Action double reveals industry insights
Bobby Holland Hanton, the award winning stuntman currently working as a body double for Christian Bale (Batman) and Daniel Craig (James Bond), has shared his experiences in the industry with the team at Esquire.
Hanton is one of the Film Industry’s leading stuntmen and has achieved it through sheer hard work and determination. He has been preparing for his career since he was a toddler, when he started with gymnastics and later became a National Squad Member and National Gold Medalist for Great Britain before the age 18. He then entered the world of football and became a semi-pro footballer before he was 19. He is also trained in a diverse range of other disciplines including kickboxing, swimming, high diving, trampolining and scuba diving.
His acting abilities have grown from various performances in pantomimes, TV shows, modelling, commercials for top sports brands, which is where his ‘body-double’ career began.
His other stunt roles include Quantum of Solace (Daniel Craig), Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Captain America (Chris Hemsworth) and Inception.
“in The Dark Knight Rises, when I was climbing out of the prison in India [as Bruce Wayne], there are a couple of times that he tries to jump out and doesn’t quite make it. It was a 100-foot freefall on a cable that was a slack line, which smacked me into a wall. That was pretty alarming,” Hanton admitted. “For me, it’s the adrenaline rush and the fact that this is pretty ballsy. It’s what I get a kick out of. Without that, I would be a little bit lost, I think.”
When asked about his role in the Quantum of solace Hanton replied,” Yes, that was my first taste of stunts in movies. And it was stunt-doubling Daniel Craig. Not only did I get to work on a great movie, but to double as the lead was an amazing experience. I learned a lot, and had to in the six-month period that I worked on that movie. I’m sure if you speak to any stunt performer from the UK, the biggest stunt job you could ask for is to double in a James Bond movie. I went through a set of rigorous auditions, but once we got that call, it was an absolute dream come true. And it wasn’t an overnight kind of thing, either. I’ve been in gymnastics since I was four years old. So it was a real pat on the back. It kick-started my stunt career, and I’ve been working solid. But that will always be one movie that will stick out in my mind.”
Skyfall was a different experience for Hanton. He said, “Skyfall was very different for me in the respect that I went and worked for only two and a half months. I was working on The Dark Knight Rises when Skyfall started, so I didn’t have the chance to start at the beginning. It was kind of a step back as a stunt performer since I wasn’t doubling Daniel. I gained a lot of size to be in the Bat-suit to double Christian Bale. So I wasn’t the right-sized double for Daniel this time around. But it still worked fantastic for me. I got to go out to Istanbul. I was a driver this time around. It was very low-key.”
So what does it take to be a leading stuntman? A strict nutritional regime (with the odd chocolate cheat), a rigorous exercise plan, an agility and strength which can endure endless hours of falls, bashes and hits, and a humbleness to allow the lead actor get the glory. Quite an array of achievements for this 28-year-old Stunt Expert. We look forward to seeing more of his skills in the action-filled film industry.