EXCLUSIVE: Four Saturdays ago, the Bumblebee stunt team showed up for rehearsals in downtown Los Angeles for work on the latest in the Transformers movie franchise. It was late afternoon, and they were preparing to film the stunt the next Wednesday, November 1. The rehearsal that day involved 11 stunt drivers and three passengers – all men. One of the drivers was even told to wear a wig to double for a woman.
Seven of the driving jobs listed on the call sheet were described as “ND” – for nondescript – meaning that the gender of the driver wasn’t specified because they wouldn’t be doubling for one of the cast members. But on that day, all the ND jobs were being rehearsed by men.
Four days later, when it came time to film the stunt, an eighth ND driver was added to the mix, and again, the job went to a man. Of the 12 stunt drivers that day, only one was female, hired to double for the lead actress in a driving scene.
Hollywood’s stuntwomen have been complaining about this type of discrimination for decades. They say they’re given stunt-driving jobs when doubling for actresses, but when a driving job is nondescript, it almost always goes to a man. And as was the case with the recent rehearsal for Bumblebee, sometimes men even put on wigs to double for women.
The Bumblebee call sheet, obtained by Deadline, notes that one of the male stunt drivers was to report to work “Dressed in black with wig.”
Veteran stuntwoman Julie Johnson, who has long been the most outspoken critic of the male-dominated stunt community, got wind of the wig incident and filed a complaint with Jane Austin, president of SAG-AFTRA’s Los Angeles local and a stuntwoman herself.
Austin sent an email to Cedric Jackson, the union’s director of stunts and safety, and told him: “I would please like a report on this incident.” A union rep was then dispatched to the set.
“I haven’t heard back anything on it,” Johnson told Deadline.
By David Robb