. Check out all of this and more in the interview below.

COLLIDER: The trailer looks fantastic. I’ve got a ton of questions. Let’s start with how excited are you to have Ryan after Barbie?

KELLY MCCORMICK: Well, we were excited about him before that [laughs] because he really is the first actor we went to for this project. One of the reasons not only is because he’s like one of the best actors around and charismatic and amazing and whatever, but because he’s really somebody who I think you can connect with, and what we want is for the audience to be able to sort of see themselves in this character. Even though he’s chosen stunts, he’s on a path that’s really similar to a lot of people – working super hard and really good at what they do, and yet his job is that his face is not supposed to be seen. That’s the role of the stuntman, just as I think a lot of people feel about how they do all this work and are never seen. We wanted to make sure that there was that connectivity, and I think he’s one of those actors who has that in spades. Then Barbie is just an extra added bonus that we were not expecting.

DAVID LEITCH: Yes. So fortunate. Crazy.

MCCORMICK: And Oppenheimer because of Emily.

Image via Warner Bros. 

‘The Fall Guy’ Is Already Getting Positive Feedback

You obviously have test-screened the movie by now, so how did the test screenings do, and what did you learn from those screenings that possibly impacted the final film?

LEITCH: Well, it’s testing incredibly well, and it is a crowd-pleaser. I think people love the chemistry between Ryan and Emily and they love how fun the movie is. Look, like Kelly said, he’s like a blue-collar hero. It’s an underdog story of a guy who self-actualizes into this superhero, and he gets to take down the bad guys and potentially, hopefully, get the love of his life back. And so, as one of our cast members says, “If you didn’t enjoy this movie, you don’t have a soul.” [Laughs] It’s a really fun film that celebrates the below-the-line crews and, really, the blue-collar artisans that make the movies happen, and it’s a separation of movies and moviemaking.

MCCORMICK: Yeah, that’s one of the things we were worried about when we were going into testing. Were people gonna think it was too insider baseball and not sort of appreciate the world that they walked into? And the truth is they were actually really game for it. I think that has a lot to do with the way that David can create these worlds that are real but kind of curate it if that makes sense, and this is just a different backdrop to do that in. But they were really game for the experience, and that was really nice to see.

If anything, I mean, I guess the lesson for us was they wanted more and more of the relationship, character-building, and a little less action at times. So we calibrated it that way, interestingly, although there’s still a shit ton of action in it. They just kind of plotted more character, but yeah. But no, from moment “go” it tested incredibly well.

ryan gosling emily blunt the fall guy
Image via Universal Pictures

‘The Fall Guy’ Celebrates Old-School Stunts

One of the things that you get to do in this movie, which I think is really cool, is you’re filming a stunt for the movie in the movie; you’re filming a stunt filming a stunt, if that makes any sense. So what was that like?

LEITCH: Well, it was really fun to have that sort of meta thing happening. But what was great, what it really allowed us to do, was celebrate old-school practical stunts. You know, the movie inside the movie, the movie that Jody’s making, her epic sci-fi love story, allowed us to do any big stunt we wanted to do as part of that set piece, so we were like, “What can we do that celebrates old-school stunts? Let’s do an incredible car jump. Let’s build a trophy truck. Let’s try and break some records. Let’s do a cannon roll and see if we can’t top the last world record. Let’s do a high fall into an airbag and not use wires. Let’s go back and do old practical stunts.” And they become part of the DNA of the movie, and that was really fun that we could put any stunt we wanted in there. Then, you know, obviously, there’s the action being driven by the bad guy plot, and there’s all great visceral action on that side as well.

ryan gosling the fall guy david leitch
Image via Universal Pictures

For both of you, you guys have done a lot of cool stunts in your movies. What is the stunt in this movie that you are really excited for people to see?

MCCORMICK: I mean, there are three stunts that are basically not done on sets very much anymore if at all, the high fall being one – especially at the height that we did. What was great about Universal is they jumped on board with the notion of David’s dream, which was, “If we’re gonna do this movie, we have to do it practically. These can be done in CG, they are done in CG, but we want to make sure that we do them practically.” Partially because it feels different when you’re watching it, it really does, but also for the experience. And for the stunt people who joined us on this run, it was sort of like they come into stunts to pull off some of the biggest stunts in the world, that’s one of the reasons why they do what they do, and they’re kind of not able to do it as much anymore because of regulations and CG just getting so good. So Universal really came in and supported us and protected us in doing that. So one is the high fall, one is the cannon roll, and one is this the giant car that leaps over, like, the biggest crevasse that you’ve ever seen. I swear. Those are the three that are really epic for me personally. I don’t know, David, if you have others past that.

LEITCH: Totally. Those are the ones that we were like, “Okay, these are old-school things that we really want to get in the movie. How do we elevate them to the next level?” Then there’s also just like the logistics of Sydney; we locked down the Harbour Bridge, and we did a set piece on the Harbour Bridge in Sydney.

MCCORMICK: With Ryan doing it, by the way.

