Everyone always tells you to suspend your disbelief when you’re watching a movie—otherwise, you’ll spend the entire time concentrating on all the “tricks” and not the story itself. For instance, it can be distracting to watch E.T. when you know the titular, lovable alien is actually just a puppet. And Jurassic Park is no longer that scary once you realize the dinosaurs are just a mix of animatronics and computer-generated imagery.
In fact, there’s a lot of illusion in moviemaking, and stunts are no exception. Even the coolest action star can’t risk pulling off all of those dangerous moves themselves, right? As much as we’d love to believe that Chris Evans is as strong and athletically adept as Captain America, he’s not (sorry, Chris), and there’s someone else who deserves some of the credit. So, without further ado, meet 23 of the world’s best superhero stunt doubles!
1. William Spencer was Andrew Garfield’s stunt double for both 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man and 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He first got into stunt work as a skateboarder, even earning the nickname of The Skate Ninja.
2. Ingrid Kleinig served as Margot Robbie’s stunt double for Harley Quinn during the filming of Suicide Squad. The two reportedly got along quite well, and even held a competition to see who could hold their breath underwater the longest.
3. Albert Valladares was lucky enough to play the two most iconic superheroes in the history of the genre in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, when he served as the stunt double for both title characters!
4. Mike Runyard has been Michael Douglas’ stunt double for 28 years, so it was no surprise that he was tapped for Douglas’ major role as Hank Pym in Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man as well.
6. Alex Armbruster served as the stunt double for Jay Hernandez, who played the fiery anti-hero El Diablo in 2016’s Suicide Squad. He’s had plenty of other high-profile credits as well.
7. Will Erichson served as Ryan Reynolds’ stunt double for the R-rated superhero comedy Deadpool, in which Reynolds plays the titular, wisecracking antihero formerly known as Wade Wilson.
8. Buster Reeves served as Tom Hardy’s stunt double in The Dark Knight Rises, in which Hardy played the supervillain Bane. He also looks remarkably similar to the recognizable actor! Watch out, Tom!
9. Richard Bradshaw played Wolverine as Hugh Jackman’s stunt double in several X-Men films, including X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
10. The 1984 Supergirl film starring Helen Slater in the title role is not particularly well-remembered, but that didn’t stop Slater’s stunt double, Tracey Eddon, from having a great career! Eddon has worked as a stunt performer in such notable films as Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, Labyrinth, Mission: Impossible, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
11. Tony McFarr was Peter Quill/Star-Lord in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, having already been Chris Pratt’s stunt double in 2015’s Jurassic World and 2016’s Passengers.
12. Aaron Toney has served as Anthony Mackie’s stunt double in several films since 2012’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He also performed stunts as Sam Wilson, otherwise known as The Falcon, in The Avengers films!
13. James Young doubled for Sebastion Stan as Bucky Barnes, also known as The Winter Soldier, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which turned out to be his “big break” as a stuntman.
14. In one of a few superhero roles, Scott Leva was Dean Cain’s stunt double for the 1990s television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, in which Cain played Clark Kent/Superman.
15. Bobby Holland Hanton was not only the stunt double for Chris Hemsworth as Thor, but he also doubled for Ryan Reynolds in the title role of Green Lantern and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises!
16. Sam Hargrave doubled for Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers in such films as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War.
17. “For all you ladies that need a reason to see #Avengers, here’s the Brutha IN the Ironman suit,” tweeted Samuel L. Jackson in 2012. “Clay Fontenot!” It’s true: Robert Downey Jr. barely even steps into his Iron Man armor anymore! That’s all Clay!
18. Renae Moneymaker has been Jennifer Lawrence’s stunt double since The Hunger Games, so of course she had to be painted blue to do Mystique’s stunt work in a few X-Men films!
19. Heidi Moneymaker separated a joint in her collarbone after diving through a window during the filming of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which she doubled for Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.
20. Jeannie Epper doubled as Linda Carter for the title role in the 1970s Wonder Woman television show. She was one of the few woman doing stunts in the entertainment industry at the time.
21. Damien Walters doubled for Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Dave Lizewski in the title role of Kick-Ass, based on the comic book miniseries by writer Mark Millar and artist John Romita Jr.
22. Kelly Richardson served as Karen Gillan’s stunt double for the role of Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. With all that blue makeup, they practically look identical to each other!
23. It may sound somewhat confusing, but Rob de Groot was Dave Bautista’s stunt double as Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. For obvious reasons, you’d think he’d double for Vin Diesel as Groot, the walking, talking tree!
These stunt doubles certainly lead fascinating lives, even if they are quite dangerous. Let’s hope that they keep making movie magic, and staying safe while doing it!