Superheroes have hidden identities who work everyday jobs.
Beefcake actors have stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton.
The Brit gymnast and former semi-professional soccer player has doubled for Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Ryan Reynolds in “The Green Lantern,” and Daniel Craig in “Quantum of Solace.”
In November, he appears as the God of Thunder, played by Chris Hemsworth, in “Thor: The Dark World.”
Voted number six on our “Sexiest People Behind The Scenes Of Hollywood” list, Hanton is certified by the U.K.’s stunt registry in gymnastics, trampolining, high-diving, kickboxing, swimming, and scuba diving.
Days after wrapping production on “Jupiter Ascending,” a sci-fi action-adventure film starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis due in theatres next summer, Hanton tells Business Insider about his career in being badass.
Bobby Holland Hanton reveals the most intimidating stunts, what the A-list actors are like off-camera, and which superhero he’d most like to suit up as.
BI: What was your first movie job?
BHH: 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.
BI: What’s a typical audition test like?
BHH: It could be something very specific: dive through a car, fight someone, be thrown into a wall. It depends on your speciality and the shot they’re looking for.
BI: Do you ever dress for the part at an audition?
BHH: First impressions are very, very important in what we do, so I make an effort to make myself look like the performer as much as possible. When I heard there was a possibility that the stunt coordinator on “Thor: The Dark World” wanted me to double for Chris Hemsworth [who’s 6’4″], I got some two-inch lifts for my boots and started training in them. It’s like trying to do stunts in high heels.
BI: The God of Thunder is a large guy. How’d you keep up?
BHH: Chris is in the best shape of any actor I’ve seen. He’s got huge arms and great coordination. I’ve never had to train so much in all my life — three hours each session, twice a day, six days a week. If Chris wasn’t an actor, he’d be one of the top stuntmen around.
BI: What’s your relationship like with the actors you’re doubling for?
BHH: If it’s a stunt-heavy show, you’re generally with the actor every day. We train, rehearse, and shoot with them, so you kind of become a family. It’s like, “You’ve got my back, and I’ve got yours.”
BI: What was it like working with Chris Hemsworth again?
BHH: He’s a legend. You can’t say anything but nice things about the guy. We’re both fans of Ricky Gervais, so we have a lot of laughs on set. You can’t always be super serious when the job is so intense.
BI: What can you tell us about “Thor: The Dark World”?
BHH: Lots of fights, lots of wire work. Every day, there was a big-scale or difficult stunt to do. It’s going to be action-packed, as you can imagine a “Thor” movie would be.
BI: Is there a stunt that you’re most proud of in your career?
BHH: On “The Dark Knight Rises,” when I was Bruce Wayne, I had to climb out of the prison he’s in and jump, miss the landing, fall 100 feet, and slam into the opposite wall. It was one of my first ever high-falls, a 100-footer, which is quite a nice feat to achieve for a stunt performer.
And on the set of “Quantum of Solace” in Panama, I had to free jump — no safety wires, no safety mats — from a three-story ledge onto a balcony space while I was being shot at by a SWAT team.
BI: Do you still get scared before performing a stunt?
BHH: If I heard a stunt performer say, “I don’t get scared,” I wouldn’t believe it. There is an element of fear, but that quickly turns into an adrenaline rush that makes you want to do it even more.
BI: We heard there’s another accolade you’re particularly proud of — you’re a Guinness World Records holder?
BHH: Ha, it’s a funny story. When I was a gymnast in the U.K., on our breaks, we used to put these little foam blocks between our feet while doing back-somersaults, and let go and try to hit each other with them. I could get it into a basketball net. It was a cool trick, and I thought it would be a good idea to approach Guinness and pitch the record idea to them. They jumped on it and came down to the studios to see how many I could dunk in an hour. Two-hundred and 50 back-somersaults and 24 hoops in an hour — I’d quite like to see someone attempt it.
BI: Obviously your job takes a hefty physical toll. Who do you lean on?
BHH: It’s funny because if I call friends or family, they just say, “Stop moaning!” But my mum is always there for me, and I can tell her anything. She keeps me on top of my game.
BI: Whose costume is most fun to wear: Batman, Thor, or James Bond’s?
BHH: Obviously, Batman and Thor have the standout costumes of my childhood dreams. They were the most enjoyable, but the nicest costume you can have is a T-shirt and pair of trousers with shoes. No wig, no make-up.
BI: Best job perk?
You get to be in scenes with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman (“The Dark Knight Rises”), who are heroes of mine. And every now and then, we get a small acting role.
BI: Any aspiration to go into acting exclusively?
BHH: I don’t want to push my luck. I like that I can go to work with amazing people, do a job that I love, and as soon as it’s finished, I can go home and it’s just me. When actors become big, they can’t really be themselves anymore. Trying to maintain and control a personal life is probably as difficult as the job itself.
BI: Is there a superhero you’d like to be instead?
BHH: I think next would have to be Superman. That’s one I’d like to check off.
“Thor: The Dark World” premieres November 8.
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