Clay Donahue Fontenot: One of the Most 'Sought-After' Stuntmen
Arts and Culture Career

Risk and Reward: Clay Donahue Fontenot, One of the Most ‘Sought-After’ Stuntmen in the Business

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Clay Donahue Fontenot is one of the most sought-after stuntmen in Hollywood (Image: Fontenot)
Fontenot as Django in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (Image: Fontenot)

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His Jamie Foxx movie collaborations include, “Django Unchained“and “The Amazing Spiderman 2” which is already playing in theaters. Another movie, “Horrible Bosses,” will reportedly start playing in theaters this fall.

For Fontenot, jumping off buildings or planes or trains or automobiles, running on top of moving trains, sliding underneath moving cars, flipping and crashing cars and falling off speeding motorcycles are all just another day at the office.

It’s the job—something a majority of actors and movie stars are unable to do, even if they wanted to, because of insurance liabilities.

Actors that commit to a major movie project are required to sign insurance policies that govern and restrict their activity during the duration of the filming. If there are any mishaps on set, production shuts down. As imagined, it increases production overhead,  driving up costs.

Most traditional film insurance packages will not cover stunts or gags. That’s when the stunt world takes center stage to do the heavy lifting—a peculiar arrangement of need and supply.

“They hire us to do the performing. When it’s either a profile shot or it’s shot from the back, or from the side or if you look enough like your double, a lot of times they would shoot you straight on,” Fontenot explains. “On Django, I did a lot of the horseback stuff. I also did a fight sequence between two Mandingo slave fighters. I’m the guy who got killed. Dying is one of my specialties. It helps me make a fantastic living.”

Although there have been some close shaves, two particular gags stand out to Fontenot as the craziest and most nerve-wracking respectively.

“I recently worked on R.I.P.D with Ryan Reynolds, and I did a pretty good car turnover in that with a cannon. They put a cannon in the car and a button in the driver’s hand, and we drove through a mark. When we pushed the button, the cannon fired and flipped the car through the air. The movie didn’t do too well, but it was a really good gag.”

Fontenot also describes a more chilling kind of danger.

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