Name ten action movies and you’re nearly guaranteed to hit one that Steve M. Davison starred in. No, mostly not delivering any pithy one-liners (though he has also acted): doing the explosion-laden, thankless work that is stunt coordinating (or stunt doubling, at which he also is an seasoned expert). Check out his IMDB page if you don’t believe us. That’s 166 titles, including some absolute classics like Behind Enemy Lines, Planet Terror, Bad Boys II, Gone in 60 Seconds, Scarface, and, most recently, the very stunt-filled A Good Day to Die Hard (now available on Blu-ray & DVD). The veteran badass took a break from his death-defying daily grind to chat with us about hairy moments on the job, getting into the stunt business, and working with big-name directors.
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Q. What’s one thing every man should know?
A. To listen and be patient.
Q. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
A. Staying cool — while sucking in water through a regulator after jumping a car off a pier and waiting at the bottom of the ocean for my rescue divers while trying not to drown.
Q. What are you working on right now?
A. I’m a stuntman for Captain America in the upcoming sequel.
Hardest thing I’ve ever done? Waiting at the bottom of the ocean for my rescue divers while trying not to drown.
Q. Name one thing you can’t live without.
A. My wife and my two girls.
Q: Who or what influences you?
A: There are plenty of action sequences — from films big and small — that we reference as great influences. Also, directors and writers.
Q. What are you reading right now?
A. Stolen Prey by John Sandford.
Q. It’s your last drink and meal on earth. What’ll it be?
A. Stone IPA beer and a steak from the Old Place restaurant.
Q. If you could go back and tell your 16 year old self something, what would you say?
A. To be patient.
Q. How do you want to be remembered?
A. As a good husband and father; as a good stunt coordinator and stunt performer.
Q. How does one get in to the stuntman/stunt coordination business?
A. It’s best to have a professional background in cars, motorcycles, fighting, gymnastics or extreme sports. The more you know the more you work. To become a stunt coordinator it takes time working on a lot of movie and TV projects to learn how to coordinate safely.
Q. You’ve worked on a ton of movies over your career. Do you have any particular favorites? Any favorites you still enjoy watching?
A. My top 5 would be: A Good Day to Die Hard, Scarface, Long Kiss Goodnight, Behind Enemy Lines and Lonesome Dove.
Q. What’s the craziest stunt you’ve planned or done?
A. The craziest planned stunt would be for A Good a Day to Die Hard — the car chase. Performed stunt: being on fire in the liquor store in From Dusk till Dawn.
Q. Has the trend of actors wanting to do their own stunts affected the business at all?
A. When you have actors that can do most of their own stunts it’s a great asset to getting the action done.
Q. You’ve worked with names like Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma and Michael Bay. How do their personalities affect how you approach a job?
A. They come with great knowledge and experience. It’s an honor to work with them.
Q. What do you do to stay healthy and avoid injury?
A. Surfing, playing pickup basketball and team roping are my favorites.
Q. What do you like to do when you aren’t stuntin’?
A. I enjoy hanging out with my family and surfing, playing basketball, roping, golfing and skiing. Also, any activity with my friends, who are also stuntmen.
Q. Are there any particular products you love or swear by, work related or personal?
A. I’m not endorsed by any products — I like all the latest gear or products in whatever I’m doing.
Q. How do you improve as a stuntman?
A. I’m always watching and learning from new action in the latest films, seeking out ways to accomplish impossible-looking stunts.