May 7, 2024
Melinda Head

The Fall Guy

A Fight for the Guys (and Gals) Who Fall (and More)

Taking its inspiration from the 1980’s TV show of the same name, “The Fall Guy” was released in North American theaters on Friday.

Back in the day, Lee Majors starred as a dark, handsome stuntman with a predictably beautiful blonde stuntwoman girlfriend, both of whom moonlighted as bounty hunters.

At the time, Lee Majors would have been considered a heart-throb. His life was not always rosy, though. His father was killed in a workplace accident prior to his birth and his mother died in a car accident when he was a toddler. As a student he suffered an athlete-ending football injury, eventually completing a degree in history and physical education. He took a Parks & Rec job, and attended acting school. His big break was co-starring in “The Big Valley” (1965-1969) and, from there, he landed a role as an ex-astronaut with bionic implants in “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1974-1978), which turned Majors into a pop icon almost overnight.

Majors married drop-dead-gorgeous Farrah Fawcett, who played private investigator Jill Munroe in the highly popular TV series “Charlie’s Angels” (1976-1981). After appearing in a red bathing suit (with protruding nipples) in Life Magazine in 1976, Fawcett went on to sell 12 million posters, becoming every teenage boy’s dream. She posed for Playboy magazine 2 years later and had the guts to do it again at age 50, setting record sales.

Fast forward to 2024, Ryan Gosling plays a stuntman in “The Fall Guy” movie, but he is not also a bounty hunter. His love-interest, played by Emily Blunt, is a novice film director. Beyond stunts, the movie has little in common with the original TV series.

Early reports say the Film’s opening weekend box office amounted to about $65 million worldwide – a far cry from Ryan’s most recent movie, “Barbie”, which brought in $356 million in its first 3 days; but, hey, that would be an unfair comparison.

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling (recently starred in “Barbie”) and British actor Emily Blunt (recently starred in “Oppenheimer”) play leading roles in “The Fall Guy”. Did you know that, in real life, Gosling suffers from ADHD and Blunt from a stutter – goes to show that anything is possible!

Interestingly, the Director of “The Fall Guy”, David Leitch has been in the stunt business for years, even starring as a double for Brad Pitt and Jean-Claude Van Damme once upon a time.

American Director David Leitch is a strong voice for the stunt industry

Leitch also wrote and starred in “Confessions of an Action Star” (2009), a spoof about the action film industry.

He is co-founder of 87Eleven, a Company that provides stunt equipment and facilities rentals, and stunt training services. He is a strong voice behind the growing movement to establish an Oscar that recognizes stunt performances.

What’s taking so long? It is likely that part of the controversy stems from Hollywood’s reluctance to admit that top actors do not always perform the feats seen by audiences.

“Without the stunter, there’s no Award.” (Angelica Lisk-Hann, Stunt Performer)

“People have given their lives to this (stunt) industry to make movies compelling.” (David Leitch, Director)

“When you’re not invited to the party (the Oscars), that always hurts a little bit.” (Lauro Chartrand-Del Valle, Stunt Performer)

“Isn’t it amazing that an actor who plays a stuntman can win an Oscar? But yet being a stuntman, you can’t win an Oscar?” (Jack Gill, Stunt Co-Ordinator and 2nd Unit Director)

“(The Fall Guy) is a great representation of what a stunt person actually has to put up with and what they go through. I think a lot of the academy members that vote on whether we get an Oscar category are still a little bit in the dark about what we do. I don’t think they realize that most of the action is designed by us. It’s not designed by the writer or the director.” (Jack Gill)

Ryan Gosling recently said that “The Fall Guy is just a giant campaign to get stunts an Oscar”. If this is all “The Fall Guy” achieves, it is a movie well done.

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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