Stunt Performer Spotlight: Harry Holmes

Featured Interview With Stunt Performer: Harry Holmes

Tell about yourself and your background! *

Until I was 18, I had the privilege of traveling with my ARMY family. My mom was also a business woman, owning a successful nail salon in Daegu, South Korea where we had been stationed. It was in Korea where I found my passion for acting. It honestly found me because it was the beginning of my rebellious teenage years. Back then I was a punk skater and wanted to be a professional skater/Rockstar like most kids. At 13, all I wanted to do was get out of school. This involved skipping school, doing extra curriculars (sports). My parents had my brother and I in Tae Kwon Do school since the age of 5. I honestly hated it with a passion; hated going to class. I was confronted by a teacher of mine about our school’s Drama Club. Didn’t even know what that was. She told me that if I had gotten in through an audition process, I would be able to compete in the DODEA school’s Far East Drama festival. This is where government schools all around the world went to Japan for a week to compete in solo, duos and one act plays. That was all I needed to hear. Luckily, my goofy self got in and the rest was history. I was hooked. When I found out one can make a CAREER out of this, I was all in. I was told how difficult it was to be an actor in Hollywood, but all I knew is I loved telling stories, being on stage, and getting paid to travel. And they feed you?! Sign me up!

What inspired you to become a stunt performer?

I honestly never considered myself a stunt performer. I’m not nearly as cool as them. Those guys/gals really take a beating for their craft. I took a movement/stage combat class for my theatre major at Indiana University and realized, wait a minute, I know martial arts. I can implement those skills on camera. I honestly didn’t realize it was called ‘stunts’. I then began choreographing my own fights for my own and other student short films. I always loved staying in shape, practicing Tae Kwon do and fell in love with Jeet-Koon Do which led me to boxing. I love boxing. The older I get, the more I learn, as an actor, what my body is capable of, and what a professional stunt man is capable of.

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

My greatest skill would be combat. I enjoy coming up with choreography and performing fight scenes. I still have yet to learn precision driving. That’s next. I love cars. There’s a scene in the movie ‘Wanted’ with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy where Jolie spins the car in a 360 and scoops McAvoy. Seeing the bts of that was amazing. I very much want to learn track and drifting. I am hoping to be in the Fast and Furious franchise.

What is the best part about being a stunt performer?

The physicality. I honestly enjoy acting getting hit. Getting hit is what SELLS the hit. Then you add the sound effects. Movie magic. Nothing better than a great fight. I.e. Warrior, The Matrix, Ip Man (the best cinematography).The MOST important part is performing the stunts and not getting hurt. Safety first!

Tell your all-time favorite stunt story!

I did a tv show that involved wire work. I had never done wire work before. The director showed me what he wanted. The team told me they were a part of the stunt team FOR The Matrix which had me very nervous and excited. I discovered how tough and fun it was. Coordinating with the wire crew and timing everything was very fun to experience. I had to jump in the air, Matrix style, land a kick and my co-star had to throw me backwards making me do a backflip. WHAT. A. RUSH!! Talk about FOCUS! Amazing experience.

What advice would you give other stunt performers?

Start slow. Make sure to stretch. Keep that body limber. Make sure to stay connected with the other performers. If there is a mess up, with connection, your less likely to make actual contact. There’s a lot of acting involved IN stunt work. It’s not just movement. Study how the actor moves. How the character walks, body posture, gestures. Enhance the performance.

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

Filmmaking is a privilege. We get to play pretend and get PAID for it. Be a student in training and a master at work, but still willing to learn and take notes. Learn something new on every set. Be inclusive. Keep it fun!

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