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I was Ryan Gosling's stunt double on 'The Fall Guy.' Filming car crashes was dizzying, but I broke a Guinness World Record.

Ayomikun Adekaiyero   

I was Ryan Gosling's stunt double on 'The Fall Guy.' Filming car crashes was dizzying, but I broke a Guinness World Record.
  • Logan Holladay was Ryan Gosling's stunt driver in "The Fall Guy."
  • Holladay was driving the cars during the early car crash scene and the final car jump scene.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Logan Holladay about his experience being a stunt driver on "The Fall Guy." The following has been edited for length and clarity.

When I was hired as Ryan Gosling's stunt driver for "The Fall Guy," the film's stunt coordinator gave me one big objective.

He wanted me to beat the Guinness World Record for the most cannon rolls performed in a car, which is where a device below a vehicle shoots toward the ground and propels it to flip over.

I only needed eight rolls to beat the previous record held by Adam Kirley, Daniel Craig's stunt double for 2006's "Casino Royale," but it's much harder than it sounds.

The stunt took months of planning, refitting cars, and test runs to attempt the rolls correctly and safely.

On filming day on a sandy beach in Sydney, our first attempt was unsuccessful and wrecked the car. This left us with only one car and one more shot at beating the record.

On the second attempt, I was strapped tight into the containment seat of a modified Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was for my safety, but I felt claustrophobic and hot. I was dripping in sweat and feeling dehydrated as I waited 30 minutes for the final adjustments to be finished.

I wanted to get out of the car by the time I got the all clear to start driving onto the beach, but I had already committed so much time to this stunt. I accelerated to 80 miles per hour, the cannon kicked in, and the car was propelled into the roll.

Having 16 G-force pressing down on me as I spun repeatedly was so uncomfortable and I quickly lost count of how many times the car rolled over as I started to feel dizzy.

When the car stopped, I had lost all sense of direction and had to let my arms hang out to realize I was upside down.

I had a feeling that we'd achieved the record this time, but I felt really good once I found out we had broken the record with eight-and-a-half rolls. Although we had other stunts and cannon rolls to perform for other scenes, completing this big stunt felt like a real victory.

We had to do around 100 trial runs before filming the jump scene in the movie's climax.

I had to be a part of "The Fall Guy" as soon as I heard about it. The movie is the first blockbuster of the summer, when audiences flock to cinemas for family and action movies. Ryan Gosling stars as Colt Seavers, a jaded stuntman who tries to save missing actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to win back his former lover (Emily Blunt). The movie is a homage to stunt performers whose work is often overlooked in the industry.

As one of Gosling's stunt doubles, I spent a lot of time with him, and that man has the most fun. He was keen to learn from me and his other stunt doubles to prepare for his role, and I even trained him to do cool drifts and slides with cars.

A big chunk of my time was also spent planning how we would carry out the stunts for the movie. The film's stunt coordinator, Chris O'Hara, who is a friend of mine, called me before production started in Australia to work out how to do the beach cannon roll, and we spent months figuring out the perfect conditions and equipment to complete that stunt safely.

We also spent a lot of time planning another major stunt in the movie's climax. In this scene, Colt and Ryder drive off a ramp, launching their car 80 feet into the air.

For this stunt, we brought in a trophy truck with suspension to handle a big jump and built a 16-foot-high ramp on the ground. For the tests, we started at a 75-foot jump distance and pushed back the end goal until we reached our 200-foot jump target.

When the truck was set up to handle a 200-foot jump, it was difficult to drive because the shock valve was very stiff and bouncy. This process took around 100 trial jumps before we were ready for the real thing.

The real jump was on a 40-foot-high cliff edge, so we had to raise the ramp to the correct position. After scheduling delays due to rain and high winds, which could affect the jump, we finally filmed the stunt on a slightly breezy morning as the sun rose. The wind was starting to pick up, so we knew we might not get another chance at doing the jump.

The film crew's helicopter went to its position, the car was lined up to the ramp and then I was off. Driving up to the ramp, I had to reach the perfect speed. Too fast and my car could nose dive and flip when it landed. Too slow and I wouldn't make the landing pad.

Once I hit the ramp, I couldn't see where I was landing. I was just a passenger to the elements, flying through the air and waiting to see where I landed.

Soon enough, the tires hit the ground, and I felt the same exhilarating feeling I had as a motorcycle racer before I became a stunt performer.

Though doing incredible stunts like these may make one feel invincible, I must always be focused and sharp to avoid mistakes. Getting complacent can be dangerous.

But completing two huge stunt scenes felt like a huge weight off my shoulders. Now, everyone can see the fruits of my hard work.