How many times have you heard an actor in an interview boast that he does his own stunts? How many times have you actually believed it? It doesn’t take an advanced understanding of the ins and outs of Hollywood to realize that stunt actors play a crucial role in the execution of today’s intense action scenes and sequences.
However, these figures often don’t receive the focus they deserve. We welcome guests Jeff Wolfe, a noted mixed martial arts expert who wears several hats in the stunt world for film and television and Julie Michaels, an actress and stunt woman who coordinates action sequences and stunts on the show “Southland” with her husband, Peewee Piemonte. In fact, they are the first husband and wife team to receive an Emmy for their work in stunt coordination on the show.
Wolfe has served as a body double to actors like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and has acted in action scenes opposite Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling in “The Green Lantern” and “Drive” respectively. Beyond just performing himself, he has also been called upon my directors to choreograph action sequences for television and film. In fact, the only Emmy the show “CSI: Miami” has ever received was for the action sequence he directed in the opening of one of its episodes.
Julie Michaels started as an actress in “Roadhouse” playing the blonde bombshell opposite Patrick Swayze. Then, she went on to be dubbed “The babe who nuked Keanu” by the New York Times for her fight scene with Reeves in “Point Break.” Wolfe and Michaels will walk us through their two careers doing stunts in Hollywood, as well as provide an insight to the craft on the whole.
How does one rise through the ranks from a body double to choreographing acting scenes? What skills do stunt actors draw upon, and how do they stay sharp? What changes could be made in Hollywood so that action actors get to share more of the spotlight with their dramatic counterparts?
Julie Michaels, actor and stunt woman, works on the television show “Southland” as a stunt coordinator
Jeff Wolfe, action actor, body double, stunt performer and stunt coordinator for movies such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “Drive,” “The Green Lantern,” and the television shows “NCIS” and “CSI: Miami”; has twenty years experience in mixed martial arts.