Real-Life Superhero: Interview with Stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton
We, as human beings, often wish we could be more than we are. Whether it is superpowers, fame, godhood, at some time in our lives each of us wonder what it would be like to be “super.” I had the opportunity to talk with someone who gets to be a superhero on a daily basis. Bobby Holland Hanton is a stuntman that has worked with Chris Hemsworth on Thor, and been involved in multiple movies such as Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean, Quantum of Solace, and The Dark Knight Rises. So, without further ado, on to the interview.
Comic Booked: Bobby, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Would you mind telling us how you got into the stunt business?
Bobby Holland Hanton: I have had a physical career since a very young age, particularly in gymnastics. I enjoy being active, and crave the adrenaline that comes along with the job. I got a call out of the blue to audition to double for Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace. It was a dream come true. I went in for four or five vigorous exercise auditions; six weeks turned into six months, and I’ve never looked back.
CB: That is really cool. What’s it like on the movie set? How do you interact with the actors? Does your role as a stuntman vary by director or is it fairly standard across the industry?
BHH: Set is always super busy. No one on set or in the studio is ever doing nothing, or sitting around, that’s for sure! It is fast paced, with a tight schedule. Yes, my role varies by stunt coordinator, director, producer, and ultimately the actor I am doubling (because they make the final say). However, when you are in contact with an actor, it is more of a team effort from movie to movie.
CB: Is there a lot of downtime during filming? I guess, the real question is do you just get called in to do the stunts all at once or are you there for most of the scenes just kind of waiting for the call to do a stunt?
BHH: It really depends; however I have found that for me there truly is not. If you are on the movie as part of the core team, you can be on set waiting to get into your scene, yet you use that time to rehearse. Or sometimes the day can be stunt, stunt, stunt…
CB: Do you have any crazy stories of things that you have had to do to preserve the secrecy of a movie?
BHH: I do find the “secrecy cloak” to be quite funny. I have had to wear it on my back (to cover my costume), from stage to stage when we are on a large set. It is a black overall cloak that covers your costume to prevent anyone watching from seeing. Other than that, I have never had trouble completely avoiding the questions or comments, because it is not worth my entire career.
CB: What sort of preparation do you undergo to prepare for a role? Workouts, changing your hair, makeup, all that stuff. Any pointers for our readers of products or techniques that work for you that they may be able to try?
BHH: A lot of preparation goes into what we do – especially for a movie like Thor, where I was wearing a wig all day, every day… and makeup and prosthetics. When you are filming for 12-13 hours a day, all I want to do when I get home is shower. I love the Dove Men+Care Thickening shampoo. I have found it really works, and helps keep my hair full after a wig pulling at it all day for months at a time. I also use their Odor Guard body wash at the end of every day, in order to wash off all of the makeup. In terms of physical preparation, I have found that between movies it has been best to maintain a middle ground, and I have been blessed to have the ability to change body types rather easily. I am sure to maintain a strict diet and exercise routine, and amp up the workouts when I double someone like Chris Hemsworth in Thor. Diet & exercise are key, however I live by 80% weighs on nutrition – start there!
CB: Also, have you ever been mistaken for anyone that you doubled for in a film?
BHH: I have only been mistaken as the actor when in costume. On set during Thor, I was sometime mistaken for Chris Hemsworth, however me myself have never been.
CB: How would you compare prepping for a stunt to actually performing one? Is there a part of the work that you enjoy the most?
BHH: Rehearsing is absolutely critical. All of the hard work is in the preparation. It can be a 30 second stunt, that we do only once, however took up to 3 weeks to rehearse. Preparation is much more involved, and there is definitely NO rush into getting it filmed, because it is just too dangerous to risk.
CB: Who’s behind the scenes for Bobby Hanton, who helps make this all possible?
BHH: Truly myself most times. Discipline is so very crucial to what I do, between training, eating, and getting a dedicated good night’s sleep. On top of that, I have 2 very, very dear friends and my mum, sister, really just friends and family that offer support and love that drive me to succeed.
CB: How does it feel to have damn near the manliest job anywhere?
BHH: It feels really good. I can’t see myself sitting at a desk, in an office. No offense at all to those that do, I actually admire those that can; because sometimes I do think that I would like it, and would like to be able to. I am just too fidgety and active of a personality, that I don’t think I’d last more than 1 day. And it is neat, that when people ask what I do for a living, they just do not believe me sometimes… it’s fun.
CB: Thinking of all the stunts you have done and roles you have stood in for, what is your favorite or at least the coolest? Was there ever one that you would never do again?
BHH: I have a few stunts on my career list that I really do cherish. The 100 foot high fall in Batman, jumping from roof to roof, high up in the air for Quantum of Solace, and some of the really hard hits in Thor. Of course, I’d love to have the opportunity to play all roles again, however it would also be fun to try something bigger and better, whatever is in the cards for my future, I think would be tempting to take on.
That was great, a look inside what it’s like to be a Real-Life Superhero. I want to thank Bobby Holland Hanton for taking the time to answer my questions. Remember, to check out the rest of Comic Booked as we continue connecting a comic booked world.