Falling For The Stars
A Stunt Gal’s Tattle Tales
by Lisa Loving Dalton
AMAZON #1 BESTSELLER!
This Behind-the-Scenes Tell-All About Doubling for Celebrity Superstars Also Reveals the Compelling Life Story of an Insecure Hollywood Arrival Who Rises to the Top of Her Field, But Pays a Hefty Price.
Big Egos collide with the surprising kindness of superstars.
Discover the magic and the tragic stories of many great films & TV shows through the eyes of a stuntwoman. Dalton reveals what it took to hang over cliffs, get hit by a moving car, drop from five stories up, dodge an avenue full of speeding cars–and to ignore the Universe’s more gentle prompts that it was time to quit and follow her passion into acting full-time or teaching acting.
The resulting career-ending spinal injury has a story of its own, how she researched medical and alternative paths that form the heart of what she shares with the world today. “What stands out in this book is the indomitable spirit the author has, despite the extraordinary price she paid for her stellar career–including misogyny, a miscarriage, and a life-long back injury. And each juicy story she relays in her fascinating chronicle, brings home an important life lesson for the reader–one that she learned the hard way.
Married to the Mob
The Last Dragon
Saturday Night Live
World According To Garp
Working with or doubling such superstars as Meryl Streep, Cher, Madonna, Grace Jones, Robert Redford, Katherine Hepburn, Sean Connery, Tom Hanks, Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, Ed O’Neill, Michelle Pfeiffer and more.
Falling For The Stars: A Stunt Gal’s Tattle Tales
Author Interview Lisa Loving Dalton
Amazon #1 Bestseller
- What were the scariest stunts you did?
I leapt across a six-story alley, I dodged a train, I tripped on a twenty sixth-floor ledge in Grand Central Station. I got hit by cars and crashed motorcycles on cue. I think those were the scariest things. There are pictures of some of those in Falling For The Stars: A Stunt Gal’s Tattle Tales.
- Did you ever play a character that got shot? If so, what was that like?
I used to do a live western stunt show at parties and corporate events and got shot pretty regularly from a distance. But there was one special time when it was a bigger deal.
I was murdered for a television movie called Brass with Carroll O’Connor in one of the opening moments of the story. It took place on the roof top garage structure on a pier at 57th St. in New York. Here’s the set up for it:
Kidnappers grab a woman and throw her in the van. Three bystanders start to come to her aid when one of the kidnappers pulls a gun and shoots them at various stages of their trying to escape. Then he walks up to each body and shoots them directly in the back of the head, mob assassination style.
So my first part was to turn and run away, get shot in the back and fly to the ground. This part was pretty easy to time, acting like I got hit and falling forward to the pavement because they put a little explosive on your body that rips a whole in your clothes and breaks a blood packet. There is a metal plate that goes against your body, keeping the explosive from hurting you. You can still feel the kick though and then is it just a matter of reacting.
Next part was to get shot point-blank in the back of the head.
It happened to be just a few days after an actor who knew his gun had blanks in it jokingly put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The impact of the blank caused his brain to implode.
So everyone was a bit nervous about shooting or getting shot point blank.
They showed us how the energy of the blank had real force by shooting it into a piece of heavy cardboard. Once we all could see exactly where the force went, we set the scene up with the camera positioned so that it looked like the gun was right in the back of my head, but it was actually just to the side.
PS: Don’t do this at home!
- Why did you become a stuntwoman?
I was thrilled at an early age whenever people watched me do crazy things. I was knocking boys off the top of the jungle gym in kindergarten and making sure everyone saw it happening. While the teacher tried to flunk me for bad behavior, those impulses eventually led to being an athlete and actor who specializes in physical theatre-like clown, mime and stage combat.
I saw an opportunity to do stunts in movies and thought it might be a great way to get more acting parts. So I got into it primarily to further my acting career. Then it became a career in itself and eventually stunted my acting opportunities. My book goes more fully into what happened.
- As a woman in the movie industry, were you treated differently than men?
Yes, there is no question about the stunt industry being very male-dominated. When I first started, we were doing all we could to get the right to double women. Many small male gymnasts were doubling for the women. Plus the roles they asked of the women characters were mostly “victim” based. There were a few heroines like Daisy Dukes, Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman but those were rare.
The stunt business works with what is known as a Stunt Coordinator. At the time I was working, the coordinator was almost always a guy. He is the one who hires the stunt people so to get a job, you have to be liked by that guy to get a job. It was harder for me to get hired because I was happily married and wasn’t willing to do what other women were doing to get work. I did flirt to an extent, in a plan I hatched with my husband. And it worked until I got cornered in an elevator and had to make my position very clear. That guy never hired me again.
Another difference was that the Stunt Coordinator also sometimes has the choice of who gets screen credit and who doesn’t. If production can only have ten names on the stunt list, he is going to put his buddies on it, because they will hire him back and do the same. That is why you will see on many stuntwomen’s www.Imdb.com credits the term “uncredited.” IMDB won’t even give you certain credits if you are unlisted, like that movie Brass-is not on my resume there, despite the fact that I have submitted it several times.
- Are you a thrill seeker by nature?
Absolutely, Guilty as Charged! I love cruising on my motorcycle and have ridden in all fifty states and nine provinces. I have driven four racetracks, and scuba when I can. I think, though, the biggest thrill for me is still acting on a stage, emotionally vulnerable and connected to a higher stream of art flowing through you. Staying out of the way and letting the character and the story take over in communion with the audience-that takes courage.
- What was the biggest thing you learned as a stuntwoman?
A film is not worth a life, no matter how great the story is. I learned that I was more than the incredible things I did. I learned that I have more important things to do, like sharing the wisdom I gained through the entertainment field and from having to live life with a crippling injury because of stunts. I went from feeling like superman to an invalid in an instant. That was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.
- Are you planning on writing more about your life?
Yes, I am releasing Murder Of Talent: How Pop Culture Is Killing It in February and it will tell much more about what happened to me as an actress. And I am thinking about another book about my rowdy, biker life, including my biker rally wedding where we had a wet T-shirt contest and downed twenty-seven kegs of beer. I have a couple of academic books about healthy acting techniques and my blogs that frequently focus on Fear Less Living Lessons from a Stunt Gal where stories from my life reveal ways to help others to live more lovingly and less fearfully.
Author Lisa Loving Dalton
From a bullied, dyslexic, messy, freckle-faced, klutzy pixie, Lisa Loving Dalton grew into a statuesque and skillful stuntwoman, actor, director, teacher, author, filmmaker, leadership and life coach, and ceremonial minister. Always seeking and finding the silver lining, she has made the most of whatever life threw at her. She says, “I spill stuff, trip and drip all of the time so I made a career out of it. My advice: Embrace what is as perfect.”
Dalton appeared in more than 200 films, television shows and commercials in New York, Hollywood and Texas, including work in Ghostbusters, Money Pit, Crocodile Dundee, Married to the Mob, FX, Legal Eagles, and Splash on the big screen and ER, HBO’s Carnivale, Dr. Quinn and Melrose Place among her many TV credits.
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