7 of Your Favorite TV Stars Who Performed Their Own Insane Stunts
Some of your favorite TV shows involve some pretty impressive stunts, but you probably don’t often think about who performs them. As much as we’re all completely absorbed in the drama of our favorite action-packed TV shows — hello, The Vampire Diaries — we’re not really expecting all of our favorite stars to all be sword-wielding, bad-ass AF action heroes IRL.
For the most part, TV actors tend to keep their stunt-work light — maybe a little fake punch here or a fall during a fight scene there — but some actors laugh in the face of danger. Why hire a stunt man when they’ve got it covered? These incredibly brave (and not to mention way more bad-ass than we’ll ever be) TV stars perform their own stunts:
1. Nina Dobrev — Nina may have gotten her start as an innocent teen attending Degrassi High, but the former gymnast has some serious action-hero chops. On The Vampire Diaries, Nina handled her own stunts, which often involved working with knives and crossbows, as well as performing back flips and body throws galore.
According to her co-star, Michael Malarkey (Enzo), Nina, who recently departed from the series, didn’t listen when she was supposed to use a stunt double. Instead, she just went for it. “One time we were filming ‘Man on Fire,’ [an episode on] Season 5, and we have a kind of fight scene. Nina whispered in my ear right before the take, ‘Actually throw me,'” he said. Dayum, girl.
2. Ian Somerhalder — Much like his TVD co-star/ex-girlfriend, Nina, Ian does 90% of his own stunts on the CW series. Ian’s co-star, Nathaniel Buzolic (Kol), admits to almost killing the actor during a stunt gone wrong, though, he won’t admit what exactly happened. “We were in a fight scene, and something didn’t work. For a few minutes, I thought, my career will end here,” he explained. If that’s not fierce enough, check out Ian being thrown through a glass door:
3. Marie Avgeropoulos — Marie did all of her own wild, parkour-based stunts in the film Tracers, but the star’s affinity for doing her own stunts didn’t stopped there. Her role as Octavia on the CW series The 100 takes her stunt work to an all-new level.
Octavia, once a docile member of the Sky People, takes on a new life as one of the Grounders, who are characterized throughout the show by their violent fighting style. Marie’s role as a rebel involves some intense combat that includes flips, falls and knife throwing. “I’m proud to say I do all my own stunts and it’s so fun for me to that. It’s amazing,” she explained. “I’ve always been a tomboy my whole life and an athlete. It’s really exciting to exercise those skills and make them come to life at work. The fans love that side of Octavia too, so it’s fun to play that out.”
4. Paris Berelc — It’s pretty unusual for Disney to allow its young stars to perform any stunts, but for Paris, the network made an exception. Paris makes flipping in mid-air look easy — but let’s not forget, she’s a trained gymnast with some seriously honed-in skills. After spending 9 years competing in gymnastics, her fight scenes for Disney XD’s Mighty Med are just business as usual.
5. Leo Howard — Much like Paris Berelc, Disney made an exception for Leo, star of Disney XD’s Kickin’ It. The budding stuntman, who’s performed with a martial arts and gymnastics group since he was 7 years old, isn’t a beginner when it comes to your average fight scene. When asked about whether he gets to put his martial arts skills to the test in his role, he explained, “That’s one of my favorite things about Kickin’ It; I get to do all of my own stunts!”
6. Stephen Amell — The hunky star of the CW series Arrow isn’t just nice to look at; Stephen Amell is seriously talented when it comes to doing his own stunts. The show’s executive producer, Greg Berlanti, admitted that Stephen does a quarter of his own stunts on the show. That might not seem like a lot compared to other actors, but the pure athletic quality of his work is insanely impressive. Remember that intense ladder scene from the pilot episode? That was all Stephen! No wonder his abs are literal perfection.
7. Jared Padalecki — While Jared and his Supernatural co-star, Jensen Ackles, leave the most difficult stunts to professional stuntmen, they still perform a variety of the less-dangerous (but still terrifying) stunts themselves. Jared reminisced about his most terrifying scene, jumping through a stained glass window (of which he’s done multiple times on the show). “That was a new sensation for me, and having to kind of run and jump through a plate glass or fake plate glass window and then reach for free-fall for that second where you’re weightless, I know that freaked me out. There was definitely a change of wardrobe after take one,” he said.