The cast and crew of The Fall Guy were in London yesterday promoting The Fall Guy which opens next Friday. And that also includes Ben Jenkin, Chris O’Hara, and Logan Holladay, all of them stunt performers who worked on the movie. 

Ben Jenkin, Chris O'Hara and Logan Holladay attend a special screening of "The Fall Guy" at BFI IMAX Waterloo on April 22, 2024 in London, England


The Fall Guy is a love letter to the stunt teams who elevate the action sequences in film. As Sarah has written many times, they are underappreciated in the industry and by the public, and there is a push to have a new category added at the Oscars that recognises their talents, just like there recently was with casting directors. David Leitch, as a former stunt performer himself, is one of the people lobbying for the inclusion. 


Honouring stunt performers and their contributions throughout his career has been a talking point for Ryan on this press tour. And it’s also why he’s so happy to do press, just as it was with Barbie. There was a point in Ryan’s career where, well, this wasn’t his favourite part of being an actor. It still isn’t his favourite, probably, but there’s been a different kind of energy in the way he’s gone about promotion over the last few years and I wonder if it’s because he’s found a way to not make it about himself. 


On the Barbie press tour, he was in service to the women’s story. He was “and Ken” – and that’s why he as Ken was/is so popular. This is instinctual but it’s also strategic, to understand who Ken is in the story, and lean into that during the marketing. Barbie hype has naturally funnelled into The Fall Guy, and now Ryan’s found a new purpose: to highlight the invaluable and often unsung impact that stunt performers bring to a production. It’s their job to be subtle, so he’s the one who’s loud about it. 

Stunt performing and stunt appreciation is the whole point of Ryan and David’s joint interview in Men’s Health that just dropped yesterday. First, though, a word on the photo shoot because, you know, you think Men’s Health and I heard about it before I looked at it, and based on what previous Men’s Health cover shoots have looked like, your mind goes to… well… something more like this, right? 


LOL, that is not what Ryan and David are giving. 

I’m not complaining, I’m just telling you what went through my mind. 


Anyway, the interview, as mentioned, is all about coming up with a story for this movie that pays tribute to stunt work. Not just the physicality of it though but also the mental health of the stunt performers. There’s a really interesting section of this Men’s Health interview where Ryan and David talk about the “thumb’s up”. That’s the stuntperson’s sign after they’ve done their stunt to signal that they’re OK. So it’s coded into their jobs to always be OK after doing some crazy ass sh-t to their bodies. Oftentimes they are NOT actually all that OK – but being OK is such a part of their professional identity that it bleeds into their personal identity. And there hasn’t been much space, historically, to talk about not being OK. Which of course mirrors what society expects of men, how men across so many cultures are not encouraged to talk about how they FEEL, how they really feel. In its portrait of the stunt performer’s experience, The Fall Guy attempts to introduce that conversation, and this is where it intersects with Barbie because isn’t that also a version of what we were getting with Ken? Dismantling expectations on masculinity and sensitivity? Interrogating the effects of misogyny not only on women but on men and how it also limits men from accessing a full range of emotional and aspirational opportunities? This seems to be where Ryan Gosling is grounding his work in his last two roles. 


There’s one more takeaway from the interview that will stay with me: what they say about actors who claim to do their own stunts, HAHAHAHAHA. They’re not super shady about this… but the shade is definitely there. And now I want to know who. Who’s the running, jumping, tumbling, rolling, crashing, driving, flying, riding actor who comes to mind first? 

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