LEITCH: With Ryan and great, great stunt and effects rigs, so we actually have Ryan on the bridge being dragged behind a garbage truck hanging on with a shovel. You could do that on blue screen, which most movies would do, but not Fall Guy. We needed to do this for real, and we needed to do it practically to celebrate, again, the artistry of the stunt performers, and really just had to make it real.

Tom Cruise climbs the Burj Khalifa in 'Mission_ Impossible - Ghost Protocol' (2011) (1)
Image via Paramount Pictures

Ryan Gosling Is Coming for Tom Cruise’s Crown

I didn’t realize that Ryan was gonna be taking on Tom Cruise on Fall Guy.

MCCORMICK: I have to say Ryan is definitely a huge fan of his stunt team. [Laughs] He knows when to use them and when not to use them, but he is really athletic. There were a few things that he did that, I mean, there was a descender at the very beginning of the movie that he did himself, and it was such a huge dream for our rigging team to have an A-plus actor on literally a descender rigging system that, like, I don’t know, what was it, David? 15 stories high?


MCCORMICK: And I literally watched it, and I was, like, crying. [Laughs] I was like, “I can’t believe that Ryan Gosling is up there doing that.” And at one point, he swings over and is about ready to drop, and then he had to come back for some reason. I was like, “David, just tell him it’s okay! We still love him if he doesn’t want to do it.” Like, I could not believe he did it.

LEITCH: It was nothing to do with him not wanting to do it.

MCCORMICK: He was fixing his arm or something.

LEITCH: We had to readjust it.

MCCORMICK: Yeah, it was some technical issue, but I thought he was having jitters, and I was like, “Just tell him it’s okay. We still think he’s cool.” And David wasn’t watching his texts, and I was just like [gestures]. Anyway, it was really cool. And that he achieved it made him, I think, and the stunt team realize what movie we were making, that he was game to try these things with them, that he trusted them, that he would hand it over when he needed to, but he would try some things as well, and that was really fun.

ryan gosling the fall guy
Image via Universal Pictures

Are We Getting a ‘The Fall Guy’ Franchise?

With movies like this, how much is the studio asking you, “Can you make a sequel to this if this is a huge hit?” And how much is that in your brain while making it?

LEITCH: Kelly, maybe you can speak to this, but I think that when they entered into getting the collective of artists who are involved in this and the IP and the idea, they were hoping that, yeah, with success we would like to build a franchise. I think they go into that thinking that, but I think, as filmmakers, we had to just make sure that you deliver the first one and keep your eye on the ball in how we approach it. But I think they would hope yeah, of course. We want to make a bunch of these.

MCCORMICK: There’s definitely more stories to tell. That was one of the fun things about making a movie within a movie is that there are so many Easter eggs or fodder from all of our experiences on sets, and there are so many more that we can give because it really is sort of truth is stranger than fiction on those things, you know? So, there’s that opportunity, and then also, it’s a little bit evergreen where they can just join if some kind of mystery thriller is gonna be tethered to another set. You can kind of do that and continue to do that, which is an exciting opportunity for a franchise. But obviously, this one’s got to deliver. Hopefully, it does. We think it might.

You guys have obviously been on a lot of sets, and you’ve heard a lot of behind-the-scenes stories. Were there any real-life stories that bled into stunts or behind-the-scenes chatter in the movie itself?

MCCORMICK: There are a lot. David always says it’s a love letter to the stunts, it’s a love letter to cinema. It’s really a love letter to the crews who make film and love making movies and love going to movies, which at this time, after this year being so tough, is a really special celebration. It just happens to time well that way, as well, with what we’ve all gone through. But I think that grouping is gonna have a special relationship to just knowing those ones that are certainly things that people have experienced. But I also think the rest of the audience is gonna tiptoe in and kind of know the things that we’re making fun of, as well as get to experience some of the things that we get to experience while having set life.

Ryan Gosling in Drive
Image Via Le Pacte

‘The Fall Guy’ Soundtrack Will Be as Epic as Its Stunts

So you use Bon Jovi in the trailer, and I’m curious: how much did you debate what song would be in the trailer, and what can you tease about the music in the movie?

LEITCH: So the music was not a puzzle for me, but I think with the creative team, I think people are always questioning my thoughts of what I wanted to do with the music. I think there needed to be kind of an old-school swagger with the soundtrack for Colt and maybe the generation that he came up in and where he was from. So, actually, there’s a Kiss track in the movie that sort of drives the movie and is thematic throughout the film, and I’ll leave it at that. I mean, it’s a really great, rocking Kiss track that also was kind of a love song. We use it with our composer, Dominic Lewis. We use it, we deconstruct it, Yungblud does a cover, a ballad version, and it reprises. So yes, we used Bon Jovi in the trailer. For more structural purposes, it worked better for the vibe of that, but in the movie, there’s some same sensibilities in music. They’re fun. It’s fun.

Is it “Beth” or something else?

LEITCH: “I Was Made for Loving You.”

The Fall Guy is in theaters March 1, 2024. You can watch the first trailer now.


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