• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

May 1, 2013

Risky Business

Share

Photo Credit: TrujilloPaumier

Special Offer

SAMANTHA MACIVOR, 37: The Stuntwoman
New York City

Time on the job: Nine years

Why she loves it: "The set feels like home"

Philosophy: "If you don't feel fear, you're not alive"

"I usually work as a body double for actresses who have physical roles or who require dangerous action on-screen. My skills include stunt and precision driving; stair falls; squibs—mini explosives to make it look like you're getting shot; fighting; and ground pounding, meaning I'm willing to hit the ground hard!

According to my parents, I always had natural athleticism. And I was the kid who fell down and got right back up. I took dance lessons my whole life, and in 2003 I was cast as an extra in a rave scene on Third Watch. I was mesmerized by the stunt people. I started trying out their equipment, like an air ratchet, a contraption that lifts you off the ground. But I soon learned that many stunts don't use equipment. Jumping off cliffs is just that—jumping off cliffs!

It took a few months to get my first stunt job—a riot scene for HBO's The Wire where cops were dragging, punching, and kicking people. Now I work regularly. I've doubled for Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU, Edie Falco on both The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie, and for movie stars like Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson. In the movie Zombieland, I was yanked out of a car and dragged on my stomach with a high-powered winch system. When I'm not on a job, I train, which means yoga, combat and dance classes, plus gymnastics. I work enough to have a solid salary, but each job has a different budget. Usually I'll get extra if I have to do the stunt more than a few times.

I've never been seriously injured—just some cuts and scrapes and whiplash. But I've been on set where people have been severely burned in fire stunts, and one woman nearly died after a car-crash stunt. In this line of work, there's always a risk.

My scariest stunt was probably one I did for a TV pilot that never aired. The shot was a woman grabbing a child from an apartment that was on fire and then falling from a 10th-floor window. I was in a harness, dangling from a crane with a 4-foot-tall dummy in my lap, and had to plunge 75 feet while attached to a rope. I was free-falling for about 40 feet before the rope began to slow my descent. It was intense.

There have been times when I've thought, Is this safe? But the only time I say no is when I'm already booked. I trust the teams I work with, so I just do it." —As told to M.W.


Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One winner will receive year's supply of makeup products from Dior and a year's supply of hair products from Tresemmé as selected by the Sponsor. A total prize package of 485!

One winner will receive year's supply of makeup products from Dior and a year's supply of hair products from Tresemmé as selected by the Sponsor. A total prize package of 485!

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From News & Features
Women of Texas, Meet Women in the World

San Antonio hosts Gloria Steinem, DvF, Eva Longoria and more at the women’s issues summit.

Is This The Most Condescending Political Ad Ever?

Women are obsessed with marriage, so picking a political candidate is kind of like saying yes to the dress.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue