The 2024 movie lineup is already pulling major stunts — literally! Inspired by the hit 1980s TV series, The Fall Guy hits the big screen in March and features Ryan Gosling as stuntman Colt Seavers, whose off-camera life gets as explosive as his onscreen persona.
Fresh off an almost career-ending accident, the battle-scarred stuntman is drafted back into service when the star of a megabudget studio movie — being directed by his ex, Jody Moreno, played by Emily Blunt — goes missing.
While the film’s ruthless producer (Hannah Waddingham) maneuvers to keep the disappearance of star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) a secret from the studio and the media, Colt performs the film’s most outrageous stunts while trying (with limited success) to charm his way back into Jody’s good graces. But as the mystery around the missing star deepens, Colt becomes entangled in a sinister, criminal plot that will push him to the edge of a fall more dangerous than any stunt.
Winston Duke, Stephanie Hsu and Teresa Palmer also star in the film.
Director David Leitch and producer Kelly McCormick are at the helm of the action comedy with their production company, 87North.
Blavity’s Shadow and Act spoke with the husband and wife duo about the movie and how their behind-the-scenes lives trickled into the action-comedy.
Leitch gave over 25 years to the stunt business before switching to the director role. Lee Majors’ role as the Colt in the original Fall Guy was one of the influences that made him get into stunt acting, eventually leading him to pick up the film for a reboot.
Speaking about things from the original show that inspired him for the film, Leitch explained, “The original is so fun, and it has that ‘behind-the-scenes’ immersive quality of making movies. I think what we’ve done now is take and give a contemporary version of this guy who is a little bit more from the stuntmen of my generation.”
He added that the inside jokes and small stories shared on set made their way into the film as well.
“The anecdotes of Ryan and Emily are also a major part,” he said. “Because when you work on films, you have tons of anecdotes and stories that are stranger than you know. Truth is stranger than fiction. And so it became really fun to dump all those ideas into The Fall Guy, where it all makes sense.”
Though he’s been in the business for so long, Leitch said he isn’t necessarily a perfectionist.
“It was really fun, as a former stuntman, to say, ‘This how you would do it. This is what you might say. This is how you may act,'” he said. “But as a director, it was easy to give the same notes to Emily. It comes from a real, genuine place. I didn’t have to do that much; these are really good actors. They’re rolling with these characters far more than I would ever need from them and they’re just so brilliant at their craft. It’s pretty humbling when you see Ryan and Emily performing a scene in front of your camera because they’re the best working actors right now.”
As good as the actors are, the couple have found the secret sauce for action films.
87North has been the production company behind several favorites, including Bullet Train, Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
“We are always willing to write and grow as long as we’re all making the same movie, if that makes sense,” McCormick said. “It’s freedom with that kind of collaboration. [David is] not afraid of anything being thrown at him and knows where he wants to go every scene. He allows people to feel really safe in the environment.”
Leitch added that his main requirement for any actor is to be “teachable.”
The modernized plot of The Fall Guy includes having Jody move from co-star to running the show as director.
“One of the things that we wanted to do was give Jody this opportunity to direct for the first time,” McCormick said. “And just as she’s getting this huge opportunity, this person she missed for a long time and had to let go of shows up. It leaves you wondering what will happen when these two things collide. Can she keep it together? Where will she draw that line so that she can still do her job? She has a lot of power and control in that space. And we really wanted that for Emily and for Jody.”
Leitch and McCormick agreed the camaraderie on the set added to the flow of the production despite having to escape combustible surroundings.
“There is a brotherhood in the stunt actors’ world. You may work with someone every day for months on set and then go off and never see them again for years,” Leitch explained. “But when you see them again, it’s all hugs and laughs. Winston and Ryan have great chemistry that shows through the screen. This movie shows that connection. It’s a crucial part of that world.”
Hobbs & Shaw co-writer Drew Pearce completed the screenplay of the film and serves as an executive producer. Gosling and Guymon Casady are also credited as producers.
Entertainment 360’s Geoff Shaevitz and the creator of the original The Fall Guy television series, Glen A. Larson, are also named as executive producers.
The Fall Guy hits theaters on March 1.
Check out the trailer below: