"I am what I do" - Melissa Stubbs
Talk about women in the world of stunts and it's only a matter of minutes before her name comes up. Talk about the men and her name still comes up within minutes. There are specific stunts only she can do. She was worked on over a hundred and fifty films and she started by busting her ass for free. That's right. At the age of 17, this Vancouver-born would show up to any and all productions filming in the city and volunteer her services. There is a lot of sacrifice if you want to break into this industry and it seems like she could have written the book on it.
It didn't matter whether it was pouring rain (you may have heard about the rain up here - it's all true), it didn't matter what the stunt was - or if she would just be helping the stunt team or working as an extra, it didn't matter that she had to work out and train extremely hard everyday - nothing stopped her. She knew what she wanted to do and she set out to work hard and get it. She is the one and only, Melissa Stubbs.
Kick boxing, running the Grouse Grind (for those of you not familiar with Vancouver, it is on Grouse Mountain, it is pretty much straight up the side of a very steep mountain - kind of like what the cenobites would recommend), horse back riding, motorcross, and jetskiing are how she rigorously trained to be the best. She spent everything on expensive equipment to train more - to be a stunt driver, to have the skills to pull off extreme stunts, and to put herself in the best possible shape and skill level to do what she loved. And it payed off. Her dedication and work ethic got noticed by BC pioneer stuntwoman, Betty Thomas. She would later give Melissa one of her first big stunt jobs - falling out of a top window of the Vancouver Art Gallery while doubling for Donna Mills.
”She was always turning up on set and I used to wonder, ‘isn’t this girl going to leave us alone?’ She had a mission and wasn’t going to give up no matter what. I admired her tenacity, and knew that she was going to succeed.” -Betty Thomas (on Melissa Stubbs)
The first stunt job she landed was doubling for Kelly Hu in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 8 and that was just the start. It's her training, professionalism, and drive that kept her working. She has since worked on films like: KNIGHT MOVES, ALIVE, LOOK WHOSE TALKING NOW?, TIMECOP, LEGENDS OF THE FALL, ASSASSINS, JUMANJI, HAPPY GILMORE, BORDELLO OF BLOOD, ROMEO + JULIET, DANTE'S PEAK, BATMAN & ROBIN, DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, LAKE PLACID, DOUBLE JEOPARDY, FINAL DESTINATION, ROMEO MUST DIE, DUETS, THE SIXTH DAY, SAVING SILVERMAN, ALONG CAME A SPIDER, X2, BONES, FINAL DESTINATION 2, THE LAST SUMARI, NEW YORK MINUTE, SCOOBY DOO 2, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE, ELEKTRA, MR & MRS. SMITH, LAND OF THE DEAD, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE, FIDO, FF2: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, GOOD LUCK CHUCK, RUSH HOUR 3, WAR, X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, YOUTH IN REVOLT, 2012, INCEPTION, and SALT - just to name a few.
She has since teamed up with colleague and friend Mike “Mitch” Mitchell to form M&M Stunt Rentals and M&M Studio Services. Does that name sound familiar? Well, M&M Studios were kind enough to let us film parts of DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK at their location. If you have worked in Vancouver in film, you've at least heard of how instinctively and generously Melissa gives back to the film community. I have yet to meet this remarkable woman, but I have been on set in her home when she donated it as a location to a friend (our teacher who even came on to coordinate on DHIAT, the Lauro 'Lash' Chartrand) to film in. Badass and kind.
You can see her and her work making the coolest and best sequences in films. You also can check her out on her site - ACTIONGIRLFILMS.COM.
She is the queen of ass-kicking, taking hard knocks, doing the 'impossible', and creating memorable 'holy shit' sequences in films that you'll be rewinding to watch over and over again as a 2 Unit Director, Stunt Coordinator, Fight Choreographer, and Stunt Performer. In closing, Melissa Stubbs rocks. Hard. Maybe the rewinding commence.