Michelle Rodriguez loves getting in on the action when it comes doing some stunts. She’s also one of the biggest proponents for actual stuntpeople that you’ll find in the industry.
Take Rodriguez’s experiences on the Fast and Furious series.
“My life is never put on the line,” Rodriguez tells us while promoting her documentary Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story (watch above). “When I’m on top of the rig in Fast 4 [2009’s Fast & Furious], I’m going 20 miles an hour. When [my stuntwoman] Heidi Moneymaker’s on top of the rig in Fast 4, she’s going 40 miles an hour and doing backflips.”
Same for Rodriguez’s fisticuffs with MMA star-turned-wrestler Ronda Rousey in Furious 7 (2015), which was captured with stuntwork by sisters Heidi and Renae Moneymaker.
“I got my head slammed against the wall multiple times, I got two golfball-sized wounds on my forehead, but that’s nothing to Heidi Moneymaker, who gets thrown up into the air, crashed up against a bunch of stuff and then has to fly over a ledge and do a high fall. In a dress and with heels!”
It’s no wonder Rodriguez’s latest project, the April Wright-directed Stuntwomen — which the actress narrates and executive produces — is an ode to the women in the film and television business constantly putting their lives on the line to stand-in for A-list stars, with little glory.
Similar to how the Oscar-winning doc Twenty Feet to Stardom put backup singers in the spotlight, Stuntwomen brings to the forefront “invisible” legends like Jeannie Epper, who stunt-doubled for Lynda Carter on TV’s Wonder Woman, got her head cracked open fighting Pam Grier on Foxy Brown and worked on stunts well into her 70s, last seen in 2015’s Hot Pursuit.
The film also shines a spotlight on the adversity these women face in a male-dominated industry, continually facing doubts about their abilities as they land kicks, take punches, twirl in spaces and feel the heat of explosions. Even today, men will sometimes get “wigged” to play women when certain stunts are deemed too dangerous.
“I’m just intrigued [by] the perspective of the females in the industry who do action stunts, I think they need to be celebrated a little bit,” Rodriguez says. “I’ve always loved stuntpeople. I’ve always respected them, I’ve gone to their award shows, I always let everybody know who’s doing my stunts because I don’t think they get enough love for risking their lives to entertain us.”
Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story is now streaming on all major digital platforms.
Watch the trailer:
— Video produced by Gisselle Bances
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