Its 12:33 pm
Welcome to “8 Questions With……”
I found our next guest,Krystle Martin,by sheer accident. I was surfing FB and her page came up as someone FB thought I might like,seeing as Krystle was an actress,I clicked on her page and poked around. Then I clicked on her acting reel and thought it was so darn cute,normally I don’t post acting reels with interviews because they get outdated and sometimes taken down and that leaves a empty hole on the page.
But I’m posting Krystle’s reel because it was so darn charming and it sparked my curiousity because not only does Ktystle act,she is also a professional stuntwoman and while I have chatted with stuntpersons here,I haven’t had a interview with a stuntwoman since I talked with Diana Lee Inosanto in 2016.
So it made perfect sense to ask Krystle if she would be willing to share her story with us here and being quite modest,I really feel I have the coolest people to chat with and after reading Ktystle’s story,you’ll agree with me…..
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your current project.
Hey hey! My name is Krystle Martin, I’m a stunt performer and actor. I’ve most recently been working as Ronda Rousey’s stunt double on Fox’s “911”, played a dramatic role in a Vang Brother’s feature called “The Uncanny”, and performed mocap for Amazon Games’ upcoming “The Crucible”.
What was your childhood like? Were you a tomboy at a early age?
I was always equal parts tomboy and girlie girl, I never wanted to take off my blue Cinderella dress but it ended up torn from climbing trees. Flash forward to now… on a day off from shooting 911 in Mexico, I wore a new sundress to meet the guys at the beach, then ended up tying the hem up around my thighs so I could join their impromptu game of football.
I grew up in a broken home with lots of love but not a lot of money or structure. I was the oldest with a brother and sister to look after and always took being a role model for them (probably a little too) seriously. I wanted to show them anything was possible, that we could stop the cycles we’d been born into. We can steer away from addiction, we can go to school and get good grades, work and earn our own money, go to college, travel, and follow our dreams. I’m still trying to set a good example for them, and myself. I’m always striving to learn every day and be the best person I can be.
Which did you do first as a professional,act or do stunts?
Acting was my first love, then I sort of… fell into stunts– see what I did there? I studied acting at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television and performed in shorts and indie films, but was struggling hard after graduation just to keep my rent paid without the benefit of financial aid.
I happened upon Santa Monica Muscle Beach one day while running with a friend and was so thrilled with the playground for adults and all the fun, kind people there, it became a frequent hangout. Many of the patrons of “the beach” turned out to be stunt people and shortly thereafter, I was invited to attend some private stunt workouts. I’d been training for fun like that for a few years while juggling too many day jobs to count,classes, student film auditions, and trying to get an agent.
Eventually, I heard about an audition for a touring stunt show called Marvel Universe Live. I almost didn’t go to it because after some small successes, I didn’t want to risk losing any momentum I had going in LA. But after several callbacks I was invested. The project sounded like an adventure, an opportunity to learn and travel, and prove to myself that I could do it.
What was your first stunt and how did you prepare for it?
Marvel Universe Live was my first stunt gig, and not just one stunt but a two hour show of them, up to three times a day, performed live to a sound track, with no “cut” like in film– you had to roll with the punches.
My first year, I was cast as the Captain Marvel understudy (before that super hero was a household name) and played the minion baddies –Chitauri and Extremis. I took 18 falls to the ground every show, along with a 16 foot highfall, a lot of running, climbing, and fighting. We were in rehearsals for three months before the show opened, which included daily conditioning training.
Before the rehearsals had begun, or I’d officially been assigned a role, casting had asked if I’d be willing to “tone up a bit”. In six weeks, I dropped 10lbs, 2 pant sizes, 5% body fat, and got in the best shape of my life. I was determined, and it paid off!
Is it more difficult when you are both acting and doing stunts,in your mind what comes first?
I could see that becoming an issue if the stunts were tougher than just some light running and fighting, which is the extent of the stunts so far that I have done while I am also acting. Acting always comes first for me, as the story, background, and emotional state of the character will influence the performance of the choreography – it’s something that applies when I am doing just straight stunts as well. In fact, I consider my acting background a huge asset when working as a stunt performer, particularly when doubling an actor, because I can efficiently understand their process and observe and recreate details to help meld the two performances into the single character.
There was a time when my dream was to act and do my own stunts. Now that I have become more immersed in the stunt world, I no longer want that. I realize that’s a naïve and selfish thing to do as an actor. Actors can certainly bring an athleticism to a character, but insisting on doing their own stunts can take away focus from giving their best acting performance, take away a job from a qualified, trained stunt professional, and risk money, jobs, and potentially the entire production should they get injured. Actors and stunt doubles can make a great team to bring a character to life and create the best production possible.
Which do you like to do more as an actress,action,horror,comedy?
What draws you to a project?
Because of my dual skill sets, action definitely interests me most, followed by well-written drama. Above all, an engaging story arc attracts me to a project, how does the character evolve over the course of the film? Of course, this is Hollywood, and I’ve got bills to pay so I don’t always have the luxury of choosing my ideal roles. I just try to learn what I can from each project, and every day spent on a set is an excellent learning experience.
Do actors/stunt people get paid separately for each job? Is the pay rate higher the more involved the stunt is?
