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Awkward Times A Stunt Double Almost Ruined A Shot

By and large, a major movie studio just isn't going to let its actors do their own stunts for a big-budget action movie. They don't want to run the risk of hurting a bankable star—and to be fair, nor do most famous actors particularly want to do something extremely, or even mildly, dangerous for the sake of their art. That's where stuntmen come in—trained professionals who know exactly how to jump, take a fall, or ride a motorcycle convincingly and safely, making for a much safer, more exciting movie.

Sometimes, however, film editors make little mistakes, and those stunt workers show up in the final cut of the movie—and quite clearly, too. Here are some movies that, if you look closely, let you see a little more of the stuntmen than you were supposed to.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a movie full of exciting action sequences. But the lengthy set piece toward the beginning of the movie, in which the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) rides a motorcycle alongside and in pursuit of humanity's savior John Connor (Edward Furlong), is among the most pulse-pounding. Even a super-tough action hero like Schwarzenegger has his limits—such as high-speed tandem motorcycle chase scenes. It's evident at certain moments that the more difficult shots were covered by stunt doubles for Schwarzenegger (and Furlong).

The Princess Bride

There are a lot more stuntmen working in Hollywood then there are stuntwomen, which means that often, a female performer will have her more difficult jumps and tumbles taken care of by a male stunt double...wearing a dress and a wig, if necessary. Case in point: the family classic The Princess Bride. As Buttercup Robin Wright) takes a very, very hard tumble down a hill after Westley/the Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Elwes), that stuntman's long blonde locks fall off, and it's clear that, like the Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Buttercup also has a secret identity: a guy in a wig.

Star Trek

"Amok Time" is one of most beloved installments of the original Star Trek TV series. The Enterprise lands on a planet, and the rulers force Captain Kirk and Spock to fight each other to the death. It's cold-blooded, cruel, and hard to watch as the two close friends try to off each other...but at least the actors behind the characters, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, didn't have to fight each other. In wide and aerial shots of the climactic fight sequence, Kirk and Spock are played, however briefly, by different people. Oddly enough, the guy playing Spock looks less like Nimoy and more like future movie Spock Zachary Quinto.

Moonraker

Jaws is a signature James Bond movie villain, mostly because of his weird weaponry. As his name suggests, his mouth is filled with a metallic apparatus that gives him super-powered chompers. The role is played with gusto by Richard Kiel, who stood a towering 7'2". Perhaps it was difficult for the producers of Moonraker to find a stuntman who could match Kiel's dimensions, so they just didn't bother. In the film's opening skydive chase scene, the stunt performer standing in for Kiel looks nothing like him. Nor did anybody bother to put all that gold stuff in his mouth—the stuntman even flashes his pearly, unadorned whites.

Elf

Before his Emmy-winning role as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones, one of Peter Dinklage's most high-profile roles was in the Christmas comedy Elf, as Miles Finch, a high-powered children's book author. While working in his father's publishing firm, Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) mistakes Miles for an elf, and the diminutive Miles very rightly takes offense, running down a conference table before launching into an aerial kick at Buddy. Check out the scene at the moment of liftoff...that's not Dinklage, but a much taller stuntman on the attack.

The Muppets Take Manhattan

A normal day in Central Park, spying on her old flame Kermit the Frog's date with a human woman, turns nasty for Miss Piggy when a guy steals her purse. But Miss Piggy is never one to back down, and she gives chase on roller skates. In several of the wide shots of Miss Piggy barrelling down paths—and one aerial shot when she lands on her assailant from above—a human stunt performer has to stand in for a puppet.

Total Recall

In a scene from the original 1990 Total Recall, attackers give chase, and hero Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) tries to dodge them in a subway station. He eventually loses them by jumping through the window of a subway car into a subway car. There really wasn't a reason for the scene to cut to the inside of the subway car immediately after the moment of impact, but it does—and it's definitely not Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other side of that window.

Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Angelina Jolie will do a lot of crazy things: endure a bunch of tattoos, marry Billy Bob Thornton, star in The Tourist. But when it came time to film the sequel to Tomb Raider, riding a motorcycle was not in the cards. It was, however, part of the job description for her male stuntman.

Back to the Future

As Marty McFly tries to elude Biff and his gang of toughs in 1955 Hill Valley, he falls back on a trick we see him pull in the beginning of the movie, back in 1985: using a skateboard to hitch rides with passing cars and trucks. That's pretty dangerous stuff for a real-life teenager, let alone a fictional one. So while Michael J. Fox did shoot all of his close-ups and reaction shots for the chase sequence, a stuntman was used for the truly precarious moments. The scene is edited with a lot of quick shots, but the guy with hair that's about three shades darker than Fox's is the stuntman.

Point Break

Shooting an aerial sequence is complicated and chaotic. That makes for exciting moments onscreen, provided they're executed the right way. One scene from the 1991 surf cop drama Point Break would have been a classic...except that the camera lingers a little too long on the face of the stunt performer hurtling to the ground who is certainly not Keanu Reeves.

Twilight

One would think a sequence in which a character is running at incredible speeds would whip by so fast that details such as the performers' faces couldn't be noticed. Not so for this scene from the first Twilight movie. Early in the courtship of human Bella (Kristen Stewart) by vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), he shows off his superhuman abilities, such as incredible speed. With Bella riding piggyback, he zips through the forest, up trees, and across branches. Well, they don't—the stunt runner and his piggyback rider do.