The real-life ‘Fall Guys’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

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Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in “Fall Guy” | Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures International

The “Fall Guy” is all about celebrating cinema’s unsung heroes— here are some who have risked and lost their lives for the big screen



Following a successful year with 2023’s biggest titles, “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie,” Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt team up for a cinematic ode to the big screen’s unsung heroes in “Fall Guy.”

The latest from Universal Pictures International is directed by former stuntman and director David Leitch, who was behind blockbuster hits such as “Bullet Train,” “Deadpool 2,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.” 

“Fall Guy” follows Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), a stuntman reeling from a career-threatening on-set injury that risked both his life and self-confidence, as he sets out to both reclaim the heart of his ex, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) and save her directorial debut. 

READ: Find out why ‘The Fall Guy,’ starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, is a movie you shouldn’t miss

ryan gosling emily blunt
Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) and Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt)

Beyond Gosling’s effortless comedic chops and his natural charisma with Blunt, the film takes viewers behind the scenes and into the day-to-day grind of filming a movie. More specifically, the focus is placed on the stunts, highlighting not only the complexity of these spectacles but also giving us a first-person point of view of the stunt performers themselves—fully exhibiting the fear and anxiety we don’t normally associate with these otherwise fearless daredevils.

The “Fall Guy” is all about celebrating cinema’s unsung heroes, here are some who have risked and lost their lives for the big screen.

Dante Varona

These days, thanks to how far CGI technology has come over the years, it’s easy to doubt the veracity of stunts. But when we’re talking about a film done before the 2000s, odds are, they were really done sans CGI.

Dante Varona, otherwise regarded as the “King of Stunts” is best known for jumping off the San Juanico Bridge for the 1981 film, “Hari ng Stunt.” Aside from being remembered as former President Ferdinand Marcos’ gift for then First Lady Imelda Marcos, it is one of the longest bridges in the Philippines, with a length of 2,164 meters, connecting Samar to Leyte across the San Juanico Strait. The bridge stands 41 meters above the sea.

Andy Lora

Andy Lora is a member of the stuntman group SOS Daredevils, whose members include the likes of Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) and Lito Lapid. He has appeared in several FPJ productions. In the 1981 film “Kumander Surot,” he together with fellow stuntmen Ronald Arsenan and Rey “Manok” jumped off Jones Bridge in Manila.

READ: Leap of faith

Unfortunately, one of them did not know how to swim and dragged the other down as well. Lora tried to save them but also nearly drowned—if not for the rescue boat nearby. He also almost lost his vision after a gun’s muzzle hit him in the eye while shooting “Mariposang Dagat.”

Kun Liu

At 26 years old, the Beijing native was killed during the filming of “The Expendables 2” at the Ognyanovo dam in Bulgaria. He was shooting a stunt on a rubber boat with the presence of an on-set explosion nearby. Jet Li reportedly donated around $750,000 to the family of Kun.

John Bernecker

Then 33-year-old John Bernecker passed away on Jul. 12, 2017 after falling headfirst from a balcony on the set of “The Walking Dead.” The relatively simple (by stunt standards) 22-foot fall went horribly wrong as Bernecker missed the crash pad by mere inches. 

He was supposed to go over a railing and down the placed cushion. However, during the take, he attempted to abort the fall by grabbing onto the railing—unfortunately changing his intended trajectory. The Atlanta jury awarded the Bernecker family $8.6 million in damages.

Joi Harris


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In August 2017, Joi Harris passed away on the set of “Deadpool 2” when she crashed through the window of a nearby building during a stunt. The plan was for Harris to ride a motorcycle down a ramp placed on a set of stairs, but she lost control, propelling her alongside the bike to the building. This was her first movie stunt. 

20th Century Fox reportedly settled with Harris’ family and TCF Vancouver Productions LTD was slapped with a $289,562 fine by WorkSafeBC.

Tom Cruise

We often glorify A-listers—and rightfully so—for performing their own stunts. And yet with all the preparation in the world, not even Hollywood’s ageless daredevil is safe from things going wrong. One of Tom Cruise’s most famous accidents was for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” during Ethan Hunt’s chase with Henry Cavill’s August Walker. The scene involved Cruise jumping across a building, but he unfortunately misplaced his foot, hitting the wall and subsequently breaking his ankle.

Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan’s history with on-set injuries is well-documented. But one of his worst ones was on the set of “Armour of God” when the famed martial artist fell between 20 to 40 feet and hit his head on a rock, resulting in a fractured skull, brain hemorrhage, and hearing loss.

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