Stunt Performer Spotlight: Bob Pelletier

Tell about yourself, Bob!

I was born and raised in Chester, Vermont - a small town with a total population of around 4,000 people. I didn’t have many friends growing up so I mainly kept to myself, playing with my action figures and watching an unhealthy amount of TV and film. They were a combination of Power Rangers, Star Wars and westerns starring Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.

At the age of 13, I began TaeKwonDo after watching THE MATRIX and achieved a 3rd degree black belt rank. With the assistance of my instructor I began the transition in mixed martial arts where my main focus lies today, training in boxing, muay thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In college I studied theatre arts and performed in some school plays and upon completion of college I joined the United States Air Force. I was trained in basic weapons handling and military tactics and did a deployment to Afghanistan. Upon my completion of service I went back to school to study film and television and was able to finally make it down to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a career in stunts.

What inspired you to become a stunt person?

I began martial arts after watching THE MATRIX and have always loved not only watching the action scenes but understanding how they were created by watching various behind the scenes featurettes and interviews from the performers and coordinators.

I guess before I graduated high school I decided to pursue a career in it. It also combined my loves of fitness, martial arts and filmmaking into one solid career.

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

Getting into boxing and martial arts was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Through these disciplines which require a certain amount of memorization and muscle memory when it comes to not only traditional Kata patterns but also Mitt and punch combos.

These various styles continue to assist me to build up my muscle memory to help understand multiple counts in fight sequences as well as spacing and timing when it comes to performing them on the day.

What is the best part about being a stunt performer?

Some of my favorite things within the stunt world is understanding how a scene was made. From the conception of the idea to the training to performing on the day of. For us we are fortunate to be a part of such an in depth process not only once but many times throughout our careers.

We also get to play a multitude of characters, oftentimes within the same production. One day we could be playing a henchman and the next we could be doubling the lead in the film. This career provides us with so many opportunities when it comes to performing it is hard to believe it exists.

Tell your all-time personal favorite stunt story!

One of the best experiences I’ve had was when I went out to Seattle Washington to train at the International Stunt School run by David Boushey where they taught us the basics of performing and where we filmed our own fight scenes which touched upon one vs one, two vs one and all the way up until we staged our own group fight.

We learned the basics of wire work and received a wealth of knowledge from a rotating staff of professional performers who came in and taught us what they knew not only about stunts but the industry as well. It was a spectacular time and I’m constantly meeting other professionals who began their careers there as well.

What advice would you give other stunt people?

Connections are really a massive part of this industry and I honestly probably wouldn’t be in Georgia right now if I didn’t contact a friend who knew someone who knew another person renting out rooms who also happens to be an established stunt performer as well.

Go out to functions, try to find gyms where people in the industry train and also if you’re shy or feel uncomfortable promoting yourself you will have to find a way to get over it. A performer needs to be able to introduce themselves and carry on a conversation if they want to get ahead.

Anything else you would like to tell the community about?

Being a military veteran it is important that other members are able to find work outside of the military but also find coping mechanisms for mental health issues they might be suffering from. I’ve supported the use of art as a therapeutic tool and it’s always great to hear about film/tv productions giving veterans an opportunity to work but theatre groups as well.

One story I took to heart was when the Los Angeles Veterans in Arts program in association with the LA Veterans Association as well as Tom Hanks put on a Shakespeare in the park rendition of Henry IV and how a majority of those crew members working on the production were in fact military members.

Tom Hanks in Shakespeare's Henry IV: Built By Veterans:

Some veterans stated that working on this production helped them with their mental health issues they’ve been suffering from for a long while and provided them with an incredible opportunity to work when not too long ago some were suffering from a multitude of problems from drug addiction to homelessness.

Through their dedication they were able to build what many in the production felt was one of the finest theatres they’ve ever had the pleasure of

performing in.

PS. The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in football!

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