Lisa Chandler, stunt performer extraordinaire, has been in multiple episodes of Supernatural, being stunt doubles for many characters including Amara and Sheriff Mills. She has also been in The Flash, The Magicians and iZombie.
How did you decide to become a stunt performer?
I first started out acting, and then I was doing a couple of projects here and there and came across a stand-in gig. From standing in, I saw the stunt department on set, and I was like, “Oh my God, that’s what I have to do, it’s amazing.” I started talking to the stunt co-ordinators on set, asking the questions, asking if I could move pads around, pretty much anything that would just give me any information on learning stunts.
And then I worked on a movie out in Toronto; same thing, I was standing in, seeing the stunt department, really showed an interest to the stunt co-ordinator and on second unit he let me double the lead actress on the second unit, so that was kind of like my first real intro to it. I first did a stunt though back in college for a hockey movie that just kinda came to town and came to my college and was looking for local hockey players so that was kind of I would say my first stunt … but I didn’t really think much of it.
So I finished the film in Toronto and came back to Vancouver to start putting a resume together, doing any kind of training, writing down everything physically that I had in my background. Pretty much, that’s how I started.
What has been your favorite scene as a stunt double for Supernatural?
Mmm, good question. For stunts, it varies according to the scene because it would look really cool to the viewer but making the stunt is very different than what you guys see. So we could have, for example, a big water scene, underwater, which is my favorite. For the viewers though, written it’s really quick, but the development of it is quite a long process especially dealing with water. It’s hard to gauge it according to like a viewer or myself for an episode.
Anything that’s fighting on Supernatural is a blast because I love working with the boys, Jared and Jensen; but as for specific fight scene that you can relate to and for the viewers to watch … that’s a tricky one. Probably say an episode recently that I just shot where Mary Winchester is introduced into the episode, and she’s walking down the stairs and she discovers Jared handcuffed to the chair. There’s a fight scene with the other girl that I’m doubling and we were basically choreographing this whole breakaway scene, smashing into shelves, glass and we were basically guiding them into this massive fight scene. So kind of taking our skills and showing them how to do it into this bad ass scene was pretty cool, I really liked that one. That was one of my top ones I would say.
When I looked at your resume, I was amazed at the amount of stuff you do for Supernatural. (IMDB has Lisa as a stunt performer/double in 20 episodes, all the way from 2012 to now).
Oh really? Oh cool. Yeah, honestly, it’s a fun show to work on. And they’re so welcoming. Because most of the people there have been there since season one … And literally, it’s like one big happy family. I know it’s corny to say, but everyone knows everyone. Some people come and go for a couple of seasons, but a good chunk of people have been there since day one, which is just so cool. And they’re welcoming, they’re not like, “Who are you, what are you doing on our turf,” they’re not like that at all. It’s a great show to work on. I love Lou; he’s the stunt co-ordinator. He’s great. Honestly one of the best guys in the city.
I had a chance to chat with Lou – I have a selfie with him, actually.
I went set hunting back after the Vancouver convention for Supernatural …
Oh, okay, cool.
… and Lou gave a bunch of us a couple of those mats to sit on.
Oh, yeah, that’s him.
What has been your most memorable stunt so far (in any show)?
They’re all pretty memorable because they’re all so different. But at the same time, not, because it’s different director, different scene … my favorite stuff to do is water. I love anything that’s water-related … I just shot a couple of water scenes … I can’t quite say the project … but it was a blast. One that I can talk about was one of my first gigs was one Once Upon a Time. I was shooting it with Maja Aro who is a really close friend of mine. She was assistant stunt co-ordinating at the time, and she hired me out of just not really knowing who I was, I was just fresh into it. There was this whole underwater sequence … she was doubling Snow, and I was doubling this other character that looks like Snow in this hallucinogenic kind of way …
Anyways, we were shooting this whole thing under water and it was so much fun. It was like a fight scene/action scene underwater thing, blood … we had this long gowns, these crazy long white almost like a wedding dress with a train and a little crown kind of thing and it was heavy … I just remember the weight of it, it was so heavy. When you’re under water, you have your own weights underneath the dress to weigh you down for the buoyancy … At one point we’re doing the fight sequence and one of the weights dropped off my weight belt – you couldn’t see, thank God – I’m trying to attach my feet to one of the seaweed pieces that’s attached to the bottom of the tank, try to wrap it around my ankle and pull myself down because I was floating up believe it or not … that was hilarious. It was a very long eventful day … but it was a blast; I’ll never forget that. Probably one of my first gigs after getting hired in stunts. That’s definitely up there …
Plus she’s a super close friend now, kind of cool to look back now, “Hey, you hired me on one of my first gigs!” So that was kind of cool.
I understand that you were the stunt double for Anne Hathaway in Colossal; what was it like working with her?
Anne is great; she’s very focused. She knows what she wants, a lot of the stuff that we were doing was outside of a house and outside of a park area and it was rainy, rainy, rainy, rainy … so she was just being cautious because at the time of filming she was a couple of months pregnant … but if she wasn’t pregnant I could totally see her doing it on her own because she is very determined to get moves down the way she wants it to be done versus her doing half of it and then mostly a stunt double will come in and mimic what they originally did so she’s very determined to do it on her own which is great. But working with her, she is very nice, very nice … very opinionated in that she knows what she wants and she executes it very well, which is what I was very impressed with. Her presence is known on set in a very positive way, which I really liked, it was nice to see that. It was a blast working with her. It was short, but it was great.
Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories you can share? (Preferably Supernatural related, if possible.)
Well, the boys are always goofing around in their makeup trailer doing videos … they’re always goofing around. It’s hilarious; it’s like they’re at camp. They’ll photo bomb you which is great … if you’re taking a shot on set they’ll definitely go and pull your ears … and you’ll be like, “What just happened?” They’re great. They’re like just a bunch of goofballs on this massive show, and they’re just everyday guys which is nice, you don’t get intimidated by them.
Hmm, behind the scenes … they dance a lot whenever there’s music. I caught Jensen – well, I wouldn’t say I caught, but there was a bunch of us that caught Jensen doing a little two-step once when there was music playing. I don’t think he thought anyone was looking but oh yeah, there was a whole video … they’re always goofballs, they’re definitely big, adult goofballs.
Do you have any upcoming roles that you’d like to share?
I just had a little episode that was super fun on Lucifer; it came out the other day, it was called Trip to Stabby Town … I’m shooting a couple of projects, but I can’t quite talk about it for production wise … I’ve got a fun film that I shot this summer called Siege. I played a SWAT officer; my name was Phoenix, it’s supposed to come out early spring 2017. That was a blast to shoot. I shot that with literally all my friends in the community and that was a stunt actor. It was great, I was walking around with an M-4 every day. So it was pretty cool. Siege is a nice fun feature film that’s coming out so I would definitely mention that. Tony Giglio who is the director he’s just in the editing process for that one, sound and color.