Robert Downey Jr.’s Stunt Double, Glenn Foster, On Due Date And The Avengers

Posted by February 23, 2011 Comment

As Due Date approaches it’s UK release on DVD and Blu-ray, I was put in touch with Glenn Foster, Robert Downey Jr.’s regular stunt double. We talked about stunt work and doubling Robert in general, about the requirements for Due Date, and also about The Avengers, Glenn’s next project.

Here, then, are Five Things that Glenn told me.

1. Train stunts, Plane stunts and Automobile stunts

Due Date doesn’t seem like a film that’s going to require a lot of stunt work, not on the face of it. Certainly a comedy, Trains, Planes and Automobiles type storyline doesn’t seem to need many stunts. But, actually, the way it developed… well…

It was the same writers and director as The Hangover, and there were a number of slapstick action elements involved in that so it was really only a matter of time before they became part of this storyline as well. There were a couple of car chase sequences, the usual tripping and fallings. It’s definitely a slightly different frame of mind and approach to stuff we were doing on, say, Quantum of Solace or even Sherlock.

There’s a time and a place for real action, shall we call it, and also comedic value. Primarily I’ll be involved in the real action stuff and the lead up to it. Then the way it’s edited, showing for example, his reaction to something, that’s where the comedy comes in.

2. Working with Downey

Someone like Robert is so self assured, confident and comfortable in his own skin. He’d certainly let it be known if I was doing something he wasn’t happy about. I think this is why our relationship works, but with the approach I try to take to this, I find it much easier to become the imitator. I take a character like Sherlock Holmes and give it the Robert Downey Jr. spin when I’m asked to do something. It’s obviously something I’ve got a good leaning towards.

Robert is just an incredible performer. You can be chatting with him off camera one minute and then he’ll just flick a switch and go into whatever character he is playing on the day. Being able to work with someone at that level is a privilege. He’s up there with a handful of other people in the world right now who are at the top of their game.

It’s certainly a creative outlet for me to be involved with him. I’m having to develop a style, albeit an interpretation of what he would do. There are times he comes up to me and it really impresses him, something that we’ve done. I find it really rewarding that somebody of that stature give me a pat on the back.

3. Actors want recognition from the public, stuntmen don’t

In Quantum of Solace I was playing a role, and I really enjoyed that experience. I thought seriously about trying to break into the acting world. The reason I steered away from that, though, was that I got the opportunity to work with Robert. And being at the top of my tree in this field seemed so much more appealing to starting back down at the bottom.

I’ve asked this question in the past, about stunts being recognised in the Oscar realm, but someone enlightened me to the fact that were it a case that stunts were part of the Oscars, people might be, in order to win, really pushing the boundaries. Too far. It might just be upping the stakes too much. And the other thing, from my point of view, if you’re the kind of person who wants to be a stuntman, I don’t think the majority of us are particularly bothered about awards. If you were that bothered about that kind of show of public appreciation, I think you’d probably go into the acting world.

4. Danger! Danger!

There’s an element of danger pretty much every day when we’re at work. That’s why we do it and actors don’t. It’s really a question of how conceptualise danger, how you break it down, take it into its component parts, rehearse each individual component and then ultimately it all back together. The danger becomes minimised to such a point that, while it’s always there, it’s ever present, you are less aware of it and you can focus more on the performance. You’re always a little aware of it, and you’d be stupid not to be.

You develop this innate sense that something’s not quite right or something could go wrong. We’re always questioning things, and the day you stop doing this and become complacent, that’s when something happens. Accidents do happen for sure, but they also happen on the Rugby pitch, or on the high street. In our world it’s more of a scientific approach, and more about risk minimisation, not risk taking. A different approach to the stuntmen back in the 60s and 70s who were truly pushing boundaries and being hurt because of it.

5. The Avengers are assembling

The Avengers is due to kick off next month. There are teams here in new Mexico now, prepping and rehearsing. General rehearsals for the stunt team will start next month and filming will start in April. The stunt co-ordinator is a guy called R A Rondell, a big time American co-ordinator, very prolific. I know who the characters are, but I don’t know much about the story or the script and not really sure of what will be required of me. I’m sure Tony Stark will be up to lots of good stuff so there will be plenty for me to do.

Due Date is available on UK DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy triple triple pack from Monday, 28 January. The US DVDBlu-ray and BD-DVD-DC tripleare already available.

(Last Updated February 23, 2011 10:03 am )