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A-List Stars Who Do Their Own Stunts

Everyone loves a good action sequence, and the crazier and more over the top it seems, the better. The best way to pull off a scene like that is to make it look as real as possible, and that's most easily achieved when an actor pulls out all the stops and does his or her own stunts. Not every actor is up to the task, and sometimes insurance companies forbid it, but some performers will rise to meet the challenge.

Jason Statham

The most badass Brit in movies today, Jason Statham has been pushing the envelope for years. In an interview with CBS, Statham admitted that in his first film they didn't have a budget to do any work with green screens or stunt doubles, so he just took it all on himself. The result of that was him digging his own grave, as he put it, because it's expected now that he'll do his own stunts in every movie and do something bigger and better each time. Not that Statham minds doing his own stunts, as he's also on record being critical of younger actors in Marvel-type movies who do their stunts against green screen and with body doubles. He has a lot more respect for actors like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger who put their bodies on the line for the sake of realism.

One of Statham's craziest stunts occurred on set of Expendables 3, when he's driving a truck that he's supposed to stop on a dock before getting out. Unfortunately the truck wasn't able to stop and went straight into the sea with Statham behind the wheel. Rather than panic, Statham simply got out, swam to the surface and finished the scene.

Tom Cruise

Even though he's a dad in his 50s now, Tom Cruise is showing no sign of slowing down or letting anyone else take the reins when it comes to stunts in his movies. In fact, Cruise goes above and beyond in ways even actors like Jackie Chan would be impressed by when it comes to his stunts.

Some of Cruise's bets stunt work can be seen in the Mission: Impossible films, each of which seems to up the ante for the star. In Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol we actually see Cruise running down the mirrored face of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Rogue Nation manages to trump this with the almost too-impossible-to-believe stunt of Cruise hanging from the side of a plane as it takes off.

Angelina Jolie

Not one to let the boys have all the fun, Angelina Jolie has been insistent on doing many of her own stunts as well. In the movie Salt, in which Jolie plays a Jason Bourne-type spy, the actress had to manage a lot of choreographed fight scenes and some crazy stunts, like jumping from an overpass onto a moving truck.

Jolie actually received a few scars on set as well, but not doing anything remarkably intense. Instead, during a scene in which she has to roll across the floor with her gun, she managed to bash herself in the face and slice herself just above the nose bad enough to leave a permanent scar as a reminder. Not every stunt is memorable, but they can still leave their mark.

Harrison Ford

During the filming of the Indiana Jones films, Harrison Ford did a number of his own stunts and also improvised scenes here and there. The most famous on the spot scene came when Indy is supposed to be fighting a swordsman but instead just pulls out his pistol and shoots the man. The reason? Harrison Ford had food poisoning and wanted to end the scene quickly. Later in the movie when Indy is fighting next to a moving plane, the plane really did hit Ford and caused extreme damage when it ran over his knee, damaging the ligaments. Rather than check into a Tunisian hospital, Ford opted to simply wrap and ice his injury and just go on filming. What's a little ligament damage, anyway?

Chloe Grace Moretz

An unexpected addition to this list is Chloe Moretz, who sold her role as Hit Girl in Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2 so well because most of what you saw her do, she really did. At 13 years old, Moretz wasn't even old enough to go to theaters and watch the movie after it came out due to all the graphic violence and swearing. But she certainly contributed to both. Thanks to a history of dance, Moretz was easily able to get into the fight choreography and did the majority of her own stunts—with a handful of exceptions such as "running up the walls and stuff."

Daniel Craig

Part of the reason Daniel Craig is so good in his role as James Bond is the realism the newer films bring to the franchise. Past Bonds were always a little bit goofy with tons of quirky villains and zany inventions. Daniel Craig's bond is rooted in a cold, harsh reality. He's all but emotionless, he takes his license to kill seriously, and he will go through just about anything to get the bad guy.

One of Craig's best stunts is right at the beginning of his very first spin as Bond. An early sequence in Casino Royale features an intense chase scene that culminates in an amazing crane fight. Two hundred feet in the air, Bond and the bad guy throw down. In a heart-stopping sequence that some consider the greatest stunt in James Bond history, Bond leaps from one crane onto another to keep the chase alive. According to Craig, he wanted to do as many stunts as possible himself. He told The Telegraph he didn't get fit just to take his shirt off, he wanted to be seen physically exerting himself.

Christian Bale

Though Christian Bale did have a stunt double for his work in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, he did as much as he physically could on his own. The fight scenes throughout the trilogy are all done by Bale himself who had to master some mixed martial arts to sell his performance as the Dark Knight. If fight skills aren't enough to convince you of how much Bale gives of himself for a role, just check out 2004's The Machinist sometime, a role for which Bale dropped an insane 65 pounds.