Episode 1: Stuntman

What do you love most about your profession?
Avery: Not knowing what I’m going to be doing tomorrow.

What would you say is the biggest challenge in your line of work?
Avery: I think for most stunt people, it’s failure — not being able to deliver on the job they were hired for. For instance, say I’m hired by a company to come out and roll a car or do some car work like I did on any of the “Batman” movies that we worked on, that company spends a lot of money, they bring you out there, they pay you for rehearsals for five weeks and they ask you to do the job on a particular night where there’s millions of dollars being spent. In that case, the fear of failure and not being able to complete the job is probably our greatest challenge I think.

How do you stay safe in your stunt work?
Avery: Being prepared and spending as much time as you can in rehearsals for that stunt. Plus, just recognizing what can go wrong with a stunt and how can we alleviate and minimize the challenge because it’s not so much doing the stunt as it’s having to do it over and over again. We need to make sure as coordinators especially that we design the stunt with the director that it’s something that can be repeated and still keep our stunt people safe.

So tell me, what was it like working with Richard Hammond?
Avery: I really, really enjoyed working with him. He would be a great stuntman, there’s no doubt in my mind. He’s in great physical shape and a lot of the things he had to do mentally to prepare himself to do some of these gags, which were all major gags, he did it. They were at the bottom level of a major gag, but rolling a car, putting yourself on fire, and doing live falls, and doing a fight with three guys… that takes a lot of courage.

As you know, Richard is afraid of heights. How do you think he handled his fear when taking on stunts seen in the show?
Avery: There are a lot of stunt people who are afraid of heights, and I am too. But sometimes it’s required to overcome your fears if you want to make a living doing all the different type of gags. There are certain stunt people that do certain types of gags. Maybe they can do fights really well but they can’t drive a car or ride a motorcycle. Richard is a guy, I think, who would be able to do it all. He was awesome and we had a lot of fun.

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