Chris Hemsworth Stunt Double Opens Up About The Brutal Injuries He’s Sustained On Set
He has doubled for characters like Thor, James Bond, Captain America and Batman… Bobby Holland Hanton said: “I snapped my groin off the bone on Thor: Ragnarok just doing a jumping flip kick to try and kick The Hulk in the gladiator scene.
“We did a rehearsal and he is obviously taller so I had a little bit of a wire assist and I was jumping up to kick him. The timing of my kick and the wire pull and me really trying to go for it, I hyper-extended and snapped a bit of my adductor longus [inner-thigh] and rectus abdominis [abs] off the bone, which took a little while to heal.
“I’ve had two back operations. I’ve had a double disc replacement in my L4 L5 levels and I’ve got six screws, three either side now, my spine stretched and my two facet joints removed, or parts of my facet joints removed.
“That was due to my L4 L5 discs being completely herniated and ruptured. They were basically non-existent. All the liquid had leaked out of both of them and I had a lot of sciatic trouble and they were nearly vertebrate on vertebrate. They were nearly gone.”
He added: “I popped my knee out, popped my shoulder out, some neck whiplash – you get a lot of whiplash from wire work. We get jerked off our feet and jerked into things and smashed into things, so you feel a bit sore the next day.
“Broken fingers, broken toes. But touch wood, I’m feeling good and looking forward to this year.”
His initial big break came when he was just 23, as he made his stunt doubling debut as James Bond in Quantum of Solace.
Since then, Bobby, from Portsmouth, UK, has gone on to double for just about all the big Chrises in Hollywood: Evans, Pine and, erm, -tian Bale.
Most notably, he has doubled for Chris Hemsworth for eight years, completing ’12 or 13 movies together’ and becoming an expert on the actor’s health and fitness app Centr.
Over the years, the pair have forged a close bond, and Bobby knows that taking a few hits is ‘part and parcel’ of his role.
He said: “If he [Hemsworth] gets injured, the whole show goes down, so I’ve got to be very cautious and have a relationship with the stunt coordinator and the secondary director and say‘that’s not really a Chris thing’. I can be replaced but Chris can’t, that’s the difference.
“The nature of what we do is dangerous, but what we try to do is eliminate as much danger as we can with time and rehearsals. Sometimes you’ve got to take away the mats and take a hard hit. It’s just part and parcel of what we do and we know those risks.”
But while Bobby has picked up considerable injuries during his career, he knows it could have been a lot worse.
He said: “A good friend of mine, David Holmes, was Harry Potter’s stunt double. He broke his neck and he’s paralysed, from a Quidditch scene. Another friend of mine, Olivia Jackson, she’s lost her arm from her shoulder – she was Charlize Theron’s stunt double.
“Another stunt guy has just got very badly injured on Fast & Furious, Joe Watts. He had a very bad head injury. John Bernecker, a double on Walking Dead died doing a high fall.
“It’s horrible seeing that and most of them are your friends, It’s difficult.”
Given the risks stunt performers take and the sacrifices they make, Bobby feels people in his profession deserve more critical and financial recognition.
He said: “It is good money, I’m gonna say that I think it should be more, and I say that maybe a little bit biased, but I feel you can’t make an action movie without a stunt action team and stunt performers and we do risk our lives sometimes and take hard hits.
“Unfortunately people get really badly injured and never work again. Unfortunately it can be fatal.
“Why don’t stunt performers get Oscars? It’s ludicrous. Every other department does, and deservedly so, but we don’t for some reason.”