‘The Fall Guy’ Debuts First-Ever Stunt Designer Credit for Chris O’Hara

The new credit was created to “reflect the artistic contribution of stunt coordinators who serve as creative architects”

The Fall Guy
Universal

“The Fall Guy,” the highly anticipated and ridiculously fun new action movie starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, arrives in theaters on May 3.

The movie, about a stunt man (Gosling) who gets embroiled in a mystery concerning the star he’s supposed to double, also comes with a new credit. Chris O’Hara, president of Stunts Unlimited, renowned stunt coordinator and second unit director, will receive the industry’s first-ever film credit of “Stunt Designer” on the 87North and Universal Pictures production.

The official press release notes that O’Hara’s “position as a production head on set is traditionally called ‘Stunt Coordinator,’ which is an official Screen Actors Guild credit also recognized by the Directors Guild of America. This addition of the ‘Stunt Designer’ moniker better encompasses the multifaceted nature of the profession.” Hopefully this also allows for a more direct line to the highly sought-after Oscar category for stunts (one of the stumbling blocks has been choosing who to actually nominate in the category).

87North is the production company run by David Leitch and producer Kelly McCormick. They championed and initiated the Stunt Designer credit “not only to acknowledge O’Hara’s extraordinary work on’ The Fall Guy,’ but also to accurately reflect the high-level artistic contribution of world-class stunt coordinators like O’Hara. These are artists who do more than coordinate the logistics of stunts; they design and create them.”

“Stunt Designers are the creative architects behind fight scenes, high falls and more, and deserve to be recognized for the creative leadership of their contributions,” Leitch said in an official statement. “Universal’s decision to allow Kelly and me to add ‘Stunt Designer’ to Chris’ credit on ‘The Fall Guy’ marks a groundbreaking move for a major studio. We hope this will pave the way for the stunts industry to get the recognition it deserves.”

To achieve the new credit, McCormick and the 87North team contacted the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and Directors Guild of America (DGA) in collaboration with Universal.

“Generally, it’s the Stunt Department’s job to be invisible on screen, but during a production, it literally touches all other departments on set,” McCormick said in an official statement. “For ‘The Fall Guy’ especially, David and I felt it was crucial to highlight the artistic and technical aspects of this craft. We proposed the addition of the word ‘Designer’ to the role to properly define the job and reflect Chris’ creative contribution on ‘The Fall Guy’ production, which he wields on every production when he is hired at the current stunt industry title of ‘Coordinator.’”

O’Hara has been conducting stunts since the early 1990s, and has worked on everything from “Pearl Harbor” and the two original “Matrix” sequels to “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” as well as “John Wick,” “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” “Free Guy” and “Bullet Train.”

“The Fall Guy” is an absolute love letter to the stunt community and O’Hara can actually be seen (as himself!) in the film’s big opening sequence. It makes perfect sense for a film so indebted to the world of stunt performers and coordinators to create this new credit.

“The Fall Guy” hits theaters May 3.

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