Yes, Actors and stunt performers usually get paid per job on a daily or weekly SAG-AFTRA contract. Or if doubling on a film, you may be “carried,” meaning they will pay you on days you are not actively working for the luxury of having you available solely for that production.
For stunts, you usually get an additional bump in pay on top of the day rate, depending on the difficulty and risk of the stunt and how many times production needs you to repeat it. How much is at the discretion of the stunt coordinator and added to the Schedule G (daily sign in/out sheet) at the end of the day.
What has been your three best moments in the entertainment business so far?
The first to pop into mind was very recent actually, I was doubling Ronda Rousey on 911 last month and there was a fight scene to shoot. Very talented stunt guys, Matt Mullins and Brandon Melende worked out some great potential choreo to demonstrate, the finale of which had me taking Brandon down with a flying armbar. Afterward, Ronda suggested I give her my contact information to keep on hand because “people always ask me if I have someone, and now I can say I do. And I like your fight stuff.”
It was a double whammy compliment! I tried so hard to play it cool but inside I was jumping for joy and sing-yelling, “Ronda Rousey likes my fights!!!!!!! Holy Crap! Did you hear that?! Am I dreaming?! I can now die happy” I think I managed to say something slightly more respectable like, “Well, coming from you that’s quite the compliment. Thank you.”
Of course, originally getting the call to work 911, my first ever SAG Weekly contract— in Mexico!! And then getting told I was going to stunt double for Ronda Rousey— not only exciting because she’s a badass but also because for nine years or so, since she started with the UFC, people had been stopping me in grocery stores to tell me I looked like her! And now I get to double her!!!! —Those were big moments too.
Getting the call from Marvel stands out. It was January 2nd, 2014. Feld Entertainment called to tell me I’d been cast in Marvel Universe Live! After multiple callbacks, weeks of intensive training to tone up, and months of the waiting game, I’d gotten the part! I did it!! I was going to travel! I’d never been east of Oklahoma! I was going to get paid more than I ever had—to perform!!! Again, I tried to “play it cool” on the phone, but I was dancing around my kitchen and upon hanging up, hysterically laugh-cried, grinning wet face pointed to the heavens, overcome with gratitude.
Getting a call to work my first SAG stunt gig on LA’s Finest. I had been a SAG member for almost a year without a job when this call came. It was late the night before the stunt, I had been at the Korean spa with my phone off, and I felt so happy and grateful that I had happened to turn my phone on, got service in the underground facility, and answered the unknown call to receive this excellent news! Another laugh-cry moment. Then for the first time I had my own trailer room and had a great day as a stunt double!
What do you do in order to stay in shape? Do you have set training schedule?
I find my day jobs plus attending stunt workouts keep me in pretty great shape without additional gym time. I usually run 2-4 miles a few times week while listening to a fun app called Zombies Run— great production value and what better motivator to sprint than zombies right behind you?!
I work at Universal Studios as an employee of a stunt company called Action Horizons, in The Special Effects Show—a behind-the-scenes show where I rappel in from the ceiling, fight off two bad guys and throw them in a dumpster, then get set on fire—and the Triceratops Encounter—in which I work in tandem with another person, while piloting the 140lbs head, face, and front feet of a 10’ tall dino puppet.
I attend weekly stunt workouts with (Mo-Cap/Action Studio) Minds Eye Tribe in tactical, creature movement, and swords, and every week I still go play on the rings and slackline at Santa Monica Muscle Beach.
What has been your worst injury to date and how did it happen?
I have been very lucky to have never broken a bone or torn a ligament or tendon *knocks on wood*. Though, I’ve hyperextended my thumbs so many times I’m skittish about holding hands unless my thumb is on the outside. After years of repeatedly injuring them when fighting over/grabbing weapons, a fight choreographer on Marvel, David Doersch, finally demonstrated to all of us by moving both his thumbs perpendicular to his palms, saying “hospital” and then parallel to his palms, “no hospital” and repeating the process multiple times for emphasis— a helpful tidbit I now often include when coaching actors for fight scenes.
I’ve been hit in the face quite a bit, had black eyes on each side and once I got accidentally punched so hard in the mouth that my permanent retainer popped off. Discomfort, soreness, pain, and some injuries are practically in the job description. It’s common courtesy to buy a fellow stunt performer a drink if you accidently make contact for real…. I’ve drank some and I’ve bought some.
The cheetah and I are flying over to watch your latest film but we are a day early and now you are playing tour guide,what are we doing?
I love playing tour guide! Even after 11 years, my heart still skips a beat when I turn a corner and catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign, so I love taking out-of-town friends to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, The Dolby, and the Walk of Fame. You could come see all the shows at Universal and go on the backlot tour, and take a little hike up to Wisdom Tree. And of course, come play with us at Santa Monica Muscle Beach.
I like to thank Krystle for taking the time to talk with us. She is certainly one true bad ass on more then one level and we have nothing but respect and admiration for where she has come and more importantly,where she is going.
Krystle has several SM sites in which you can follow her career both in front of the camera and behind it.
If you have a story and want a chance to share it,feel free to reach out and email me and we’ll talk, As always,thank you so much for supporting Krystle and everyone I have interviewed here. We are very grateful. Feel free to drop a comment below as well.