Stunt Performer Spotlight: Alec Kossoff

Featured Interview With Stunt Performer: Alec Kossoff

Tell about yourself and your background! *

My background is in gymnastics/acrobatics. I started gymnastics at four years old and competed from age 7 - 19. At age 14 I found flying trapeze and became infatuated with that. As I continued pursuing flying trapeze, I started to perform. Now I work as a trampoline wall performer and stunt performer based out of NYC.

What inspired you to become a stunt performer?

The community first and foremost. I grew up in NYC as a gymnast, but on the weekends I used to travel hours to go to a parkour/tricking gym called Aviator. There I met some of the best people and developed some life-long relationships. It became a passion of mine to train with these people. As we got older and I moved away for school, I lost touch a bit with that community and got more involved with circus. When I came back to NYC, I got offered my first job on The Greatest Showman as an acrobat. On that set were people from the community of parkour and tricking I hadn't seen in years! A whole bunch of the stunt performers were people I grew up with. I knew then and there that this was the profession for me. A job where I get to be surrounded by supremely talented individuals who push me to grow both as a performer and as a person.

What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a stunt behind it?

My aerial awareness is something that I value immensely. Growing up as an acrobat, both as a trapeze artist and a trampoline wall performer, I've spent a lot of time in the air. It is such a huge asset for me in my work to be positionally aware. Falling generally, in my experience of it, is all about your ability to control your body in space in nuanced moments. That's something I've luckily been able to train for my whole life just because of my background.

What is the best part about being a stunt performer?

I think I touched on this above, but I value this community so much. It's not every day that you get to show up to work and be surrounded by some of the most hard-working, talented, and driven individuals on planet Earth. I am externally motivated. It's important for me to surround myself with people who will push each other to be better. This industry demands the best out of people, for the performance and for their safety. I love being part of that.  

Tell your all-time favorite stunt story!

I had a job on a TV show called Hunters. It wasn't a particularly difficult job -- I was run into a chain link fence and arrested. However, it was my first real experience with "acting". In the scene, I was a prisoner being converted to Nazi-ism. As I was being detained I had to yell "Jews will not replace us!", which I found ironic because I'm Jewish. When I got the sides I was pretty nervous because of how dark the material was. However, the stunt team that day was amazing and the actor was fun to work with. It made my job so easy. It really showed me how to make light of a day that could have been so dark and difficult. I went into the day cagey and nervous, and came out having an incredible experience.

What advice would you give other stunt performers?

Frankly, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give advice. However, here are a few things I've learned: 1. There is no secret to success in stunts. It's hard work, it's a grind, and it takes a large amount of dedication to pursue. 2. Don't ever lie about what you can/can't do. This industry is almost completely based on reputation. If you lie about your skillset, you will get a bad rep and work less. 3. I never got an opportunity to work for him, but I've been told what Jerry Hewitt used to say before the cameras roll and it's something I try to think about, especially because this industry can be stressful -- Remember to have fun.  

Anything else you'd like to tell the community about?

Not really. I'm just excited to meet anyone I haven't yet met!

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