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A Death Proof Interview: Zoë Bell Talks Her Stunt History and Haymaker

Posted By themoviesleuth 1231 days ago on Entertainment - She started her career as a stunt person. She's been Uma Thurman's body double. She's been in several Tarantino movies and has built a resume of amazing physically demanding roles. And now she stars in this month's release of Haymaker. Read our interview with the always amazing Zoë Bell here at The Movie Sleuth:TMS: Since we don't have much time, let's jump right in. You've had a long history of stunt work prior to doing straight acting. How did you get involved in the world of stunts?ZB: So I got into gymnastics. Then I got into martial arts. It was through martial arts where I met people. I would stay behind and watch black belts train. And I met people that got paid to fight and flip, aka stunt people. I just always thought they were interesting. Like Evil Knievel. When I found out there were people doing what I was hemorrhaging my parent's bank account to do since I was nine, which was gymnastics and martial arts, I was all about it. TMS: How did you get involved in that as a professional career?ZB: It kept popping up in places of my life. My dad came home with a number from a guy who had a concussion. He walked me outside and was like 'ring this number'. I was incessantly going on about it. That's how it roundabout hit me. TMS: Where did you first get involved in actively working as a stunt person? I have to imagine there may have not been a lot of females in the industry at that time. ZB: I worked a couple days here and there on Xena. Then a couple days on Hercules. I was the original stunt double for Xena. I was hired effectively. TMS: Would you say it was hard getting into the business?ZB: You know I think it's a tricky question. For me, once I found out about it, I was all about it. I was looking for signs everywhere. And the interesting thing was that my experience on Xena was that there were more stunt women than there were stunt guys on the regular roster. It was probably 7 or 8 to 2. Because I ended up being the lead in a female driven TV show, I kept busy. At least 50 percent of the evil people were female. So that kept me busy. It didn't occur to me how hard it would be until I got to America. TMS: Was it harder to get work in the U.S. then? I would have to imagine so. ZB: Well, yeah. It took me to come here and learn my history to be appreciative of how far we've come. I will say that it's much harder to this day to become a female stunt person because there's just less work out there. But at the same time, as a male stunt person there's much more competition. I'll come back in my next life as a stunt MAN and I'll get back to you on that one. TMS: Was it a lot different coming to the states and working on film and television here instead of New Zealand?ZB: Once I got out of New Zealand, I realized how high our standards really were. I so grateful for the talent I was raised by and around. Just to know that the bar was so high, I was really fortunate to be raised by the group of dudes that I was. TMS: To have a family that was supportive of your career choice must have been pretty cool too. ZB: Oh, my mom came to the set when were were rehearsing on Xena with sandbags as weights and shhhhhhoooosh it crashed. And right in the middle of it happening she was like 'ooh what's going on there?' She was like 'okay great. Here's your sandwiches, I'm leaving.....' The rule after that was whenever I was doing something dangerous I wasn't allowed to tell mom until after we were done. TMS: Was it hard making the jump from stunt work to straight acting?ZB: Yeah it was. It was a tricky one. It was a tricky one for a lot of reasons. One, the industry didn't want it to happen. You're a stunt person. You can't do dialogue. We would rather see an actor whose already been acting but can't throw a punch be an action star than imagine there's a woman that can do both. That was a tricky thing. Also, being 30 trying to get into Hollywood as a female, pre-Me Too was like 'you're old'. I was 29 I think and going to auditions for 35 year olds and there were women 5 years younger than me going 'WTF?'. TMS: What are the challenges that lie in that gray area between both types of jobs?ZB: Being in front of the camera and performing is something I've always wanted to do. Being a woman and stunt person I had learned to hide my vulnerability. It's hard to do your work especially as a woman if they think you're scared, or if they want to fuck you, or you're sad. All of that makes my job harder, so I compartmentalize that stuff. So then getting into acting was like 'so now we're going to see all your vulnerable stuff'. Just very different ideals to have on set. TMS: What can you tell people about Haymaker? What's different about this movie?ZB: I mean honestly. It's stunning and glossy. And there's a mix of all these things. And it's grounded. The fights are very authentic. There's something very nice about the story being what keeps you in it. Then all the visuals just accentuate the whole thing. TMS: The movie is very culturally aware or advanced in its story telling. How would you comment on that? In our current times, people are much more accepting but can also be extremely nasty and hateful. ZB: Well, there's this romantic lead is this trans woman. It isn't the point. I don't think I knew that when I was reading the script. That's not the point. The point is that it's a love story. And the fact that that's not the point is the point for me. It's no more a trans story than it is the story of a retired fighter or the love The Bodyguard with Muay Thai which is empowering and open minded and new age. And cool. And the music is dope. I want the soundtrack!Haymaker is available to watch via streaming rental on Vudu, Redbox, and DirectTV-CG (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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