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‘The Fall Guy’ Exclusive: You Won’t Believe The Crazy Back Story Winston Duke Created For His Role!


We’re just a day away from the arrival of Universal Pictures stuntacular filmThe Fall Guy, an action-packed romantic comedy starring Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Hannah Waddingham, Aaron Taylor Johnson and Winston Duke.

The Fall Guy production stills

Source: Courtesy / Universal Pictures

Gosling stars as Colt Seavers, a battle-scarred stuntman who, having left the business a year earlier to focus on both his physical and mental health, is drafted back into service when the star of a mega-budget studio movie—being directed by his ex, Jody Moreno, played by Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt —goes missing. While the film’s ruthless producer (Emmy winner Hannah Waddingham), maneuvers to keep the disappearance of star Tom Ryder (Golden Globe winner 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 will find himself ensnared in a sinister, criminal plot that will push him to the edge of a fall more dangerous than any stunt.

Inspired by the hit 1980s TV series, The Fall Guy also stars Winston Duke and Academy Award® nominee Stephanie Hsu.

Speaking of Winston Duke… our Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden sat down with Winston Duke ahead of The Fall Guy’s release. Duke’s role as stunt coordinator Dan Tucker calls for a lot of scenes with Ryan Gosling so we had to ask what it was like playing the guy who consistently shows up for Colt Seavers, whether for a stunt, a catch fade or some movie trivia.

“Easily a dream come true,” Duke told GlobalGrind. “I’ve been a big fan of Ryan for a really long time — watching movies, TV shows, Young Hercules, the Mouseketeers — him singing and dancing… and it was just amazing to meet him and then immediately we’re supposed to be this best friend duo. The connection was immediate, so when it came to doing the fight scenes we were just spitballing a lot of stuff. A lot of things that you do don’t make it into the film, but it still imbues those moments with a lot of fun and connection. I think that’s what people see, so those moments were a lot of fun. It was a lot of improvisation — other than the stunts. The stunts were really well planned out, but it was great.”

The Fall Guy production stills

Source: Eric Laciste / Universal Pictures

We don’t know much about the stunt community, but we have read our fair share of stories about the challenges that Black stunt men and women have faced in Hollywood so we had to ask Winston what it meant for him representation-wise to tackle the role of a stunt coordinator.

“I honestly didn’t think of his race deeply in this context,” Duke confessed. “It wasn’t something that was very much referenced, and even in the improvisation of the scenes there wasn’t a lot of space where it felt like a place to even have the conversation, even though we were shooting in in Australia.”

“I think it’s just something that I wear,” Duke continued. “Blackness isn’t something that we need to scream. It’s just on our skin, right? So it’s imbued, it’s inside everything. It meant a lot to just be present and be a part of this this cast overall and then what was easy for me was, for me to understand the conversation around representation for the stunts community. I was like, ‘I get it! Yes! I understand why representation matters. Yes I understand why recognition matters.’ I understand why it shouldn’t just be put out there, another kitsch word. It has to be actioned. It has to be supported, because it’s the recognition the impact of the action that’s going to change people’s lives. It’s going to create more bold creatives to try to change what they’re doing, and change that genre. It’s going to create new ways of holding people accountable so there aren’t as many safety incidents because there’s more oversight. That happens by shining a spotlight so that argument made meant so much to me and made so much sense that I got it really quickly and it’s easy to have this conversation. So overall it wasn’t something that I shouted from the mountain, but I got it really quickly.”

Our favorite part of the interview was when we asked Winston Duke about the back story he created for Dan Tucker.

“I did a lot of different things to try to imbue a lot of meaning into him,” Duke told us about his character Dan Tucker. “His back story is that he came out of a terrible relationship — like it wasn’t a terrible, it was more like his partner died. Literally I went straight to town, I was like, ‘his partner died and that’s why he just enjoys being on set, because it’s the only thing that can take him out of that.’ And that is his sense of family, because the honest truth around the sacrifices that the stunt community makes, is that they’re away from their family, they’re away from the people that they love, they’re away from their blood and the people around them, their stunt friends and stunt community becomes family, because there’s a lot of sacrifice inside of it, and they’re actively sacrificing, because they get hurt. Every single day there’s a chance that they might be.”

“So I was like, he’s there because this is his new family and he finds meaning just being there every day and being on set for 18 hour days, because he’s a stunt coordinator he has to plan,” Duke continued. “When everyone goes home, he’s still there working. That was my back story, that he’s this man that has all this pain and shows up and smiles and sings karaoke, because he doesn’t want to be home. But that’s not in the script. So it was one of those things where I was like, ‘I’m gonna have to go go to 10 because the audience isn’t gonna see this but I have to feel it. That’s why you need me to have your back. I can’t let you go out here and be in danger alone, because I know what it means to lose someone. So I’m going to come with you and I’m gonna fight these people. I’m gonna quote these stories, do these movie quotes, because I don’t want you to die and I don’t want to lose anyone else and that’s why he’s ready to sacrifice as much as he can, so that’s my back story.’

Whew what a back story! Just to reiterate — Winston’s backstory isn’t in the film at all but we loved that he created a whole history for his character to dive more deeply into the role. We LOVE this film, we screened it three times and can guarantee you’ll want to watch it over and over. There are great fight scenes, lots of funny moments and an EPIC love story starring some of our faves. You don’t want to miss it!

The Fall Guy arrives in theaters Friday May 3.

‘The Fall Guy’ Exclusive: You Won’t Believe The Crazy Back Story Winston Duke Created For His Role!  was originally published on

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