Jackie Chan, Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig are all well-known action movie heroes who love to perform their own stunts, and now rising star Andy Gatenby is undergoing training to add his name to that list.
There’s a certain type of actor in Hollywood that prolifically lands roles in action films, and there’s a reason why.
Since the very beginning of his career, British actor Jason Statham has consistently been involved in his own stunts; because of this, he has become one of Hollywood’s most reliable and sought-after action stars.
Jackie Chan will often be the first person that springs to mind when you think of these kinds of actors, as he has been responsible for his own daring stunts for decades – and has the scars to prove it!
But it’s not just the men who are capable of being daredevils on set, the women are leading the way too. Kristen Stewart in ‘Charlie’s Angels’ underwent extensive training to be able to perform most of her character’s moves, and Charlize Theron was so enthused to do every action scene that after filming finished on her new Netflix film ‘The old Guard’, she required corrective surgery on her left arm.
Youngster Tom Holland performed a lot of his own moves in the Spider-Man series, however his background as a gymnast gave him a huge advantage in this regard; as does Statham’s martial arts upbringing and experience as an athlete competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
As a former professional boxer, Andy Gatenby also has the attributes and experience required, and aspires to join this elite list of inspiring actors, so much so that he has been undergoing stunt training himself.
He explained further, “I’ve been chatting to owner Mark Johnson for a while at Movieworks International and they’ve got their own stunt team. So, I went there to see them all in Oxford last weekend and it was really good fun! I was getting thrown about, fighting, falling… and it’s actually a really good workout.”
Some actors, like Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones series, become so enthused about performing their own stunts that their stunt doubles almost ended up out of a job.
“I’ve got no ambition to become a stuntman though,” insisted Andy. “But I want to be in a position to be a good fighter on-screen, because my vision is to be in lead roles.
“To do that, I believe you’ve got to have all these additional skillsets. If you look at Jason Statham and Tom Hardy, they get those action roles all the time and they look good doing it. You look at them and can see they are good at acting and fighting. There are too many times where people are fighting on screen and they don’t manage to make it look believable.”
A stuntman or stuntwoman is a trained professional in a role that carries potential risks to their health. Because of this, they are trained experts in a variety of different disciplines with years of experience in their field.
“A lot of it is safety orientated,” Gatenby revealed. “With on-screen combat, you should never be hurt, so it’s all about safety. On film, it looks like you’re getting hit but there’s always an eight-inch gap. It’s easy to adapt to that safety rule for me, as an ex-pro boxer.”
Now 34, the ex-athlete from Portsmouth was active between 2013 and 2014, winning all six of his professional boxing fights, but was forced to retire early through injury.
He continued, “In boxing, you have to find your range, so it’s the same thing here; you find your range, then step back and you can really go hard; you can throw your shots with intent to make it look real and just really go for it.
“I’m a good fighter and a good actor, and now I’m merging those skills together, so I can do both. I have previously completed screen combat courses before with the British Academy, but moving forward, it’s now going to be an ongoing discipline, so I’ll be training with them every couple of weeks in Oxford.”
His last acting role was alongside award-winning actor Billy Murray in ‘Nemesis’, a gangland thriller movie with an all-British cast.
“My last film was Nemesis, released last month, and so far I’ve had really good feedback from everybody.
“I feel the roles I’m landing are gradually getting bigger, so everything is moving in the right direction for me.
“For me, the stunt training is just about adding an extra string to the bow. Any film or TV show I’m attached to, I can step up and help choreograph the fight scenes, which means I can bring more production value to the film. If you get someone who can act and fight, it makes it more real, honest and believable on-screen, and I want to be a leading role in action/crime genre.”
The father of two concluded, “I always tell people that my core values are loyalty and integrity – I always do what I say I’m going to do. I’m attending stunt training and acting workshops regularly, and that’s me making it happen, so that I’m hitting every avenue.”
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Official Website: https://www.andygatenby.co.uk/