After snagging roles doubling as James Bond, Batman, Thor and the Green Lantern, and doing work in Inception and the last two Harry Potter films, you might be able to say Brit-born Bobby Holland Hanton has kept busy.
So when Hollywood’s top stuntman treats himself to an Aston Martin DB9 for his 30th, we think it’s grounds to catch up with the guy.
How did you get started in stunt work?
Like a few guys in the industry, I started in gymnastics at a young age, at about 4, but gave it up at 17. So it was quite a long career already.
So did you always have your sights set on being a stuntman?
Actually, after gymnastics I was at a bit of a crossroads. I wasn’t sure what to do. I’ve always had a passion for football or what you guys call soccer and went on to play semipro for Fareham Town FC.
But when I was 19, it was actually an ad in the paper for audition for a high-diving stunt show at Lego Land in Windsor. I got the part and then started doing live shows, stunt shows and commercials. And I thought, “Why don’t I try my hand in stunts in films?”
Back to Bond. Were you surprised to land such a massive gig right away?
Yea, in the beginning I wasn’t sure if it was true or not. At 23, my first audition and first job in film was Quantum of Solace, doubling for Daniel Craig as James Bond. I was kind of pinching myself. To be auditioning and stunt doubling for the lead role in the biggest action movie in history was kind of… well it didn’t feel real at the time.
What is like to work with the biggest stars in Hollywood?
What’s great about it is that they are these superstars, people look up to them, and are in the media, but they’re just regular people. Down-to-earth, like to have fun and are very humble.
How long have you been doing stunt work?
My first movie was in 2008 when I was 23… and I’m now 30 so seven years in film. But I’ve been performing in live shows and commercials from the age of 19.
You got a taste for the DB9 on the set of 007 and then went out and got one yourself. Was the Aston a no-brainer or were you looking at other cars?
The Maserati and Bentley Continental GT were a close second, but for me the DB9, for me, is the one that really stands out. But when I saw the DB9… I simply said to myself, “This is the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen.”
When I was 23, it was a bit of a pipe dream, but for my 30th, I was in a position to treat myself. And that was an achievement in itself: to go from wanting it as a dream car seven years ago to having one as a daily driver.
With the DB9 not short on power, is it hard to go from driving like 007 to driving like the rest of us?
Let me tell you… the car is very powerful. I make sure to drive it very pedestrian. It’s a small car with a 6.0-liter V12. You’ve got to be careful driving it and wary on wet English roads. It’s definitely got some power in it.
So you’re friends with ex-Stig, Ben Collins. Have you convinced him to be your driving instructor?
I’ve got a little bit of down time in September and he’s been promising me he’ll take me out and teach me his ways. Driving lessons from the Stig. I want to hold him to that!
Having doubled for characters like Bruce Wayne and James Bond, what’s life like behind the scenes for Bobby Holland Hanton?
I have a routine that I follow to help stay focused through the strict training and movie shoots. And between all the stunts, weeks of strict training and dieting, and long days I work with Dove Men+Care so that the actors don’t think I’m odd and smelly.
But one day out of the week, I make sure to do nothing but relax, eat what I want, and have the occasional pint. I’m strict during the week, but that’s the day I look forward to.
Is there chance we’ll see you headlining your own summer blockbuster anytime soon?
At the moment, I’m fully focused on stunt work. I’m very lucky in the way that I get to do what the big stars do and be in films but don’t have the media circus on my back all the time. It’s great to have that privacy. But I do love the directing side of things. Going from shoot to shoot and coordinating stunts is my passion. So maybe down the line I’ll look into the directing side of things.
- Posted August 12, 2014
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