What inspired you to become a stunt person?
As a kid, I would always watch Chuck Norris movies with my dad. I would tell him how much I wanted to be like the guys in those movies. He assumed I wanted to be an actor, but I really wanted to be one of the guys getting thrown around and beat up.
I was always a daring kid and loved taking risks. Most of the time, I was scaring my parents with the crazy things I would do. Between jumping off of houses, skateboarding in the pool in our backyard, or doing backflips around the house, I definitely kept my parents on their toes.
I always knew that I wanted a job that allowed me to use these talents and keep me active.
What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a story behind it?
I have always been pretty athletic and usually catch up on things pretty quickly. I think this has allowed me to be a pretty well rounded stuntman and believe this is probably my greatest skill.
Someone can explain something to me or show me something and I can usually figure it out pretty quickly.
What is the best part about being a stunt performer?
At a young age, my parents discovered I was dyslexic which caused me to really struggle in school. Many times I felt like I would never amount to anything, because I couldn’t keep up in the classroom. I knew I was athletic but didn’t see a future for myself with my talents.
When I became a stuntman, it was the first time I really felt like my gifts were useful and important. I’m still in shock that my job allows me to do what I love and also support my family. When I come home from working on a set, I feel exhausted but fulfilled. My wife laughs at me because she says, “You didn’t go to work today. You went and played around with your friends.” In a sense, she is right. I really love what I do.
What advice would you give other stunt people?
In the beginning of my stunt career, I would get really discouraged when I wasn’t working. I felt like I had the talent but just couldn’t get a job. A mentor of mine, Erik Betts, really encouraged to me to use those times to focus on developing my skills and becoming a well rounded stunt performer.
I would also use that time to focus on my family and what’s important in my life. I love stunts, but it’s what I do, not who I am. If you are serious about stunts, you will give 110% to this job every day.
Whether it’s training, networking, or working on a set, you are always a stunt performer. Don’t give up during those dry seasons.
Anything else you would like to tell the community about?
Starting stunts 12 years ago, I could have never imagined the life this job has given me. I’m not just talking about the financial stability or the work. I have met so many amazing people through this community who have mentored me, helped me hold my head up when I was down, encouraged me, and been by my side through it all.
I cannot even begin to describe the amazing people and friendships I have made through theses years as a stunt performer. Without the support of this community and, of course, my wife and kids, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My wife has held it down for me many times when I have been away on set. An hour after my wife gave birth to my daughter Zoë, I had to leave to go work on a show. She never complained once. She has always supported me like that.
My kids are my biggest fans and, without them, I couldn’t do any of this. I pray that God continues to bless my career and I can continue to do stunts for many years to come. Stunts is such a blessing to me and my family.
Tell your all-time personal favorite stunt story!
One of my favorite stunt jobs was working on the Blue Man Group at the Hollywood Bowl for TJ White. They wanted me to do a decelerator from the top of the bowl. I’m not going to lie, that was probably the most nervous I have ever been on a job.
I knew I was in good hands, but that was really high up. We had to practice the fall multiple times and do quite a bit of tweaking to get it right. To this day, I still can’t believe I did that.
A close second runner up is a job I did for a Rihanna music video, where I was lit on fire. I was sort of a love interest in that video. I had to do a quick change on set and Rihanna walked in on me. She was definitely checking your boy out.
Stunt Players Directory: https://www.stuntplayers.com/player/lance-jemison/
Stunts Unlimited: https://directory.stuntsunlimited.com/profile/lance-jemison/