The Real-Life ‘Fall Guys’: How a Tight-Knit Stunt Team Pulled off Ryan Gosling’s Death-Defying Scenes

SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains light spoilers for stunt sequences from “The Fall Guy,” in theaters now.

Leaping from a high-flying helicopter, being engulfed in flames, and rolling a car over eight and a half times—while these heart-stopping moments may be the stuff of nightmares for most, they’re just another day on the job for the daredevil stunt performers at the heart of David Leitch’s “The Fall Guy.”

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Ryan Gosling’s Colt Seavers is repeatedly put through the wringer in Universal’s action comedy based on the 1980s TV series of the same name. Lucky for the Oscar-nominated actor, a team of pros was there to do the heavy lifting.

Logan Holladay, who performed driving stunts (and set a Guinness world record), Ben Jenkin, who willingly got lit on fire and hit by a car, and Troy Brown, who plummeted 150 feet for an epic fall, sat down with Variety to share their experience on “The Fall Guy,” and why the film’s representation of the stunt community is so vital.

How did you each get into stunt work and become involved with “The Fall Guy?”

Logan Holladay: My dad was also a stuntman. It was never my goal to be a stuntman, but my dad was also a motorcycle racer. I loved motorcycles and I just wanted to be a dirt bike racer, and I wanted to try to be one of the best at it. Through all of that racing, I started doing photoshoots for different people. I was racing for Yamaha and Honda, then I started doing commercials with them. I was like, ‘I’ve raced a lot, and this seems like a lot of fun. I think I might just do this.’ I made a shift away from racing as I was getting a little bit burnt out, so I started doing stunts. I put it up, put everything I have into it. I treat it kind of like going into a race, and the only outcome I’m okay with is winning.

Ben Jenkin: I was actually on another show. I got a call from [stunt designer] Chris O’Hara. I said, ‘I’ve never done a fire burn. I’ve never been hit by a car before. I’d love to do both.’ And he’s like, ‘Good thing that they’re both in the script. You can do both.’ Perfect!

Troy Brown: The first time I heard about this fall was Chris O’Hara calling my dad [stunt performer Troy Brown Sr.] and asking for his availability. I was like, ‘My God, dude, you haven’t done high fall in like, 15 years.’ And he’s 65! Right after Christmas of 2022, me and my dad were sitting on the couch, and he just let out a sigh of relief and looked over and said, ‘Hey, you’re doing the fall now. I think you should do it. You’re ready.’ I’ve been doing high falls since I was super young. Learning the context of the fall, I just started crying because it was just such an amazing opportunity. I feel like all of the falls I’ve been doing since I was a kid just kind of culminated up to this point.

How do you get into the headspace to perform these tasks that could very well kill you? I freak out over a simple fender-bender!

Holladay: I think we’re just different types of people. I could go do it right now. I don’t need to prepare my headspace for it. I like to really make sure I know exactly what I’m doing, but that’s it. We like adrenaline! We come from action sports. Our entire lives have been spent scarring ourselves and getting a thrill in achieving something.

Logan Holladay
Logan Holladay on set of “The Fall Guy”

Logan, let’s break down your record-breaking eight-and-a-half cannon rolls in the film.

Holladay: I don’t know how I could ever top that! We didn’t think that I was gonna get a Guinness World Record. We were just trying to do the biggest, best stuff that’s ever been done. The best part is, it’s someone else’s turn now to go out there and beat that set. I understand why it’s been so long since that world record was set for seven rolls because it’s hard. When you get to about five or six rolls in a car, it is extremely hard to do more. It just takes a lot of speed and a lot of commitment. Everybody always talks about that cannon roll, but I also jumped a trophy truck 225 feet over a canyon. For me, that was even scarier. That was an even bigger feat!

Ben, how many times did you get lit on fire? And what did you think when you first read the fire scene, when Jody (Emily Blunt) forces Colt to perform the pyro stunt over and over again for revenge?

Jenkin: I was lit on fire eight times. It was once the first day and then seven the next day. When I first heard about it, I mean, it’s hilarious. How can you not like it? She’s so pissed off at him that she’s like, ‘I’m gonna make you do this thing that sucks.’ It hurts getting slammed against the wall and set on fire. And you’re full of sand. It’s uncomfortable. All stunt performers have been in that situation where you do something and you’re like, ‘God, I hope we don’t have to do that again because that really hurt.’

Ben Jenkin on the set of THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch
Ben Jenkin on the set of “The Fall Guy”

Troy, how did you pull off that helicopter fall during the film’s climax?

Brown: I didn’t even think that there was an airbag that existed that I could fall 150 feet into. The last time that my dad jumped into his airbag was in 2004 in Namibia, South Africa, in a movie called ‘Flight of the Phoenix.’ He sold that bag and left it there. He ended up finding the people that he sold it to, And they had just kept it in a box for the last 20 years. Universal had it shipped over to Sydney. I had to put some duct tape on it and sewed up a couple of things, but the material felt good. It was just a crazy thing for me, watching videos of that airbag since I was a super little kid, and then getting to like see it in person and jump into it.

Your dad was on set for the fall, right?

Brown: Yeah. He is still king of the high falls. Having him there was a big confidence booster. I’m holding on by my fingers to the fuselage and lining it up as good as I can see it. And then on the radio, I have my dad: ‘Turn two inches to your left. Turn back an inch. Okay, you’re gonna hit the bag. You’re good.’ Hearing that and knowing that he had been in that position so many times, was just a big thing for my head. He knows that I’m going to hit the bag, I know that I’m going to hit the bag, and I just have to do everything how I’ve trained to do it, and everything will work out. There were just so many personal levels having my dad there.

Jenkin: Everyone ran over. Everyone was crying.

Holladay: I cried!

Troy Brown Sr., Chris O'Hara, Troy Brown and David Leitch
Troy Brown Sr., Chris O’Hara, Troy Brown and David Leitch on set of “The Fall Guy.”

This movie really feels like a love letter to stunt performers. Why is it so important for a project like this to shine a light on stunt work?

Holladay: I think one of the reasons why it hasn’t been recognized is that for a very, very long time, actors would always say, ‘I do all my own stunts.’ They felt like they had to tell everybody that they’re actually the one that does this stuff.

You have an amazing actor, like Ryan Gosling, who could deliver the story like nobody else. So now we have that piece of the puzzle: then his character has to do big car stunts, or his character has to parkour. Well, Ryan spent his whole life acting, so he’s amazing at acting. But if you want to have these things at the highest level, you’ve got to bring in the professionals. So we all come together, and we make this great character.

Jenkin: Well, I think it goes hand in hand with the whole stunt industry being recognized. It’s, in my opinion, long overdue. We didn’t get into this to win awards, be famous, and be recognized. This whole thing is so new to us. We’ve never done press before in our lives! However, when you take a step back and think about it, every single department involved in the creative process of making these incredible movies deserves to be recognized.

I just want to say ‘thank you’ to people like David and [producer Kelly McCormick], Ryan and Emily and all the cast that are really shining such a positive spotlight on the stunt industry. It’s about time that some people get recognized for the danger. People are really risking their lives for the love of making movies.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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