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Double Dare Article

Sports Illustrated

Double Dare Under Review

9 May 2005

Byline: Nancy Ramsey Edited by Mark Betchel; Stephen Cannella

Lucy Lawless was the biggest, baddest woman on television, yet when Xena: the Warrior Princess needed to flip off her horse to take on male attackers, that feat would fall to a stunt double.

Double Dare, a fun, fast-moving documentary that is now opening in theaters nationwide and will be on PBS on May 31, tells the stories of two stunt doubles. Zoe Bell, 26, doubled for Lawless as well as for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Jeannie Epper, who was born into a family of stunt doubles that Steven Spielberg calls "the Flying Wallendas of film," backed up Lynda Carter on Wonder Woman.

Using these women as her main characters, filmmaker Amanda Micheli effectively contrasts Hollywood's world of stunt doubles then and now. Epper, who is 64 and still working, entered the field when men often doubled for women; Bell, who grew up in New Zealand, was presented with a trampoline at age two and hasn't stopped moving since.

The best scenes follow Epper and Bell to movie sets, terrifying high-fall training sessions, the Kill Bill audition with Quentin Tarantino, and a Warrior Princess convention of Xena-philes. These two women may be from different generations, but they are both bold and bawdy enough to finally be the stars of the show.

--Nancy Ramsey