By Alyssa De Rosa –mtltimes.ca
Being a stunt woman is hard work. Hours of training, dedication in order to make what viewers see on screen appear real and effortless. Sharlène Royer is an actress and stunt double from Montreal who now spends most of her time on the west coast standing in for A-list actresses like Halle Berry, Vanessa Williams, Zoe Saldana and many others.
She’s currently starring in the movie Killing Salazar with Steven Seagal and MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre of Montreal and appears in the TV show “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” as the stunt double for Ciara Renée (Hawk Girl). Royer is the stunt double for Paula Patton in the upcoming film The World of Warcraft and for Zoe Saldana in Star Trek Beyond, both being released this summer.
Royer is not only a stunt double, but also an actress. She now counts herself among the few women who are capable of combining solid acting and super hero actions. In 2007, Sharlène was awarded the S.O.B.A (Sounds of Blackness Award) for Best Actress in a TV Series and was nominated for a SAG Award in 2014 for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture for X-Men: Days of Future Past.
I had the opportunity to do a little Q&A with this multi-talented woman.
Q: How did you become a stunt double?
A: It was by accident. I was at the right place at the right time. The crew from the movie The Adventures of Pluto Nash were looking for someone to be a stunt double for Rosario Dawson. They saw me, asked if I wanted to do it, and that was it. They trained me for six months and I soon became Rosario’s stunt double.
Q: How long have you been in the industry?
A: I started acting when I was just 9-years-old and was doing classical ballet and jazz. I did some theatre as well, so it just happened to go in that direction for me. I started stunt acts in 1999.
Q: What is your most memorable experience and the most challenging?
A: The most challenging scene for me was the movie Gothica and lately, the TV show “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”. It’s super busy. You’re always flying around, getting hurt… and because it’s television, it’s so fast and rough on your body.
Q: How do you prep for scenes?
A: If it’s a fight scene, I’ll train for a few days and then show the directors. It can be very hard on the body so you have to prep and train in order to do it properly. It’s fun too. I love my job. It’s not every day you get to ride a horse with a sword in your hand.
Q: What’s your relationship with the actors on set?
A: You’re the security blanket. You’re taking care of the actors and you guide them. You’re their personal trainer in the process. You aren’t only doing the stunts for them so you need to make sure that they’re able to perform a level of action by themselves by showing them how to do it and how to move properly. You have to watch their back. You act like a liaison between the director and the stunt coordinator.
Now for the million dollar question…
Q: Who is the nicest actress you’ve worked with and/or the biggest diva?
A: Thankfully, I never had to work for a diva honestly. But, I do have a favourite who I get along with very well and that’s Halle Berry. I had a great relationship with her and I had the opportunity to work with her on Gothica and X-Men.