The ‘Fall Guy’ Filmmakers Have a Cause: Give Stunts an Oscar

They may become more visible if the couple have their way. The push for an Oscar category is not the subtle subtext of “The Fall Guy”; it is the text. There’s even a moment in the movie when Gosling’s Seavers is asked if stunt performers receive Oscars for their work. “Stunts?” he replies. “No,” then raises his glass to the “unsung heroes.”

“It’s baked into the film,” the screenwriter Drew Pearce said in an interview from his home office. “There are not that many members of the crew who can break their back by going into work that day. The idea that they wouldn’t be acknowledged but me sitting in here on a laptop is, obviously, doesn’t seem just in any way.”

The hit television show “The Fall Guy” ran for five seasons in the early 1980s, and its epic action, including truck jumps and high-elevation falls, proved to be a source of inspiration for the many Gen Xers who now dominate the stunt community. It even inspired those who didn’t make it into that world but found their way to Hollywood, like Pearce (who, as a child, concocted a stuntman course in his backyard only to discover his crippling fear of heights) and another of the film’s producers, Guymon Casady.

Casady first convinced the TV show’s creator, Glen A. Larson, to license the property to him some 20 years ago, only for it to languish in the studio development process, as various iterations, including one with Dwayne Johnson and another with Nicolas Cage, fell apart. In 2019, Casady tried again, reviving the project with Leitch, who was fresh off his success on “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” and about to start “Bullet Train.” Leitch had begun his career as Brad Pitt’s stunt double and worked as a director and producer on the “John Wick” series.

“The big idea from the very beginning was to make a movie where we were honoring the stunt craft,” Casady said. “That was an important idea for David, obviously, given his background, but we thought it was also a really unique character.”

Yet, Leitch and company’s efforts are not new.

Stuntman-turned-second-unit-director Jack Gill joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 1991, determined to get himself and his colleagues recognized. The academy told him it would take three to five years of hard work to add the category. Cut to 2024, and Gill, who has no affiliation with “Fall Guy,” is still holding out hope that this happens in his lifetime. The new movie has made him optimistic.

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