In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Who's That Girl?

2004's Double Dare is a documentary that follows stuntwomen Zoë Bell and Jeannie Epper. Zoë is relatively new to the business and Jeanne is an old pro who has been working for decades. Jeannie comes from a long line of performers and the Epper stunt person lineage numbers in the double digits. During the course of the story, Jeannie – who has appeared in countless films, but is probably best known for doubling Lynda Carter on the Wonder Woman TV series – takes Zoë under her wing.

Even though the movie focuses on Zoë and Jeannie, two stuntwomen trying to survive in a male dominated business, it is also a great document of the trade in general. We see not only their work on the set, but also footage from stunt union meetings and their annual awards event. The doc also has interviews from some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters like Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino. You know, it’s funny. I was obviously aware of stunt doubling, but never realized until seeing Double Dare, just how much they actually do.

And yes, it’s official. I have a crush on Zoë Bell. She seems to have this genuine love of life and attacks it with extraordinary enthusiasm. She’s sexy, but could also probably drink you under the table. To be honest, I only first noticed her by name in last year’s Death Proof, but I’d been witnessing her work for over ten years before that. I was an avid watcher of Xena back in its day and always just assumed that Lucy Lawless (who Zoë doubled for) did most of her own stunts. After seeing the behind the scenes footage of Xena I saw this was not the case. I would imagine this was half due to my naiveté and half that it was really well edited. The best part of the doc for me is following Zoë through her experiences doubling Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. What a whirlwind that would have been!

Watching documentaries can sometimes be a dry and serious affair, but this is certainly not the case here. Double Dare is a truly fun watch and sheds a much needed spotlight on an often overlooked profession. It might be hard to find, but it is well worth the effort tracking down.

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