Actors who do their own stunts: A-list action heroes dedicated to taking the biggest risks

June 17, 2022

With action films being some of the biggest earners in Hollywood, some stars are willing to go the extra mile to earn every dime of their mammoth pay-checks.

Whether it’s to keep the film authentic, provide audiences with an unforgettable experience or just to truly feel like they’ve earned their MTV movie awards, some actors are willing to go the extra mile. This may add months of training to a shoot, but who wouldn’t want to be able to say they’ve thrown themselves from a moving motorcycle or jumped from a burning building?

Tom Cruise performing a stunt on his motorbike for Mission impossible 7

DWAYNE JOHNSON

Dwayne Johnson ascends down a burning building for his role in the film Skyscraper

It comes as no surprise to us that Dwayne Johnson likes to perform his own stunts, especially with his long career in professional wrestling (can you smell what The Rock is cookin’?). Having once been declared "the most electrifying man in entertainment" by Hollywood Reporter, he feels his films only benefit from him being so committed to taking big risks. In an interview with Graham Norton, he once said that “he felt he owed it to fans to be as authentic as possible with his action hero performances”.

CHARLIZE THERON

Charlize Theron as her character Furiosa in the film Mad Max: Fury Road sporting a shaved head and a dystopian look

Theron famously fully commits to performing the action sequences in her films, a point which surfaced in 2015 during a particularly physical shoot of Mad Max: Fury Road. Theron demonstrated how important it is to watch the actor do their own stuntwork in Atomic Blonde, which ended up being every bit as incredibly choreographed as Keanu Reeves' John Wick series.

TOM CRUISE

Action hero Tom Cruise appears to misjudge a leap between two buildings during a stunt for Mission: Impossible 6.

Tom Cruise has cemented himself in Hollywood history as an action star, beginning with his testosterone fulled role in Top Gun as Maverick, the hotshot fighter pilot. Wanting to push his own personal limits and deliver quality action films to fans, he began to perform his own stunts for the Mission Impossible films. It’s safe to say Cruise takes his roles seriously as he is also known to come out with an injury or two when production wraps.

ADAM DRIVER

Whether he’s the leading man in an indie drama or the villain of a blockbuster franchise, Adam Driver takes his roles seriously. In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Driver put in the work and pulled off all his own stunts. Every single one. In an interview with, The Rise of Skywalker stunt coordinator, Eunice Huthart described Driver as being “as good as any stuntman.” In fact, his stunt double never even put on Kylo Ren’s costume!

ANGELINA JOLIE

Angelina Jolie allegedly does nearly all of her own stunts, according to stunt coordinator and frequent collaborator on her movies, Simon Crane. In 2010, she played the role of an FBI agent in Salt, which required her to train in Muay Thai and Krav Maga. “She’s absolutely fearless when it comes to high places” Crane explained. Although Jolie hasn’t taken on many action roles lately that would require her to do stunts, we’re sure if one came up she would still throw her all at it.

KEANU REEVES

Keanu Reeves can be seen riding on a stallion (Horse) for a scene in John Wick: Chapter 3

Reeves recently hit headlines when it came out that he partook in a stunt where he jumped off a 46-story building 19 times to get a stunt right in 'Matrix Resurrections'. Of course, this comes as no surprise to most people as Keanu was known to do a lot of his stunts for his role in the John Wick series. When promoting John Wick: Chapter 3, Reeves revealed that he was responsible for 90 per cent of the action on the screen. Behind his commitment to performing his own stunts is a desire for authentic action on the movie screen. "I'm maintaining the connection to the audience, and with the story,” Reeves explained.

DANIEL CRAIG

Danial Craig is pictured playing the infamous James Bond on a old motorbike in the middle of a packed market

One of the reasons why Daniel Craig was done with being Bond could be because he’s over the idea of putting himself in harm’s way while performing stunts. The actor has been attributed with bringing a gritty edge to the debonair spy, and his decision to do the stunts for real certainly adds to that aesthetic. In fact, he was so committed to the idea that he shattered his teeth after being punched in the face during Casino Royale. Although it’s worth noting that Craig did have a stunt double for some of his action scenes.

TOM HOLLAND

Tom Holland may still be young and fresh to the film industry in some people's eyes but that hasn’t stopped him from throwing himself into the deep end and doing most of his own stunts for his role as Spider-Man. Holland still has a stunt double for safety reasons, just in case the situation is too precarious. But in regards to Spider-Man: Far From Home, Holland spoke about how he tried to do as many as possible. But there were some things he legally couldn’t do. For the most part, however, Holland’s background as a gymnast allowed him to complete a majority of his action-packed stunts. And were just as sure that he tried to throw himself into all the action scenes in his new movie Uncharted!

JACKIE CHAN

Jackie Chan is a stunt legend! In addition to being a legendary actor, Chan is just as well known and thought of for his martial arts and action choreography. Not only did he perform his own stunts, but he frequently designed them as well. This was the case for the 1998 film Rush Hour. The list of Chan’s intrepid stunts spans decades of work. When it comes to sliding down the side of a skyscraper or roller skating under speeding trucks, there really is only one man for the job: Jackie Chan.

CAMERON DIAZ

Cameron Diaz in the original Charlie's Angels brandishing a chic motorbike costume that matches the bike next to her as she stands triumphantly

Although Cameron Diaz is currently enjoying her retirement from acting, it’s worth remembering that she always asked to do her own stunts. And when the producers did agree, she tried to perform as many as producers would possibly allow her to do (on the Charlie’s Angels films, as well as Knight and Day), often leading to small injuries and gnarly bruises!