Shauna Duggins (‘GLOW’) on stunts being ‘a crucial part of every story’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Stunt coordinator Shauna Duggins won her first Emmy last year for “GLOW,” making her the first woman to do so. She is now nominated again for Season 2 of the Netflix comedy, which featured major moments like Debbie (Betty Gilpin) breaking Ruth’s (Alison Brie) ankle, the over-the-top “Good Twin” episode and the epic battle royale in the finale. Through it all, Duggins is training actresses who don’t have much stunt experience into genuine stunt performers. “I know what the girls put into training every year to get to the point to shoot on them. To be recognized for that is an honor,” Duggins says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Duggins above.

For Duggins, a “GLOW” season is all about teaching and reworking stunts for 15 different actresses, ensuring their safety while also pushing them to greatness. “As we get the scripts, we’re constantly adjusting and training and relearning and adding to their toolbox and building so that when it comes time to film, they’re ready and they’re as safe as we could humanly make them and yet we’re pushing the boundaries to see them do the action, and they’re incredible at it,” she raves. Some of the more notable scenes on the show involve Ruth and Debbie in the ring, and Duggins notes how Brie and Gilpin are constantly rising to the occasion. “If you just let Ali and Betty play, my goodness, those two can make any scene even go above a 10. They’re incredible, and they’re incredible together.”

While Duggins admits she is a visual learner, she knows that each cast member has their own way of processing what is being taught to them. Sometimes there are days when an actor can just get stuck, and that’s when Duggins steps in to figure out a way forward. “The ego can get checked out and just step back and even if we put something together and I think they can learn it, if they don’t like it for some reason or it just isn’t quite clicking, instead of pushing harder and harder, you have to know to go, ‘Okay, let’s step back today and let’s work on something else and tomorrow we’ll retry.'”

Duggins has an extensive career in the industry, acting as a stunt double on projects like “Charlie’s Angels,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Drive Angry” and “Fast Five.” She was nominated for her first Emmy in 2006 for coordinating the stunts to “Alias.” A big topic of discussion in the stunt world is recognition by the Oscars, which has yet to add an official stunt award. Duggins is hopeful that the Academy will come to honor the hard work being done by her fellow stunt coordinators.  “I would love to see the Film Academy honor stunts with an award,” she admits, “‘The Revenant’ is an amazing theatrical movie. It was up for so many Academy Awards, but still what people talk about in that movie is the bear sequence.”

She further describes how that recognition for stunt coordination doesn’t take anything away from the director and their vision. “The director tells his vision, he works with the stunt coordinator and then the stunt coordinator helps to bring that vision to life,” Duggins explains. “Without that person, you would be missing the entire levels of how to bring the action to life. I think it’s a crucial part of every story. There’s some piece in there that has to do with some sort of action and it’s just keeping the people safe, it’s creatively figuring out how to give the director his vision of what he wants with it.”

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